Today in Yankees History: The Baby Bombers go back-to-back in their MLB debuts

A year ago today, youngsters Tyler Austin and Aaron Judge started at first base and right field respectively. The new Yankees would have a memorable first day, hitting back-to-back home runs in their first at-bat. Austin’s shot used every inch of that short porch in right field, Judge’s rebounded off the restaurant in center field, but both made a thunderous statement, the Baby Bombers had officially arrived.
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One year ago yesterday, embattled Yankee Alex Rodriguez played his last game in a Yankee uniform in a misty home game against the Rays. A night filled with emotion for the Yankee faithful, the game turned the last page of the illustrious story that was the old Yankee dynasty. The signs of the end were there for weeks, as GM Brian Cashman finally convinced his superiors it was time to sell, something that seemed impossible for decades, but nevertheless happened.

The Yankees shipped off Carlos Beltran, Andrew Miller, Aroldis Chapman, and Ivan Nova to other franchises in hopes of rebuilding the monster. Struggling Mark Teixeira was starting to lose his grip on the starting first base job that he held since 2009, and the team decided the 1996 World Series Champion reunion day was the ideal time to showcase their future. The young prospects did their part, delivering a debut that put the Bronx in a frenzy.

For the rest of the season, these new Bombers struggled, Austin batting .241 and Judge batting .179 to finish up the year. Going into the offseason, both players worked tirelessly to improve on their up and down first years, but as different as their first home runs were, so were their second seasons. Austin would injure his foot in spring training and wouldn’t make his debut until June, where a hamstring injury would relegate him back to the DL until only just this past week. Tyler is currently playing in Triple-A Scranton hoping to return to the team sometime this season.
Judge, on the other hand, had as great of a first half as anyone in recent memory, batting well over .300 and putting on a highlight reel at the plate and in the field. The young slugger would run away with the Home Run Derby and be mentioned as the future face of baseball by MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred. Judge has slipped since then, going into a slump since the All-Star break, but will still hold almost every Yankee rookie record by season end.
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August 13th, 2016 is the day most point out to be the start of the Baby Bombers. However, it could be traced back to Gary Sanchez. The catcher took over for Brian McCann, and got off to as hot of a start as anyone, hitting 20 home runs in his first 53 at-bats. The right arm of the catcher was seemingly as strong as his bat, Sanchez was truly the first Baby Bomber of 2016.

Although the year ended without a postseason appearance, it gave fans reason for excitement, and 2017 has built on that. The club would have the best record in baseball at one time but has slid since then. The Bronx Bombers are currently battling with Boston for the division title, and the Baby Bomber movement has shown reasons for optimism moving forward.

Article by: Maxx Hotton


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