New York Yankees: The Top 3 July 4th Moments in Franchise History
Today marks the beginning of the Fourth of July weekend.
The Fourth of July is special to the Yankees and their fans not only because of what that day means to us as Americans but also because three historic Yankees moments have happened on July 4th.
Let's take a look at what these three moments are.
July 4, 1983: Dave Righetti Throws a No-Hitter
The stage was set for a memorable Fourth of July in 1983.
The Boston Red Sox came to town and Richard Nixon was in attendance.
Dave Righetti was a starting pitcher back then. He would become the Yankees closer the following season.
That day, Righetti threw a no-hitter and the Yankees won the game 4-0. Righetti became the first Yankee since Don Larsen in the 1956 World Series to throw a no-hitter for the Yankees.
It's hard to top throwing a no-hitter against your hated rival on your country's birthday. It's even better when that day is also your boss' birthday.
Which brings us to the second-best Fourth of July moment in Yankees history.
July 4, 1930: George Steinbrenner Is Born
July 4, 1930 is the day the "Evil Empire" was born.
Little did Rita and Henry Steinbrenner realize what the son Rita gave birth to that day would go on to do.
George Steinbrenner would buy the New York Yankees in 1973 and the rest, as they say, is baseball history.
He would go on to turn the Yankees back into the juggernaut they were from 1920 until the late 1960s. His impact would be especially felt when free agency was instilled in baseball in the mid-1970s.
Love or hate him, there is no denying the impact Mr. Steinbrenner had not only on the Yankees but across the entirety of baseball.
Steinbrenner's birth was nine years to the day of the most historic Fourth of July in Yankees history.
July 4, 1939: Lou Gehrig Considers Himself the Luckiest Man
July 4, 1939 was Lou Gehrig Appreciation Day at Yankee Stadium.
The day was slotted as a double-header between the Yankees and the Washington Senators. In between the two games, the Yankees and all of baseball would honor Lou and his soon-to-be Hall of Fame career.
Several people gave speeches and Gehrig received gifts from everyone, including the visiting Washington Senators.
It was what Lou said when given the microphone, though, that goes down in history as not only the most famous sports-related speech in history, but one of the most famous speeches ever.
Courtesy of the Official Lou Gehrig website, here's the text version of his speech (you can listen to the audio on that site as well).
"Fans, for the past two weeks you have been reading about the bad break I got. Yet today I consider myself the luckiest man on the face of this earth. I have been in ballparks for seventeen years and have never received anything but kindness and encouragement from you fans.
Look at these grand men. Which of you wouldn't consider it the highlight of his career just to associate with them for even one day? Sure, I'm lucky. Who wouldn't consider it an honor to have known Jacob Ruppert? Also, the builder of baseball's greatest empire, Ed Barrow? To have spent six years with that wonderful little fellow, Miller Huggins? Then to have spent the next nine years with that outstanding leader, that smart student of psychology, the best manager in baseball today, Joe McCarthy? Sure, I'm lucky.
When the New York Giants, a team you would give your right arm to beat, and vice-versa, sends you a gift - that's something. When everybody down to the groundskeepers and those boys in white coats remember you with trophies - that's something. When you have a wonderful mother-in-law who takes sides with you in squabbles with her own daughter - that's something. When you have a father and a mother who work all their lives so you can have an education and build your body - it's a blessing. When you have a wife who has been a tower of strength and shown more courage than you dreamed existed - that's the finest I know.
So I close in saying that I may have had a bad break, but I have an awful lot to live for."
Lou Gehrig would get inducted into the Hall of Fame in December 1939 (they waived the waiting period) and would pass away on June 2, 1941 (16 years to the day that he replaced Wally Pipp and began his consecutive games played streak).
The Fourth of July is the most important holiday in our nation's history.
It is the day we as one people announced to the world that we weren't going to stand idly by and be controlled.
It is the day we gather with friends and family to celebrate the fact we are free from tyranny and oppression.
Please take a minute this Fourth of July and think about all the men and women serving this great country around the world. They are somewhere else away from their family and friends so that you can enjoy the holiday in peace.
Always remember, "Freedom isn't Free."