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3/23 & 3/24 in Yankee History

On the 23rd of March over the  years…

2012: Joba Chamberlain dislocates his ankle  while playing on a trampoline with his son. Already recovering from Tommy John surgery, he  undergoes  an emergency operation for an open dislocation. Doctors report that he lost so much blood that there was concern for his life and that he will need to stay hopitalised for several days. The injury precludes any return this year, and there is speculation as to whether or not it will be career-ending


2009: In what became a regular rite of spring during the Japanese lefty’s troubled tenure with the team, the Yankees reassign Kei Igawa to Minor League camp.


1990:  Gambler Howard Spira is arrested for extorting money from George Steinbrenner, who paid Spira $40,000 in January to dig up dirt on Dave Winfield. (Spira is shown holding of the cheque that he received from the Boss).  MLB Commissioner Fay Vincent  will suspend Steinbrenner because of his relationship with the unsavory character.


1988: Dellin Betances is born. Happy 26th, DB ~ hope to see more of you in the Bronx this year!


1974: The Yankees purchase outfielder Elliot Maddox from the Rangers for $60‚000. Maddox will prove to be a great defensive outfielder as well as hitting .303 over the ’74 campaign.


1972: The Yankee ownership agree in principle to continue playing in the Bronx. Later this year, they will put it in writing by signing a 30-year lease contingent on renovations to be completed in time for the 1976 season. Old-school Yankee fans point to this renovation as the true end of the original ballpark, though younger fans refer to the final home game of the 2008 season.

Yankee_stadium_1975 Renovation.jpg

1952: Late ’30s Yankee pitcher Steve Sundra dies of cancer at the age of 41.


1944: George Scott, who played most of his career with the Red Sox and Brewers but finished his career with the ’79 Yankees as a free agent, is born. Happy 70th to the Boomer!


1941: Joe DiMaggio, a hold out and late arrival in spring training‚ plays his first Grapefruit League game of the year.



..and on the 24th…

2010: Former Cy Young Award winner and member of the 1996 Yankees Championship team Dwight Gooden is back in trouble with the law. He faces charges of driving under the influence of drugs, child endangerment, and leaving the scene of an accident, after a 9 AM crash in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. Gooden’s problems with substance abuse in the ’80s and ’90s were well-publicized, but he had apparently turned his life around in recent years, serving as a senior vice-president of the Atlantic league’s Newark Bears until last November.

Dwight Gooden

1996: The battle for the starting Yankee shortstop job in ’96 comes to an end when veteran Tony Fernandez fractures a bone in his right elbow in a game with the Astros. The injury gives Derek Jeter the unexpected opportunity to start on a notoriously rookie-phobic Yankee team,


1983: Chad Gaudin is born. Happy 31st to a two-time Yankee who is now a free agent.


1937; Late ’60s Yankee backup catcher Bob Tillman is born. Tillman will be the player whom the Yanks give up in order to bring third baseman (and future iconic Braves manager) Bobby Cox from Atlanta to the Bronx.


1933: Babe Ruth signs his final Yankee contract. In an austerity move occasioned by the Depression times, he will take a considerable pay cut, agreeing to 2 years at $52,000 a year.


3/21 & 3/22 in Yankee History

On the 21st of March down through the decades…

2009: The Yankees option six righthanders the Yankees to AAA, AA or Minor League camp. Anthony Claggett, Phil Hughes and Sergio Mitre will pitch the big-league team this year, while Steven jackson, Humberto Sanchez and Jason Johnson will not.



2001: The Yankees reobtain third base prospect Drew Henson‚ along with outfielder Michael Coleman, from the Reds for hot outfield prospect Wily Mo Pena and cash. Henson agrees to a 6-year $17 million dollar contract that calls for him to leave the University of Michigan football program and to bypass the NFL. The 21-year-old Henson‚ a QB‚ had been projected as a #1 draft choice. Henson will break his hand in April and be out of action till June 14.



1986: The Yankees announce that their most heralded off-season acquisition‚ 26-year-old pitcher Britt Burns‚ will not pitch at all this season because of a chronic deteriorating hip condition.


936: Joe DiMaggio runs his spring training record to 12-for-20‚ in an 11-2 Yankee victory over the Boston Braves. Before the next game is played‚ the prize rookie is left unattended with his foot in a diathermy machine. The resulting burn is severe enough to end his spring training and delay his ML regular season debut until May.



