On May 14, 1941, Joe DiMaggio's 56 game hitting streak began with a single off Edgar Smith in a game against Chicago at Yankee Stadium. Two months, and 56 games later, his streak came to an end in a 3-1 Yankee victory after Cleveland. DiMaggio went on to hit safely in the next 16 consecutive games, giving him a total of hits in 72 of 73 consecutive games. That same year, Lou Gehrig died of the disease that bore his name, at the age of 37.
In 1945, Dan Topping, Del Webb and Larry MacPhail purchased the Yankees for $2,800,000 from the estate of the late Col. Jacob Ruppert (Ruppert had bought out his partner Huston for $1,500,000 in 1922).
In 1947, Major League Baseball celebrated "Babe Ruth Day". A little more than one year later, on the 25th anniversary of Yankee Stadium, Ruth's number, 3, was retired. On that same day, he made his final appearance in Yankee Stadium. He died two months later at the age of 53.
In 1951, the next great Yankee made his debut. Mickey Mantle played in his first game on April 17, going 1 for 4 in a 4-0 win over Boston. Two years to the day after his debut, Mantle hit the first "tape measure" homerun in Major League History, with a 565ft shot against the Washington Senators. Later that year, the Yankees won a Major League record 5th consecutive World Series title.
In 1961, Roger Maris beat out his teammate Mickey Mantle for the single season homerun record, by hitting a whopping 61 homeruns. Mantle finished with 58.
In 1964, CBS purchased 80% of the Yankees, for the staggering sum of $11,200,000. They later purchased the remaining 20%.
On August 8, 1972, the Yankees signed a 30 year lease to play in a renovated Yankee Stadium. As a result, the Yankees were forced to play their 1974 and 1975 seasons in Shea Stadium, home of the New York Mets.
The Year before the Yankees moved into Shea Stadium, the Yankees current owner, George Steinbrenner III (aka The Boss) purchased the controlling interest of the Yankees from CBS.
On April 15, 1976 the remodeled Yankee Stadium saw its first game, with the crowd enjoying an 11 - 4 rout of the Minnesota Twins. Later that year, Chris Chambliss (The current Yankee Batting Coach) hit a Walkoff homerun in the 9th inning of game 5 of the American League Championship Series winning the Yankees their 30th Pennant.
Later in 1976, the Yankees signed Free Agent Reggie "Mr. October" Jackson to a five year contract. This proved to be a great move, as just one year later, Jackson hit an incredible 3 homeruns in game 6 of the World Series.
On June 16, 1978 Pitcher Ron Guidry struck out a Franchise Record 18 batters in a 4 - 0 win over the California Angels. Trailing the Red Sox by as many as 14 games, the Yankees season came to a climax when they beat the Red Sox in a Divisional Playoff, clinching the AL East Title.
The seventies ended on a sad note for the Yankees as their team captain, Thermon Munson was killed in a plane crash on August 2, 1979. A little over a year later, the Yankees signed future Hall of Famer Dave Winfield to a ten year contract.