3/01 & 3/02 in Yankee History
Well, fellow Yankee fans, the weather conditions outside your windows may or may not say otherwise, but spring is here, and the Bombers are on the field somewhere doing something, so it’s time for this nerdfest of a blog to bestir itself to life again. Since spring training tends to yield slow news-days, the posts will cover two days at a time during the month of March. So, put on your NYY caps, silence the dog with a juicy bone, and let’s begin!
On the 1st of March down through the years…
2008: A Spring Training game in Clearwater vs. the Phillies provides both teams with a less than pretty glance into the future of their pitching, as Shelly Duncan’s 1st inning three-run home run off Adam Eaton gives the visiting Yanks the early lead, and Yankee righty Darrell Rasner struggles through a 26-pitch third frame in a 9-3 Bombers win. A-Rod and young catcher Jesus Montero also homer for New York,and Duncan collects 5 RBI. After the game, both Montero and fellow catching prospect Austin Romine will be reassigned to Minor League camp.
1996: The Yankees christen Legends Field‚ their new $30 million 31-acre complex near the
Tampa Airport. The field has the exact same dimensions as those of the stadium in the
Bronx. On hand to see Phil Rizzuto toss out the first ball are former Yanks Whitey Ford, Catfish Hunter, Ron Guidry and Chris Chambliss, who then watch the new Yankees beat the AL Champion Indians 5-2.
1993: George Steinbrenner resumes his role as general partner of the Yankees following his suspension from baseball for conduct unbecoming an owner because of his dealings with Howard Spira, reportedly a former employee of Yankees outfielder Dave Winfield.
Winfield’s contract with New York required Steinbrenner to make a sizable annual contribution to the outfielder’s charitable foundation. Steinbrenner suspected the foundation was being badly run and had paid Spira for information that might have relived the Yankees’ owner of his obligation. Steinbrenner and Winfield eventually settle the dispute.
1988: For the first time since 1956, the Special Veterans Committee does not elect anyone to the Hall of Fame. Former Yankee players Phil Rizzuto, Joe Gordon and Leo Durocher (though the latter is considered chiefly for his later contributions elsewhere as a manager) are among the candidates passed over.
1969: Mickey Mantle announces his retirement.
1947: New managers in training camps include Bucky Harris with the Yankees and Johnny Neun at Cincinnati. Neun had ended 1946 as manager of the Yankees after both Joe McCarthy and Bill Dickey had quit.
1944: Late ’60s & early ’70s Yankee pitcher Ron Klimkowski is born.
…and on the 2nd…
2005: The Yankees open their spring campaign, but Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Bernie Williams and Johnny Damon would be playing just the one game in Tampa before heading to World Baseball Classic games elsewhere, Williams with Puerto Rico, and the other three with the U.S.A. team in Arizona. Jeter goes 1-for-3, A-Rod 0-for-3, and Williams and Damon 2-for-3, with the latter stroking hits his first two times up in Pinstripes. But after taking an early lead over the visiting Phillies, the Yanks fall 6-3 when southpaw Mike Myers struggles in his first ever Yankee outing, surrendering a three-run 7th inning.
2004: The Yankees sign free agent first baseman Travis Lee to a contract.
1949: Joe DiMaggio leaves the Yankee camp to have an ailing right heel examined at Johns Hopkins hospital. He is told that no surgery is needed and he returns to Florida‚ but the heel will continue to bother him. The star is hitting just 7-for-31 in the Grapefruit League.
1943; Early Yankee second baseman Earle Gardner dies at the age of 59.
1917: Jim Konstanty is born. Though remembered primarily for his years with the Phillies. the reliever contributed significantly to the Yankees’ 1955 pennant drive before being waived in early 1956 and picked up by the Cardinals, with whom he finished his career.