1897: ‘Broadway’ Bill Lamar, backup outfielder for the Yankees in 1917-18, is born.


1892: Bill Stumpf, all-purpose bench player for the 1912 Highlanders and 1913 Yankees, is born.


…and on the 22nd…

1992:  George Steinbrenner’s son in law Joseph A. Molloy is elected a general partner in the yankee organization. Molloy will remain a prominent figure in the Bomber boardroom until his divorce from Jessica Steinbrenner in 1997.



At Sotheby’s in New York,  a 1952 Topps card of Mickey Mantle is auctioned off for $49‚500‚ tripling the pre-auction estimate‚ while a baseball‚ signed by 12 players (including Babe Ruth)  at the 1939 Hall of Fame induction ceremony‚ sells for $20‚900.



1972: One of the greatest trades in Yankee history goes through, as New York send 1B/OF Danny Cater to the Red Sox for relief pitcher Sparky Lyle. In 7 seasons with the Yanks‚ Lyle will post a 57-40 record with 141 saves and a 2.41 ERA‚ win a Cy Young award‚ and help the team to 3 pennants and two Championships. The deal is completed when the Yanks toss in backup shortstop Mario Guerrero.



Also on this day, Cory Lidle is born. R.I.P.



1965: Glenallen Hill, part-time DH for the 2000 Championship team, is born. Happy 49th, GH!

Glenallen Hill

1960: Early ’30s Yankee pitcher Gordon Rhodes dies at the age of 52.



1931: American League founder and first president Ban Johnson dies at the age of 67. Although his relationship with the Yankee ownership was sometimes strained over the years, Johnson spearheaded the effort to bring an American League team to New York to compete with the Giants, resulting in the Baltimore Orioles’ move to Gotham in 1903 to become the NY Highlanders.


3/19 & 3/20 in Yankee History


On the 19th of March over the years…

2006: After Randy Johnson throws 6 shutout innings in a grapefruit league game against the Astros, reliever Al Leiter pitches to one batter before leaving. He will announce his retirement at a press conference after the game.



2003: The Yankees trade outfielder Rondell White (below) to the Padres for outfielder Bubba Trammell and pitcher Mark Phillips.

rondell white.jpg


1989: With Dave Winfield sidelined‚ the  Yankees trade catcher Joel Skinner and a minor leaguer to the Indians for outfielder Mel Hall. Winfield will miss all of the 1989 season after undergoing back surgery next week for central disc herniation.



1974: In a 3-team deal involving the Indians, Tigers and Yankees. Pitcher Jim Perry joins his brother Gaylord in Cleveland. Pitcher Ed Farmer and outfielder Walt ‘No Neck’ Williams end up on the Yankees, while former Thurman Munson backup Gerry Moses goes to the Motor City.



1871: ‘Iron Man’ Joe McGinnity is born. McGinnity pitched for the Baltimore Orioles in 1901-02. When the Orioles moved to New York in 1903 to become the Highlanders, he would jump to the Giants, with whom he achieved his Hall of Fame credentials.



…and on the 20th…

1984: Hall of Fame pitcher Stan Coveleski dies in South Bend, Indiana at the age of 94. Coveleski pitched for the Philadelphia A’s, the Indians, and the Senators before finishing his career with the 1928 Yankees Championship team.  Over a 14-year career,  he won 215 games, which included five 20-win seasons.



1961: The Yankees announce that the team will oppose any plan that would enable the new National League expansion franchise in the city to share Yankee Stadium. This decision leaves the old Polo Grounds  as the only viable option for the NL’s new team, the Mets.



1958: The Yankees sell first baseman Joe Collins to the Phillies. Collins decides to retire rather than report‚ thereby cancelling the deal.



3/17 & 3/18 in Yankee History

On the 17th of March over the years…

1988: Newly acquired Yankee Jack Clark tears a tendon in his calf while delivering a home run swing in a spring training game against the Orioles, and will miss the start of the regular season.



1978: The Yankees take to the field for a St. Patrick’s Day exhibition game against the Reds,who don green uniforms rather than their traditional red‚ starting an annual ritual that will last until the end of the ’80s. The good luck works and the Reds win‚ 9-2. The Cardinals will be the next to follow suit.



