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Army set to host the New York Yankees

ColeWhiteArmyWEST POINT, N.Y. – A tradition that began nearly a century ago will be rekindled for the first time since 1986 this spring when the Army baseball team hosts the New York Yankees in an exhibition game at Doubleday Field on Saturday, March 30, at 2 p.m.

Yankees legends such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig played at West Point generations ago, and now current superstars like Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Robinson Cano will grace the historic playing surface at Doubleday Field.

“We are thrilled to bring the Yankees back to the United States Military Academy,” said Army director of athletics Boo Corrigan. “There is a long-standing tradition between these two great institutions, and we thank the Steinbrenner family, Lonn Trost and Brian Cashman for their support in making this happen. This will truly be a unique experience for all the cadets and the entire West Point community.”

“It’s a tremendous honor for our organization to play at West Point, which is one of our country’s most historically significant institutions,” said New York Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner. “The Yankees have always held the nation’s servicemen and servicewomen in the highest regard. Playing in this game is our way of showing appreciation for their valor and the sacrifices made by all members of the United States armed forces.”

The contest will jump start an action-packed weekend of baseball at West Point as the Black Knights host Navy in a four-game Patriot League series on March 30 and April 1.

Army played 85 exhibition games against Major League Baseball teams between 1914 and 1986, but the tradition has been dormant since the Black Knights hosted the Houston Astros more than a quarter century ago on May 6, 1986.

Army faced the New York Yankees 21 times between 1927 and 1976, making the Bronx Bombers the Black Knights’ most common Major League opponent over the years. The first meeting featured Ruth, Gehrig and the rest of the Murderers’ Row Yankees.

The Yankees also visited West Point to face Army in 1928, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1936, 1937, 1944, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1972 and 1974.

The Yankees won each of the 21 previous meetings, including a 2-0 victory in the most recent matchup in 1976. The closest game in series history was played in 1966 when the Yankees edged Army, 1-0, on Mickey Mantle’s RBI groundout in the first inning.

Ruth, who still ranks third on Major League Baseball’s all-time home runs list, left an indelible mark on the series in his final visit to Doubleday Field on June 11, 1934, blasting a 500-foot home run over the fence in right field. The towering smash is still considered to be the longest ball ever hit at Doubleday.

Army first competed against a Major League club on May 9, 1914, when a group of New York Giants rookies defeated the Black Knights, 7-2. The Giants were one of four professional teams to play games at West Point in 1944 when they joined the Yankees, Brooklyn Dodgers and Montreal Expos. Army played a total of five games against those clubs that season, and the Black Knights posted an 8-6 win versus a team comprised of Montreal Royals (Triple-A) and Brooklyn Dodgers rookies.

Army recorded its first and only wins against a Major League team the following season in 1945 when the Black Knights took two out of three games from the Dodgers.

Army also played eight games against the New York Mets during a 22-year stretch. The Mets won all eight meetings, including a 6-0 triumph over the Black Knights in the final matchup during the 1984 campaign. That Mets squad featured young stars Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden.

Army’s most recent exhibition game against a Major League club came more than 25 years ago against the Houston Astros in 1986. The Astros registered a 9-0 win behind home runs by Glenn Davis and Phil Garner.

Doubleday Field was named after Abner Doubleday, an 1842 West Point graduate, who is credited with creating the game of baseball.

Ticket information for the game will be available in late February.

The Black Knights officially open their 2013 campaign on Friday, Feb. 15, when the Black Knights travel to Greensboro, N.C., for a three-game series versus UNC Greensboro. Army begins its home schedule on Wednesday, March 20, against Quinnipiac, just 10 days before the Yankees descend upon West Point.

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