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History Highlights for December 31

It was largely through the efforts of AL founder Ban Johnson that ownership of the Yankee franchise changed hands on December 31, 1914. Colonel Jacob Ruppert and Cap Huston paid Bill Devery and Frank Farrell $460,000 for it, and then built a winner. After the misstep of hiring Bill Donovan to manage the club (fifth-, fourth-, and sixth-place finishes in 1915-1917), Miller Huggins arrived behind the bench in 1918 and Babe Ruth on the bench two seasons later. The Yankees became the winning organization that inspires such deep feeling in fans of all stripes to this day. Continue reading

History Highlights for December 27

December 27 is a good day to keep Brian Cashman away from the phone, though only two of the three bum acquisitions the Yanks have made on that day were on his watch. The best thing that can be said about signing Ed Whitson to a five-year free-agent deal with the Bombers on December 27, 1984 was that he was traded back to the Padres in July 1986 for reliever Tim Stoddard. Stoddard, happily, was a solid performer in New York, garnering a 10-6 record with 11 saves through the end of the 1988 season. Continue reading

The Best and Worst of Times — History Highlights for December 25

With apologies to Charles Dickens, end-of-the-year musings can be melancholy ones for long-time fans of the New York Yankees. Though they are enthusiasts for the most successful team in spectator sports history — the happiest of outcomes — most now remember that fiery player and manager Billy Martin passed away on Christmas Day in 1989. This was 15 years before one-time pinstriper Johnny Oates (2004) died on Christmas Eve. And one year ago, slick-fielding first baseman Mike Hegan, who debuted in the Bronx, joined Martin by succumbing on Christmas Day, 2013. Continue reading

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