1949: At St. Petersburg, the Tigers and Yankees slog through 17 innings before agreeing to call the game a 2-2 tie. The two sides issue 28 walks and leave 42 runners on base.



1936: Much-heralded prospect Joe DiMaggio makes his spring debut with the Yankees, collecting 4 hits including a triple. The day is marred only by the Cardinals’ 8-7 win.


1921: The Yankees, training in Shreveport‚ Lousiana, journey to Lake Charles to play a game against the Cardinals‚ who are based in Orange‚ Texas. The game is proclaimed ‘Ruth-Hornsby Day‚’ but the Rajah hits only a single while the Babe launches a home run the short right field fence. The Yanks win 14-5.



…and on the 18th…

1985: Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstates Hall of Famers Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays, who had been banned from association with organized baseball by Bowie Kuhn because of their employment by Atlantic City casinos.

mantle mays managers dream.jpg


1962: Mid ’80s Yankee reliever Brian Fisher is born. Happy 52nd, Brian!


3/15 & 3/16 in Yankee History


On the 15th of March over the years…

2012: Oft-injured pitcher Chien-Ming Wang,  slated to be the Nationals’  fifth starter, has to leave a Grapefruit League game after landing awkwardly when he fields a slow grounder off the bat of the  Yankees’ Russell Martin  in the 3rd inning. Wang crumples to the ground after touching first base  and has to be assisted in leaving the field.



1960: ’80s Yankee fan favorite Mike Pagliarulo is born. Happy 54th, Pags!



1946: Bobby Bonds in born. Although his one year in with the Yankees is perhaps remembered more for the players involved in the trades that brought him to New York and sent him away (to the Yanks from the Giants for Bobby Murcer, and to California for Mickey Rivers and Ed Figueroa), he put up 30/30 (32 home runs, 30 steals) in 1975 for the Bombers.



1926: At St. Petersburg‚ the Braves beat the Yankees 6-2 for their third win in a row over the Miller Huggins crew.  After Tony Lazzeri protests a called third strike in the 6th‚ he is tossed‚ along with his manager and the entire Bomber bench.



1919: The third long-time Yankee named Ray in less than a month is sold off as Ray Fisher is shipped to the Reds. Rays Keating and Caldwell were flogged off in February.


…and on the 16th

2012: Andy Pettitte ends his retirement after one year when he signs a minor league contract with the Yankees.  The 39-year-old is expected to join the big club’s starting rotation as soon as he has worked himself back into game shape.



1981: Curtis Granderson is born. Happy 33rd to our former man in the outfield ~ good luck this year with the Mets… except in the Subway Series, of course ;-)



1932: Babe Ruth signs a one-year contract for $75,000.


3/13 & 3/14 in Yankee History


On the 13th of March over the years…

2008: In a spring training game against the Pirates, Billy Crystal leads off as the designated hitter. He manages to make contact, fouling a fastball up the first base line, but is eventually struck out by Paul Maholm on  6 pitches and is then replaced in the batting order by Johnny Damon.



2007: Brett Gardner is reassigned to minor league camp.



2000: Vic Power, one of the first two black players signed by the Yankees (on the same day as Elston Howard) throws out the first pitch before the Bombers and the Devil Rays play an ST game at Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg. Andy Pettitte goes five scoreless innings as the Yanks built up a 4-0 lead, but the Rays storm from behind, mostly against Jason Grimsley, to win 8-5.



1963: Mariano Duncan is born. Happy 51st to Mr. ‘We play today, we win today, thassit’!



1954: Newly acquired Bobby Thomson of the Milwaukee Braves breaks his ankle sliding into second under Woodie Held in a 3-2 exhibition loss to the Yankees at Al Lang Field. The injury‚ a trimalleor fracture‚ will keep Thomson out of action until July 14th‚ but it will open the way for rookie Hank Aaron to start in the left field. Ironically‚ Aaron will suffer a similar fracture in September.



1937: Lou Gehrig agrees to a one-year for $38‚000‚ plus a $750 signing bonus. He will play his first game on March 20th, driving in 2 runs as the Yanks beat the Boston Braves 5-3.



1922: Cliff Mapes, ’40s outfielder who was the last Yankee to wear Babe Ruth’s old no. 3 before it was retired, is born.



1886: Hall of Famer Frank ‘Home Run’ Baker, starting Yankee third baseman from 1916 through 1919, is born.


