3/07 & 3/08 in Yankee History
On the 7th of March over the years…
1998: The Yankees sign Orlando ‘El Duque’ Hernandez to a 4-year‚ $6.6 million contract.
1981: Pee-Wee Wanninger, starting shortstop for the 1925 Yankees, dies at the age of 78. Lou Gehrig began his streak of 2,130 consecutive games with a pinch-hitting appearance for Wanninger on June 1, 1925.
1942: The Yankees open the exhibition season by beating the Cardinals 3-2‚ with Tommy Henrich driving in all the New York runs.
…and on the 8th…
1999: Joe DiMaggio dies at the age of 84 following a long illness.
1966: Casey Stengel is elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans’ Committee, who waive the normal 5-year waiting period, Stengel having retired only the previous year from managing the New York Mets.
1947: In an exhibition game at Havana’s new Stadium del Cerro‚ the Dodgers‚ behind three pitchers‚ beat the Yankees in 10 innings 1-0. Carl Furillo scores on Pete Reiser’s double‚ and a single by George ‘Snuffy’ Stirnweiss in the 10th is the only Yankee hit. On hand to watch is Connie Zimmerman‚ an associate of mobster Lucky Luciano‚ and racing handicapper Memphis Engelberg. As SABR historian Burt Solomon writes‚ Durocher points out the men to sports writers Dick Young and Milt Gross‚ saying‚ “Look at that. If I had those guys in my box‚ I’d be kicked out of baseball. Are there two sets of rules? One applying to managers and one applying to club owners?” When asked if the two men are his guests‚ Yankee GM Larry MacPhail snaps‚ “What are you, the goddamned FBI?” MacPhail calls
Durocher a liar‚ and in a bizarre turn‚ later files charges against the manager with the commissioner’s office.
1939: ’60s Yankee ace Jim Bouton is born. Happy birthday to Mr. ‘Ball Four’!
1930: Babe Ruth signs a 2-year contract for $160‚000 with New York. At $80‚000 per year‚ he is the highest paid player in Major League history to date. When it is pointed out he is earning more money than the President of the United States‚ Ruth observes: “I had a better year than he did.” Ed Barrow‚ Yankee GM‚ assures posterity‚ “No one will ever be paid more than Ruth.”
Also on this day, Bob grim is born. Grim was AL Rookie of the Year in 1954, when he became only the second freshman Yankee pitcher to win 20 games.
1918: The Yankees buy first baseman George Burns‚ 37‚ from Detroit‚ then swap him to the A’s for another veteran, Ping Bodie. Burns will replace Stuffy McInnis, the last of the Connie Mack’s ‘$100‚000 infield‚’ who went to the Red Sox in January.