Yankees resume annual Alumni Day after pandemic hiatus

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Former New York Yankees pitcher Ron Guidry throws out a ceremonial first pitch during the Alumni Day ceremony before the start of a baseball game between the New York Yankees and Kansas City Royals on Saturday July 30, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

PA

Nostalgia took over the Bronx again as Alumni Day returned to Yankee Stadium on Saturday for the first time since 2019.

This time it was a little different. The New York Yankees canceled the annual play reunion game because too many retired players were in attendance recovering from various surgeries. Instead, emcees Michael Kay and John Sterling read detailed biographies of each winner while a brief video played on the scoreboard.

“Unless they have an influx of younger players, I don’t know if the older guys can still play,” joked Ron Guidry. “But, if they have (the game), I’m sure the crowd would like it, so we’ll have to see what happens over the next two years.”

The 33-minute pre-game ceremony featured many familiar faces – Guidry, Bernie Williams and David Cone, as well as Yankees wives Joan Ford (Whitey’s wife), Jill Martin (Billy’s wife), Diana Munson ( wife of Thurman) and Kay Murcer (wife of Bobby). Arlene Henley (wife of Elston Howard) also relayed a video message.

Perhaps as notable as the Yankee greats who were in attendance was the list of names that weren’t. Fan favorites Wade Boggs, Rickey Henderson, Mariano Rivera and Reggie Jackson were all scheduled to appear for an 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 sprinted from center field to thunderous applause. In years past, players ran to the infield from the home dugout, but this year they made the long walk from the center field tunnel adjacent to Monument Park.

Aroldis Chapman emerged from the New York bullpen to kiss Luis Sojo during the pre-event media session. A handful of Yankees and Royals players leaned on the dugout toward the second half of the ceremony.

“I remember coming here as a player and having the opportunity to see all these guys at Alumni Day,” Williams said. “I met Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford. We had the opportunity to meet them behind closed doors in the clubhouse. Now things have changed a bit, but I think the feeling remains the same.

The game was the first without Dr. Bobby Brown. Brown, who watched the very first Alumni Day in 1947 from the dugout, died March 25, 2021.

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