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This Day in Yankees History: George Steinbrenner lies to Yogi Berra

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George Steinbrenner tells Yogi Berra his job is safe two months before firing him; Yankees sign Chan Ho Park; Richard Bleier traded to Baltimore

Yogi Berra - New York Yankees

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History. 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 21st)

36 Years Ago

Prior to the 1985 season, George Steinbrenner assured manager Yogi Berra that he would not be fired during the season, no matter how badly the team might perform. With the team posting a 6-10 record a few weeks into the season, however, the owner went back on his word, sending general manager Clyde King to fire Yogi and bring back Billy Martin for his fourth tenure as Yankees manager.

Because of this, Yogi Berra would not attend a Yankees-related event until Steinbrenner personally apologized to him in 1999.

11 Years Ago

With the Yankees looking for pitching depth late in the winter, the Yankees signed Chan Ho Park to a one-year, $1.2 million contract. Park, who had pitched well out of the bullpen for the Phillies during the previous World Series — he gave up no runs and only 2 hits in 3.1 innings against the Yankees — struggled in pinstripes, posting a 5.60 ERA (5.12 FIP) in 27 appearances before being designated for assignment on July 31. His tenure as a Yankee is probably most famous for attributing his struggles during one appearance to diarrhea.

4 Years Ago

Five days after being designated for assignment to make room for Chris Carter on the 40-man roster, the Yankees trade Richard Bleier to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later or cash considerations. Bleier, who had signed with the Yankees as a minor league free agent prior to the 2016 season, had pitched very well in 23 appearances as a Yankee, with a 1.96 ERA (2.67 FIP). Since the trade, he has continued to be a reliable middle reliever in Baltimore and Miami, posting a career 2.97 ERA (3.69 FIP) and a 1.204 WHIP in 185 appearances.

Prior to the 2018 season, in fact, Bleier was, by “the relatively arbitrary measurement of pitchers with 101 big league innings or more,” the greatest pitcher of all time, as his 242 ERA+ was the highest in Major League history. Since then, he has come down to Earth, and his current ERA+ is “just” 151.

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We thank Baseball Reference, SABR, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.