Yankees resume annual Old-Timers' Day after pandemic pause

Yankees resume annual Old-Timers’ Day after pandemic pause

NEW YORK (AP) – Nostalgia resurfaced in the Bronx as Old-Timers Day returned to Yankee Stadium on Saturday for the first time since 2019.

This time something different appeared. The New York Yankees canceled the annual fickle reunion game because many of the retired players in attendance are recovering from various tasks. Instead, Michael Kay and John Sterling read extended biographies of each honoree while a brief video was played on the scoreboard.

“Until they get an influx of younger players, I don’t know if the big guys can play anymore,” joked Ron Guidry. “But, if they have (the game), I’m sure the crowd will love it, so we’ll have to see what happens over the next few years.”

The 33-minute pregame ceremony featured several familiar faces – Guidry, Bernie Williams and David Coen, along with Yankees spouse Joan Ford (Whitey’s wife), Jill Martin (Billy’s wife), Diana Munson (Thurman’s wife) ) and Kay Mercer ( Bobby’s wife). Arlene Henley (Alston Howard’s wife) also broadcast a video message.

Perhaps there was a list of names notable as Yankee greats in attendance who were not. Fan favorites Wade Boggs, Ricky Henderson, Mariano Rivera and Reggie Jackson were all to attend the autograph signing at the National Sports Collectors Convention in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

Loud cheers and chants greeted Williams, and the ever-popular Mickey Rivers erupted in loud applause from center field. Years ago, players used to jog in the field from the home dugout, but this year, they took a long walk through the Centerfield Tunnel adjacent to Memorial Park.

Eroldis Chapman walks out of the New York bullpen to hug Luis Sojo during a pre-event media session. A handful of players from both the Yankees and the Royals leaned over the dugout toward the latter part of the ceremony.

“I remember the opportunity to be here as a player and see all these people on Old-Timers’ Day,” Williams said. “I met Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford. We had the opportunity to meet him behind closed doors at the clubhouse. Things have changed a bit now, but I think the sentiment remains the same.”

The game was the first without Dr. Bobby Brown. Brown, who witnessed the first Old-Timers Day from the dugout in 1947, died on March 25, 2021.

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