Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. With pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training any day now, 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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12 Years Ago
It’s one of the most iconic Sports Illustrated covers of my lifetime, the bombshell story confirming that Alex Rodriguez used performance enhancing drugs while with the Texas Rangers in 2003, the year before being traded to the Yankees. While the cover story wouldn’t come out for another week, the cat was out of the bag before SI went to print, with A-Rod apologizing two days before.
For MLB commissioner Bud Selig, though, an apology and cover story wasn’t sufficient. He took time on this day in 2009 to publicly criticize Rodriguez and other players for their use of PEDs, claiming they brought shame to baseball. That Selig was in charge of MLB for the steroid era seems to escape his self-reflection.
Over the rest of A-Rod’s career, the criticism would vacillate depending on his performance. The cloud of PED use would follow him for the rest of his career, but a landmark performance in the 2009 World Series run would buy him much more goodwill in the eyes of many Yankee fans.
Seven Years Ago
Ahead of spring training, legendary shortstop Derek Jeter announces that the 2014 season will be the last of his career. After a tenure largely defined by staying injury-free, the captain’s body began to turn against him, missing time in two of the last three years and playing just 17 games in 2013.
We all knew at that point that Jeter would be a first-ballot Hall of Famer, but his final year did leave a lot to be desired. Although he managed to stay on the field for 145 games, he posted a mere 75 wRC+ while the team missed the postseason for the second straight year. Jeter’s career may have ended with a whimper were it not for a timely plate appearance on a cold September night in the Bronx:
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Happy 35th birthday to Todd Frazier! The former Reds All-Star was acquired by the Yankees from the White Sox at the 2017 trade deadline and made a big impact on the team in a short span of time. A popular presence in the clubhouse who helped inspire the “thumbs-down” celebration, Frazier also hit 11 homers in 66 games down the stretch as the Yankees clinched a Wild Card spot. The postseason didn’t go as well for him, though he did hit one of the more ridiculous homers you’ll ever see during the 2017 ALCS:
Frazier moved on to the Mets in free agency after the end of the season, detoured to the Rangers at the beginning of 2020, and then returned to Queens for the final month. He is still on the free agent board, though after a subpar season, his career might be coming to a close.
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We thank Baseball Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.