Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. With the offseason well underway, the Pinstripe Alley team is continuing this revived program. These daily posts will highlight two or three key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Hope you enjoy this trip down memory lane with us!
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This Day in Yankees History (February 1)
51 Years Ago
Former Yankees center fielder Earle Combs earned his place in the Hall of Fame, getting selected by the Veterans Committee. A key member of the legendary 1927 Yankees, he was also a part of three World Series championships during his 11-year career, which was ended early due to a nasty collision with the outfield wall in St. Louis. Combs wasn’t a popular candidate on the ballot, failing to get anywhere near the threshold across fourteen attempts and peaking at 16 percent of the votes — the ballot was quite different in those days. The Veteran’s Committee placed a big value on Combs’ .325 career batting average, however, and enshrined him in the 1970 class.
22 Years Ago
The Yankees traded Mike Lowell — a talented third base prospect who briefly broke into the majors during the 1998 season — to the Florida Marlins for a package consisting of pitchers Ed Yarnall, Todd Noel, and Mark Johnson. The Yankees were comfortable dealing out Lowell thanks to the standout performance Scott Brosius in ‘98.
Brosius was a solid player for the Yankees, sticking around until after the 2001 season, but this was a move that backfired for several reasons. First, Lowell turned out a successful career, making multiple All-Star appearances and receiving down-ballot MVP votes in two seasons. Then, the Marlins team that Lowell was traded to ended up beating the Yankees in the 2003 World Series. Then, the Marlins flipped him — alongside Josh Beckett — to the Red Sox, where he would be a mainstay until 2010 and help deliver a World Series title to the Yankees’ archrivals in 2007.
Oh, and the players that the Yankees got back for him? Only two players made the majors, and only one — Yarnall — ever played with the Yankees. Yarnall appeared in seven games in his career, all in relief, and has a career 5.40 ERA. Swing and a miss on this one; Brian Cashman has called it his greatest regret.
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There’s a host of former Yankees with birthdays today, so a collective happy birthday to Colin Curtis, Erick Almonte, Darrin Chapin, Cecilio Guante, Paul Blair, Ron Woods and Dave Madison!
Of that group, Curtis made the most recent impression. Although his MLB career lasted just 31 games in 2010, he launched his only career homer in memorable fashion. The Yankees were clinging to a 7-5 lead over the Angels on July 21st, and Brett Gardner was up with two runners on. In the middle of the at-bat, home-plate umpire Paul Emmel ejected a furious Gardner, so Curtis had to pinch-hit. What seemed like a classic #UmpShow turned out well for the Yankees, as Curtis went deep:
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We thank Baseball Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.