Old Timer’s Day. The New York Yankees started the concept— and own it to this day. Other MLB franchises, and even teams in other sports have glommed on to the idea, but no one does it like the originators. It started in earnest in 1930’s with ceremonies for Lou Gehrig* and Babe Ruth, and gets better every year to date.
- In 1973, Whitey Ford grooved one to Mickey Mantle, who hit his final home at The Stadium.
- In 1975, while the old Stadium was being renovated, the Bombers played their home games at Shea Stadium, including that year’s Old Timer’s Day game. The drama that day was the announcement that Billy Martin would take over as manager of the team.
- In the magical season of 1998, the Old Timer’s Day concept was a fete of the 1977-78 and 1981 Yankees’ squads — who met the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series each of those years. Dodger players were invited, and an ironic and perfect ending took place, as Wille Randolph took Tommy John deep for the walk-off Yankees win. John was a member of the Dodgers in 1977 and 1978, and a Yankee in 1981, leaving him on the losing side in all three World Series showdowns.
- More recently, in 2011, David Cone gave up a 2-run dinger to former teammate Tino Martinez.
Here’s more great info from History Of The Yankees.com.
Press Release From The Club:
The New York Yankees today announced that nearly 50 former Yankees will be on hand at the 68th annual Old-Timers’ Day on Sunday, June 22, at Yankee Stadium, the sixth Old-Timers’ Day at the current Yankee Stadium.
Ceremonies are scheduled to begin at 11:30 a.m. with the traditional Old-Timers’ game to follow, both of which will be aired exclusively on the YES Network. The Yankees will then host the Baltimore Orioles at 2:05 p.m., also airing on YES. Gates will open to ticket-holding guests at 10:00 a.m. and fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 11:15 a.m. for the festivities.
As part of the pre-game ceremonies, the Yankees will honor Rich “Goose” Gossage by unveiling a Monument Park plaque that will recognize his Hall-of-Fame career. Gossage, who was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008, played in parts of seven seasons with the Yankees (1978-83, ’89), winning a World Series with the team in 1978.
In addition to Gossage, the Old-Timers are headlined by Hall-of-Famers Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Rickey Henderson and Reggie Jackson, as well as Joe Torre, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July. Former Yankees and current YES Network broadcasters David Cone, John Flaherty and Paul O’Neill will also join in on the festivities.
Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui, who won a World Series title with the Yankees in 2009, will make their Old-Timers’ Day debuts along with John Montefusco, who helped the club produce three seasons of at least 90 wins from 1983-86.
Joining the Hall-of-Famers and former Yankees on the baselines will be the widows of six legendary Yankees-Maggie Coleman, widow of Jerry Coleman; Arlene Howard, widow of Elston Howard; Helen Hunter, widow of Jim “Catfish” Hunter; Jill Martin, widow of Billy Martin; Diana Munson, widow of Thurman Munson; and Kay Murcer, widow of Bobby Murcer.