Before we get into today’s edition of “This Date In Yankees History”, I need to take a moment and recognize one of the most influential people in my life. My grandfather, Dean Cohick would’ve turned 100 years old today. He passed away back in 1991, but his impact on my love for baseball and the Yankees is still felt to this day. I remember stories he would tell me about listening to the radio as a young boy, and imagining the power and grace of “Murderers Row” and how when he was a young boy, the Yankees were all that mattered. It was on those Saturday afternoons at his home that he planted the seeds of a lifelong love affair with not only sports, but how to respect the history of the game and what came before the present day. Happy Birthday Grandpa! I know you are looking down on me and enjoy everything I do to carry on the family tradition of baseball.
While nothing to the extent of acquiring Babe Ruth happened on December 27th in Yankees history, there are a few interesting notes from different points in franchise history. Sit back, and enjoy today’s edition of “This Date in Yankees History.”
On this date back in 1943, long time Yankees outfielder Roy White was born in Los Angeles, California. White spent his entire 15-year major league career with the Bombers, serving from 1965-1979. He came to the Bronx at the very end of the Mantle Era Dynasty, and played on some pretty sorry Yankees’ squads before participating in the rise of the Bronx Bombers once more, playing a key role in the “Bronx Zoo” Yankees’ teams of the mid-1970s. White was a 2-time All Star selection, and set a major league record for sacrifice flies in a single season with 17 in 1971. He was a member of three American League pennant winners and two World Series championship teams. After retiring, White served as a Yankees coach during the 1980s, and returned once again for the 2004 season. Happy Birthday Roy!
On this date back in 1984, the Yankees made one of the worst moves of the decade, signing free agent pitcher Ed Whitson, most recently of the defending National League champion San Diego Padres to a 5-year, $4.4 million dollar deal. The contract ended up being an complete disaster for both player and team.
The highlight of the Yankees/Whitson marriage took place in Baltimore at the Cross Keys Inn. After a night of mingling and drinking, skipper Billy Martin (who had challenged a newly wed husband to a fight in the parking lot), claimed to be rushing to Whitson’s aid after an altercation in the bar. Upon arriving on the scene, Whitson and Martin began pushing and shoving one another. Martin had no love for Whitson, and the feeling was mutual. After what Whitson claimed was a sucker-punch by Martin, Whitson retaliated after the two men were separated by kicking Martin in the groin. Once Martin recovered, the player and his manager took the fight to the parking lot where they rolled around on the pavement and exchanged punches. The resulting damage: Martin ended up with a broken arm, along with several bumps and bruises on his head. For Whitson, he suffered a broken rib and a team suspension. Whitson claimed Martin was trying to ruin him and bury him from developing into a great pitcher, to which Martin laughed and claimed Whitson buried himself. Ed Whitson finished his Yankees career with a 15-10 record in just over a season and a half, with a 5.38 ERA in 44 games.
In a changing of the guard, on this date back in 2001, the Yankees announce that after 21 seasons with WABC, the team will have all spring training, regular season and postseason games broadcast by the Infinity Broadcasting-owned WCBS-AM. The Yankees also being the first of their 5-year, $50 million dollar agreement with the newly created YES Network.
We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s edition of “This Date in Yankees History” and be sure to check back in tomorrow for the December 28th events in Bombers History!