New York Yankees Flashback: Joltin’ Joe DiMaggio

New York Yankees

We lead off commemorating a birthday, that of the most famous Yankee to be born on November 25. The Yankee Clipper, Joe DiMaggio (1914), hit 361 lifetime home runs (all as a righty batter) in a home ballpark with a virtually unreachable left center field wall; he won three MVP Awards and two batting titles, while driving home 1,537 runs.

He led the league in rbi’s twice, in homers twice, slugging percentage twice, and total bases three times. He played 13 seasons around World War II, and was generally considered to be the smoothest defensive outfielder of his time. And let’s not forget the still umatched 56-game hitting streak in 1941.

New York Yankee catcher Thurman Munson received 23 of 24 votes in winning the American League Rookie of the Year Award on November 25, 1970. Munson caught 132 games his rookie year, stroked six home runs, and knocked in 53 runs. The year before that, outfielder (and future Yankee) Lou Piniella had won the AL ROTY on November 25 as a Kansas City Royal.

Hall of Fame Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis died on November 25, 1944. Credited with saving the game following the 1919 Black Sox scandal, Landis served until his death. On the downside, if he did not encourage the game’s segregation policies, he did nothing to fix them either.

Two other big-name Yankees join Joltin’ Joe on the November 25 birthday list. Bucky Dent (1951) will always be remembered for his 1978 playoff home run that broke the hearts of all of Boston.

With the Yanks he hit 27 homers and knocked in 209 runs from 1977 through 1982. He managed the Yanks for a short time in both 1989 and 1990, but to an 18-22 mark the first year, and an 18-31 record in the latter, numbers that got him quickly replaced. The 105 home runs and 359 rbi’s from 2009 through 2012 with the ability to play both outfield and first base were only two of the many things Nick Swisher (1980) brought to the 2009 Champs. A real character, Nick may have kept the clubhouse light; we know he did the fanbase.