Welcome to the relaunched 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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This Day in Yankees History (February 7th):
127 Years Ago
Happy fake birthday, Babe Ruth.
While PSA highlighted Babe Ruth’s actual birthday yesterday, the Babe lived much of his life believing he was born on *this* day in 1894. It wasn’t until 1934 that Ruth learned of his real birthday, when he needed to look up his birth certificate to apply for a U.S. passport before sailing to Japan on a baseball barnstorming tour. Alas, old habits die hard. Babe continued to celebrate his birthday on February 7th for the remainder of his life. He didn’t make himself one year younger, either, according to most sources.
72 Years Ago
Joe DiMaggio becomes the first player in the American League to earn $100,000 in a season when he signs his new contract with the Yankees before the 1949 season. It was definitely a big deal at the time, as the general public was surprised that someone could make so much money playing baseball, but it’s hard to argue that DiMaggio didn’t deserve it. Despite missing a good chunk of the season with a vicious bone spur, he hit .346/.459/.596 with a 178 OPS+ in 76 games as the Yankees captured another World Series title. He’d earn championships in each of his next two seasons as well before retiring after the end of the 1951 Fall Classic.
Seven Years Ago
Following the Biogenesis investigation results and subsequent arbitration hearings, Alex Rodriguez finally drops his lawsuit against MLB and the Players Association. In doing so, A-Rod accepted a suspension for the entire 2014 season. It was nearly a death knell for his career, but he actually ended up coming back in 2015 with a respectable season as the Yankees’ primary DH, batting .250/.356/.486 with 33 homers and a 129 OPS+ in 151 games until finally hitting a wall and calling it quits in 2016.
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Happy 18th birthday to Jasson Dominguez! Dominguez is currently ranked as the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect and is the youngest player on MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects list, where he ranks at No. 32. Yankee fans have seen bits and pieces of Dominguez’s talent this offseason, namely his extraordinary exit velocity and a cannon of an arm.
The Yankees signed Dominguez as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in July 2019. He has yet to play a professional game, however, since the Minor League season was canceled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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We thank Baseball Reference, SABR and Nationalpastime.com for providing background information for these posts.