Happy holidays to each of you from the staff at Yanks Go Yard. With tonight being the final day of 2013, it is important to be responsible if you’re going out to celebrate. As for our ongoing history series, this edition will end the holiday season of Yankees history. We are less than 60 days from pitchers and catchers reporting for spring training down in Tampa, Florida, and the team is far from done constructing their roster. The Yankees are still looking to add a starting arm or two, a bullpen arm, and a viable replacement for if and when Alex Rodriguez loses his arbitration hearing. Our staff will be on top of every rumor, piece of news, and compelling story affecting the New York Yankees. From our staff to you, thank you for all of your continued support throughout 2013, and we hope you will continue coming to Yanks Go Yard for everything Yankees in 2014!
On this date in 1974, one of the pioneering events of the newly formed free agency option occurred. The Yankees, after having suffered and toiled in the second division for the past several seasons, brought in the first piece of what would become a dominant second half of the decade. The Yankees signed free agent pitcher Jim “Catfish” Hunter to a 5-year, $3.75 million dollar contract after a bidding war among several teams drove up Hunter’s price. Catfish Hunter had been an integral piece of the Oakland Athletics dynasty of the early 1970s. In his first season in pinstripes, Hunter would lead the American League in wins with 23, complete games with 30, innings pitched with 328, and WHIP with a 1.009 mark. He would win two more rings while with the Yankees before retiring at the end of the 1979 season.
An old face from the Yankees most recent dynasty returned to the Bronx on this date back in 2004. With the increasing uncertainty of how dependable first baseball Jason Giambi would be, the Yankees bring back fan favorite Tino Martinez, who was the starting first baseman on four World Series championship teams (’96, ’98, ’99, and ’00). Martinez was allowed to leave New York at the conclusion of the Yankees’ defeat in the ’01 World Series and replaced by Giambi. Tino “The Bambino” would spend time with the St. Louis Cardinals and Tampa Bay Devil Rays before returning to the Bronx. He agreed to a 1-year deal, worth $3 million dollars. During his final major league campaign, Martinez in 131 games, would hit .241 with 17 home runs and 49 runs batted in.
Again, we wish to thank you for your support throughout 2013, and hope you have a prosperous 2014!