3/31 in Yankee History
2011: The Yankees have a successful opening day, beating Detroit 6-3 at the Stadium. Curtis Granderson, whose health was a concern before the start of the game because of a strained right oblique muscle, makes a diving catch of a Will Rhymes liner in the 1st, then breaks a 3 – 3 tie with a solo homer off Phil Coke in the 7th. Mark Teixera had earlier hit a three-run blast to tie the score in the 3rd. New Yankee starting catcher Russell Martin scores twice in his debut in pinstripes as Joba Chamberlain picks up the win and Mariano Rivera the save.
2006: The ball that Babe Ruth hit for his last home run at Yankee Stadium is sold for $86,250 at auction. The ball was hit off fellow Hall of Famer Walter Johnson in a war effort fund-raising exhibition game on August 23, 1942.
2004: The Yanks get a win in Tokyo and even their season record at 1-1 with a 12-1 demolition of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Two-run bombs from Tony Clark and local hero Hideki Matsui followed by the first of two Jorge Posada solo homers, stake Kevin Brown to a 6-1 lead.
2003: In the first of two consecutive Opening Day games played outside the United States, Roger Clemens rides a two-run Robin Ventura blast and an Alfonso Soriano grand slam to an 8-4 Yankee win in Toronto. The victory will come at a price, though, as Derek Jeter suffers a badly damaged shoulder in a collision with the knee pads of Blue Jays catcher Ken Huckaby at third. base. El Capitan will spend six weeks on the bench.
1992: Ken Silvestri, switch-hitting Yankee backup catcher of the ’40s, dies at the age of 75.
1980: Chien-Ming Wang is born. Happy 34th to the former Yankee, and all the best to a man who has had some tough breaks.