2001: On Opening Day, Roger Clemens becomes the all-time American
League career strike out leader, passing Walter Johnson. Kansas City
Royals infielder Joe Randa is his 3,509 Junior circuit victim. In
overtaking Johnson, Clemens now moves into the seventh spot on the
all-time major league list.
And on other 2nds of April…
2011: The Commissioner’s office demands that the Yankees stop relaying hand signals from the stands to their hitters at their home park, something which is expressly prohibited by a directive from Major League Baseball. GM Brian Cashman apologizes to Joe Garagiola Jr. and says the team will comply.
2008: Two starting pitchers embarking on excellent seasons do battle at the Stadium. The tourists will get the best of it, as Toronto’s A.J. Burnett bests Mike Mussina and the Yanks 5-2. The key blow for the Jays is a 2nd inning, two-run blast by centerfielder Vernon Wells, while Burnett is driven from the mound when Alex Rodriguez follows up Bobby Abreu’s 7th-inning leadoff walk with a homer of his own. Two Alex Rios RBI provide the difference. Ahmad Bradshaw of the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants advances the games left counter from 80 to 79 games.
2007: Carl ‘American Idle’ Pavano gets the start in Opening Day in the Bronx. He allows but two hits and an unearned run through four as the Yanks take the lead. The embattled hurler leaves on the short end after a four-run 5th, however. A Derek Jeter two-run single draws the home team even, and Alex Rodriguez caps the 9-5 comeback win with a two-run eighth-inning homer, as Brian Bruney, Sean Henn, Luis Vizcaino and Mariano Rivera blank the Royals on three singles over the last 4.7 frames. The multiple innings out of the pen, however, combined with injuries in the rotation, augur a trend that will prompt early-season struggles.
2003: Todd Zeile hits a home run in his first at-bat for the Yankees, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams. In addition to homering with the Yanks, Zeile had also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies. In the game, Mike Mussina gets the 9-7 win for the Bombers.
1997; Tino Martinez has a career day, homering his first three times up in a game at Seattle’s Kingdome, leading the Yanks to a 16-2 rout. Tino scores five runs and collects 7 RBI. He hits one-, two-, and three-run shots, but in three chances at the grand slam, he walks, singles and flies out.
1995: The longest strike in major league history comes to an end. Having the first 23 days of this major league season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players’ March 31 unconditional offer to return to work. The players’ decision to return to work is made after a US District Court issues an injunction restoring terms and conditions of the expired agreement. Teams will play 144-game schedules. The strike had begun on August 12, 1994.
1957: Hank Steinbrenner is born. Happy 56th to the Yankees’ always quotable co-owner!