…and on the 14th…

2008: Billy Crystal is released from his Yankee contract on his 60th birthday.

Crystal yanks.JPG


2007: A turbulent year in Yankee pitching gets off to its start as Phil Hughes, Matt DeSalvo, Chase Wright and Ross Ohlendorf are assigned to minor league camp. All but the latter will be starting in the Bronx by May, and even the Princeton grad will be in the pen when the Yanks start the ’07 postseason.



1961: George Weiss, whose Yankee teams won 10 pennants and 7 Championships during his tenure as GM from 1947 to 1960, comes out of retirement to become president of the future New York Mets. Weiss will later be reunited with his former manager Casey Stengel, who will make a comeback as the Mets’ first skipper.



1956: Butch Wynegar, starting catcher for the Yankees from 1982 through 1986, is born. Happy 58th, Butch!



1922: Danny Hoffman, starting center fielder for the New York Highlanders in 1906-07, is killed in an automobile accident at the age of 42.


3/11 & 3/12 in Yankee History


On the 11th of March over the years…

2002: Thrown out stealing… The Yankees release outfielder Ruben Rivera (below) for stealing Derek Jeter’s glove and selling it on the black market for $2‚500. There are rumors that Rivera also took other memorabilia‚ such as personal items belonging to Roger Clemens, the Rocket denies it. Rivera had been signed to a one year contract for $1 million.



2001: The Yankees formally announce the signing of Cuban defector Andy Morales (below, on the left, with his agent Gus Dominguez)‚ a third baseman‚ to a 4-year contract. Morales will wash out and be waived from his minor league team by July. The Yanks will try and sidestep his contract with proof that his listed age of 26 years is really 29.



1981: Johnny Mize is elected to the Hall of Fame. Though best remembered for his years in the National League, the ‘Big Cat’ spent the final years of his career with the Yankees as a part-time first baseman, super sub, and pinch hitter from 1949 to 1954. Mize was the World Series MVP in 1952, hitting .400 with three home runs in the seven-game series. He played for the Bombers five years, and earned five Championship rings.



1960:  Mickey Mantle signs a one-year contract worth $65,000. The new deal represents a $7,000 cut in pay for Mantle, who batted .285 with 31 home runs and 75 RBI for the Yankeees in 1959.

1956: At Al Lang Field in St. Petersburg‚ there is no doubt about it as Mickey Mantle hits a Grapefruit League pitch from Cardinal hurler Larry Jackson over the left field wall into the bay. The Yanks top the redbirds 4-3. Stan Musial will say after the game: “No home run has ever cleared my head by as much since as long as I can remember.” The Mick will hit another in the same park on March 20th, off Bob Mave, that also lands in the water. Mantle will launch  a 500-foot shot in Miami on the 24th against the Dodgers.



1945: Dock Ellis is born.  The Yankees acquired him from the Pirates on December 11, 1975, along with pitcher Ken Brett and second baseman Willie Randolph in exchange for pitcher George ‘Doc’ Medich.



…and on the 12th…

1992: Yankees VP and chief administrative officer Joseph Molloy‚ son-in-law of principal owner George Steinbrenner‚ is elected as new managing general partner of the club.



1962: Daryl Strawberry is born. Happy 52nd, D!


1955: Ruppert Jones, starting center fielder for the Yankees 1980 AL East championship team,  is born. Happy 59th, Mr. Jones!



1903: The New York Highlanders are officially approved as a member club of the AL.


3/09 & 3/10 in Yankee History


On the 9th of March over the years…

2009: A 12-7 Yankee defeat at the hands of the Pirates is one of those Spring Training games filled with hints of things to come that will not, in fact, come to pass. CC Sabathia and Boone Logan are reached for four runs each in the first and ninth innings, respectively, Nick Johnson homers his first two times at the plate, and Jon Weber has another big offensive day, with two doubles, two runs driven in and
one scored. Both Johnson and Weber do the  damage batting second as the two DHs the Bombers use today.



2006: The shape of things to come… In a spring training game against the Tigers at Legends Field, Detroit starter Kenny Rogers holds the Yankees to 1 run in 3 innings, prefiguring his effective start that will kill the Bombers’ chances in  the ALDS in October. The Tigers, meanwhile, jump on Randy Johnson for 5 runs.



1973: Aaron Boone is born. Happy 41st to Mr. Walkoff!


