Boston Sports Day

Yankees Continue A Tradition Unlike Any Other In Baseball

The Yankees held their 70th Annual Old-Timers’ Day on Sunday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.

This was the first one without Yogi Berra, who passed away last September. There was a moment of silence and tribute to him and other members of the Yankees family who passed away since the last Old Timers’ Day.

Yankees legends going back to the 1950s were on hand, including Dr. Bobby Brown, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen, and Ralph Terry.

The oldest living Yankee, at 95 years old, Eddie Robinson, was on hand for the first time at Old-Timer’s Day.

The Yankees’ two championships in 1977 and 1978 were well represented, with Reggie Jackson, Ron Guidry Lou Piniella, Goose Gossage, Mickey Rivers, Bucky Dent, Brian Doyle, and Diana Munson, wife of Thurman Munson.

This is the 20th anniversary of the 1996 World Series team. Joe Torre, who managed that team and three other Yankees championship teams in 1998, 1999, and 2000, was on hand.

Players from that team that participated in the game included current Yankees Manager Joe Girardi, Paul O’Neill, Bernie Williams, Jeff Nelson, Pat Kelly, Mariano Duncan, Charlie Hayes, Graeme Lloyd, and Brian Boehringer.

Girardi was a big part of that team, as the starting catcher and had a memorable triple in the World Series clincher, Game 6 against Atlanta’s Greg Maddux.

Girardi said of Old-Timers’ Day and the Yankees’ tradition, “Just getting to know so many of these guys is special. The fact that they’ve done it for 70 years shows how good the Yankees have been over the years.”

The closer for the 1996 team, John Wetteland, made his first appearance at Old-Timers’ Day.

Girardi said of 1996, “Time goes fast. It’s hard for me to believe 20 years have passed since those days as a player here in ’96. It’s nice to see everyone come back. I saw Mariano Duncan, ‘we play today, we win today.’ That really took off and registered with our club. See guys like Wetteland come back, it’s special.”

Giardi said of seeing Wetteland, “He was doing an interview and I came from behind and put my arm around him and said ‘hello, old timer.’ It was great to see him. My first year here, he was the closer, and he was really good to me, took care of me in a lot of ways and it developed into a great bond. Scouting report on him is, I’m sure today, he’ll try to blow somebody away with his fastball.”

Bernie Williams said of it being 20 years since that championship in 1996, “It’s not hard to believe, but it is awesome! Life goes really fast, next thing you know it’s 20 years later, and still here. The game still going, as strong as ever. Certainly appreciate the time that we, that I, had to play, the time that I got to play in it and be a part of it. It’s great.”

Williams said of the 1996 team, “The chemistry was great, it was awesome. Joe Torre was the perfect guy for the job. He was the one that would take all the things like media, all the distractions away from us. As long as we played the game, played hard, be on time, and just play the game the right way, he would go through the wall for us, and that really allowed us to play our game with no added pressure in one of the hardest places to play, New York City.”

Williams said of being away from the game longer increase his perspective on it, “Yes, absolutely, those were some of the best times in my life. I was young, full of energy, and playing the game that I practiced and played from the time that I was eight years old and I was able to play it at the highest level that I could possibly play it for the best team in the world.”

The highlight of the Old Timers’ Game was when Hideki Matsui hit a home run into the second deck in right field off David Cone for a home run.

Matsui said of the homer afterwards, “Its a great feeling. To me, the first time I ever came here to watch a major league game was when David Cone was pitching, and that was my inspiration to play here. So, to be able to kind of make it happen like that, I mean, to me, it’s going to be a lasting memory.”

The game Matsui saw Cone pitch was the second game of the 1999 American League Championship Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Matsui said of missing the game, “The kinds of events are fun, these kinds of games are fun to play in. When talking about the real game, real season, playing the seriously, that’s a different, I don’t really miss it.”

Former Yankees Manager Joe Torre. Photo by Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

Former Yankees Manager Joe Torre. Photo by Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

 

Reggie Jackson. Photo by Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

Reggie Jackson. Photo by Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

 

David Cone. Photo by Nwil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

David Cone. Photo by Nwil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

 

Yogi Berra plaque on the bases used for Old Timers' Day. Photo by Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

Yogi Berra plaque on the bases used for Old Timers’ Day. Photo by Neil Miller / Sportsday Wire.

06/12/16  detroit  tigers vs  ny yankees  at  yankee  stadium  bronx ny New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda #35   pitches in the   4th innning photos  by  sportsdaywire

06/12/16 detroit tigers vs ny yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny New York Yankees starting pitcher Michael Pineda #35 pitches in the 4th innning photos by sportsdaywire

 

 

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