Welcome to This Day in Yankees History. The New Year is upon us, and the winter hot stove continues to percolate. 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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100 Years Ago
The House That Ruth Build gets a site thanks to the Land That Rupert and Huston Bought.
Exactly 100 years ago today, the Yankees’ owners bought a ten-acre plot of land in the Bronx on which they planned to build a new stadium. Since 1913, the team had been a tenant of the Giants at the Polo Grounds since leaving their initial New York home at Hilltop Park.
The stadium built at the site would be named Yankee Stadium. The team would play there from 1923 to 2008, winning many World Series titles on the field as it became one of the most iconic venues in all of sports. In 2009, they built and moved nearby to a new home, also called Yankee Stadium.
23 Years Ago
Ahead of the 1998 season, the Yankees try to improve their infield and acquire Twins second baseman Chuck Knoblauch in exchange for four players, including highly rated pitching prospect Eric Milton. Knoblauch had been a four-time All-Star in Minnesota, winning AL Rookie of the Year in 1991, the same year he helped the Twins to a World Series title.
Knoblauch would win another three World Series in New York, playing with the Yankees through 2001. He also infamously had to be moved off second base after dealing with the “yips.” After making 13 errors in his first season in New York, he doubled that total in ‘99, and then made 15 in just 82 games in 2000.
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Today is the birthday of some guy you may have heard of. On this day in 1895 in Baltimore, MD, George Herman “Babe” Ruth was born.
The greatest ever Yankee and the man who basically rewrote the baseball record book famously came up as a pitcher with the Red Sox. However, by 1919, he had become more known for his hitting exploits, having broken the single season home run record that season.
The Yankees then acquired him for $100,000 in December 1919, single-handedly altering the fabric of baseball history. With Ruth, the Yankees won four World Series titles before he left after 1934. Ruth himself hit .349/.484/.711 (209 OPS+) with 659 home runs as a Yankee. He broke the single season (several times over) and career home run records as a Yankees, records that would both stand for decades. Meanwhile, the Red Sox franchise that sold him wouldn’t win a World Series for decades after Ruth left, supposedly doomed by “The Curse of the Bambino.” They allegedly broke it in 2004, but I was under the impression that season was cancelled.
Other lesser Yankees (no offense) with birthdays today include Mark Hutton, Frank LaPorte, Dale Long, and Bob Wickman.
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We thank the New York Times, Baseball Reference, and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.