Welcome to the relaunched 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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This Day in Yankees History (February 15)
14 years ago
The Yankees announce that they will wear black armbands on the left sleeve of their uniforms in memory of teammate Cory Lidle. The 34-year-old pitcher died when the small plane he was on crashed into a 52-story apartment building in Manhattan on a rainy afternoon the previous October. Two days after the crash, the Federal Aviation Administration banned all fixed-winged aircrafts from the East River Corridor unless in contact with local air traffic control.
Two years ago
The Yankees sign their young ace Luis Severino to a four-year contract extension for $40 million, with an option for a fifth year at $12.25 million. Since signing the dotted line, Severino has thrown just 12 regular season innings due to multiple injuries such as rotator cuff inflammation on his right shoulder and a Grade 2 lat strain in 2019, and Tommy John surgery in 2020 that kept him out the entire year. The Yankees hope Sevy can to return to action this season around the late summer months.
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Happy birthday to Mélido Pérez and Russell Martin!
Pérez pitched for the Yankees during the final four years of his career from 1992-1995. His best season in New York was in 1992, when he struck out 218 batters, which was good for the second-most in the American League, only behind Randy Johnson. Pérez also maintained a 2.87 ERA that season and even tossed 10 complete games. Unfortunately, his career ended at the end of the 1995 season after a tear in his throwing elbow.
Martin caught for two years in the Bronx from 2011-2012, and was an All-Star in 2011. The Dodgers had surprisingly non-tendered him, and the Yankees pounced on the opportunity to find someone capable to take over for Jorge Posada, who had that job for around 15 years. In his Yankees career, Martin hit .224/.317/.405 with a .723 OPS, 39 home runs, and superb pitch framing that helped him generate 9.1 fWAR. Martin’s highlight in pinstripes likely came in the 2012 ALDS, when he belted a go-ahead homer in the ninth inning of Game 1 against the Orioles.
It was the beginning of a rough series for O’s closer Jim Johnson. The Yankees went on to win both the game and the series, though they fell to the Tigers in the ALCS. Martin was allowed to sign with the Pirates in free agency while the Yankees doomed themselves to a shoddy season behind the plate in 2013 before moving on to Brian McCann (and later, Gary Sánchez). Meanwhile, Martin reached the playoffs for the next three years in a row, first with the Bucs and then with the AL East rival Blue Jays after signing a five-year deal to play in his native country. He played one more season back in Los Angeles in 2019 and now seems to be mostly retired after a superb 14-year career.
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We thank the Baseball Reference and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.