1966: Aaron Robinson, who was platooned with Yogi Berra at catcher before the latter took over as the primary Yankee backstop, dies at the age of 50.


1936: Babe Ruth turns down an offer from the Cincinnati Reds to stage a comeback, an offer that once again hinted at a managerial opportunity, something long sought after by the Bambino.



1908: ’30s Yankee outfielder Myril Hoag is born. Hoag is best remembered as the first Yankee to go 6 for 6 in a 9 inning game (and one of only two, along with Johnny Damon), against the Red Sox in 1934.



…and on the 10th…

2003: The Yankees fine pitcher David Wells $100‚000 for comments in his autobiography that the team feel are detrimental to the club’s image.



2001: In an ST game at Legends Field against the Red Sox, former Yankee center fielder Mickey Rivers mans the first base coaching box. Mick the Quick will advise the few Yanks to reach base against Tim Wakefield and two relievers, as the home side fall, 2-1.



1999: Joe Torre  is diagnosed with prostate cancer. While he is undergoing treatment‚ the team will be run by bench coach Don Zimmer.



1958: Steve Howe is born. Howe was a lefty reliever for the Yanks from 1991 to 1996, but will probably always be best known for his record seven drug-related suspensions.  Howe signed three free agent contracts with the Yanks, and compiled a mark of 18-10 with 31 saves during his time with the team. He died in a car accident during the 2006 season.


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.


3/05 & 3/06 in Yankee History


On the 5th of March over the years…

2009: It is a day that Joba Chamberlain would just as soon forget as the Yankees get their second [bad] 2009 taste of World Baseball Classic play in a loss to Team Canada. Joba allows a four-pitch walk, single, walk, walk, and walk before Jonathan Albaladejo crowns the six-run top of the first by allowing a two-run Matt Stairs double, a sac fly and a single. The scoring, and just about all of the offense, is over, and the Yanks fall 6-0.


1973: Yankee teammates Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich arrive at spring training and announce that they have swapped wives and families, including household pets.


1966: Kevin Brown is born. Happy 48th to everyone’s favourite wall-punching pitcher!


1942: The Yankee Clipper comes in for criticism as the weekly entertainment newspaper Variety weighs in on ‘droopy drawers’ in baseball: «Joe DiMaggio and Carl Hubbell are the silliest looking pair we’ve seen. Way back in the days when the speed boys were stealing 40 to 90 bases a year‚ you’ll remember they used to roll their pants just below the knee. Now they’ve got ‘em almost to their shoes. The theory here is that the constriction inherent in the new style can slow a player a full stride getting to first».



..and on the 6th…

2005: Suzyn Waldman becomes the first woman to be a full-time color commentator in major league history, making her debut with John Sterling on WCBS-AM 880, the radio flagship of the New York Yankees. The former radio-talk host on WFAN, the first all-sports radio station in United States, was also the first female to broadcast on a national baseball telecast, as well as the first to provide local TV (Yankees) major league play-by-play.


1992: Yankee pitcher Pascual Perez is suspended for one year for violation of baseball’s drug policy.


1986: Francisco Cervelli is born.  Happy birthday to the Italian Stallion!


1985: Enos Slaughter is elected to the Hall of Fame by the Special Veterans Committee. Though remembered primarily for his year with the St. Louis Cardinals, Slaughter spent much of the latter part of his career with the Yankees, and was in left field when Don Larsen pitched his World Series perfect game.


1977: Marcus Thames is born.  Happy 37th to ‘Tiny Thames’!


1969: In seven spring training games, the designated hitter rule is used as an experiment for the first time. The Yankees’ John Orsino (a recent acquisition from the Senators who will not make the trip north with the club) is the first DPH (designated pinch hitter, as the position is referred to) to get a hit, a single in a contest with his former teammates at Washington’s camp in Pompano Beach, Florida. Orsino bats 6th and goes 1 for 4.

John Orsino (f).jpg

1965: Wally Schang, starting catcher for the first Yankee pennant-winning team (in 1921), dies at the age of 75.


Passing on the same day, at the age of 85,  is Jimmy Austin, starting third baseman for the New York Highlanders in 1909 and 1910.


1922: Babe Ruth signs for 3 years at $52‚000 a year. The next highest-paid Yankee player is Frank ‘Home Run’ Baker, at $16‚000 annually.



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