Righthander Jack Morris had just won a record arbitration amount four days earlier, but it was eclipsed when Yankee first sacker Don Mattingly was awarded $1,975,000 to play the 1987 season with the Yankees on February 17 of that year. With 30 homers, 115 rbi’s, and a .327 batting average, he would prove more than worth the expense.
Ironically, on this same wintry day that Wally Pipp was born (in 1893), but in 1937, the Yanks purchased Babe Dahlgren from the Red Sox. The day Lou Gehrig‘s streak of consecutive games finally ended, it was Dahlgren who would take his place at first. The first baseman hit 27 Yankee homers by the time he left after the 1940 season, and he drove in 163 runs and stole three bases in the Bronx too.
Joe DiMaggio gave up his Pinstripes and his big salary and enlisted in the Army on February 17, 1943.
Three days after “Voice of the Yankees” Mel Allen would have turned 104, his boothmate and fellow legendary Yankee broadcaster Red Barber would have been celebrating his 109th birthday, on February 17, 2017. Calm and scholarly where Mel was louder and ever the showman, “the old redhead” was born this day in 1908.
Two Yankee Hall of Famers, southpaw Lefty Gomez (1989), and righthander Red Ruffing (1986), died this day. Gomez posted a 189-101 Yankee record from 1930-1942, and lost one subsequent game with Washington. Ruffing, who pitched to a mark way below .500 in Boston before he arrived, went 231-114 with the Yanks from 1930-1946. The career mark dips to 273-225 when six Boston years and one with the White Sox are included.
Read more history for February 17 on TakeHimDowntown.com