1994: 56,706 fans attend Opening Day at the Stadium, making it the largest crowd ever at the Ballyard in the Bronx since its mid-70s renovation.
On Opening Day, Yankees pitcher Tommy John ties a major league record
by playing in his 26th season. John beats the Minnesota Twins, 4 – 2,
for his 287th win, putting him 19th on the overall career win list.
The red-letter day:
2009: Yankee Stadium II opens for business with an exhibition game against the Chicago Cubs.
On other 3rds of April…
2008: Phil Hughes begins what will prove to be a tough year, as he battles Jays right-hander Dustin McGowan to
a 2-2 tie through six innings. Hughes strikes out two to close the
4th inning with yet another potential tally standing on third base.
Before the game it is announced that Alex Rodriguez has been named the Sporting News Player of the Year, the 9th Yankee so recognized since the honour was first designated in 1936. Bobby Abreu makes up for a poor baserunning play in the 6th (he is gunned down at third on a sac fly that barely scored Derek Jeter) by driving in Melky Cabrera with the eventual winner in the 8th inning. Paul O’Neill advances the games left counter from 79 to 78 in the 5th.
2005: In his first outing in pinstripes, Randy Johnson allows a run and
five hits in six innings as New York open the 2005 MLB season with a
9-2 triumph over the 2004 World Champion Boston Red Sox at Yankee
Stadium. Meanwhile, Hideki Matsui once again warms to the Opening Day spotlight, scoring three times, knocking in three, and collecting three, including a home run.
1984: After rain washed out yesterday’s opener at Royals Stadium, Yul
Brynner tosses out the first ball and Kansas City open with a 4-2 win
over the Yankees. The threat of snow holds the crowd to just 10,006.
Starter Bud Black, with relief help from Dan Quisenberry, tops Ron
Guidry, still winless in Openers. Onix Concepción hits Guidry’s first
pitch of the year for a home run, while Dave Winfield has a two-run
blast for the Yankees.
1969: Charley Stanceu (3rd from the right in the top row), a spot
starter on the Yankees’ 1941 championship club, dies of a heart attack
at the age of 53.
1929: Art Ditmar, pitcher for the 1958 Yankees championship vlub and 1957 AL pennant winner, is born – happy 82nd, A.D.!
1923: One of the most bizarre off-the-field incidents in the history of
the Yankees (or any other club) occurs in Jacksonville, Florida. New
York outfielder Ping Bodie competes against an ostrich named Percy in a
Bodie wins the competition when Percy passes
out after his 11th plate of pasta.
The red-letter day:
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.
2008: After a rain-out of the scheduled daytime opener the previous day, the Yankees begin their final campaign in the House that Ruth built with a night game. Reggie Jackson throws out the ceremonial first pitch, George Steinbrenner become the first of 81 honorary guests to advance the home games left
counter, from 81 to 80, in the fifth inning. The Yanks prevail over Toronto 3-2 in a scintillating pitchers’ duel between Roy Halladay and Chien-Ming Wang. Joba Chamberlain and Mariano Rivera preserve the win in the 8th and 9th inning.
2003: The Yankees defeat the Blue Jays 9-7 as Toronto shortstop Mike Bordick’s record streak for games without an error ends at 110. He boots Bubba Trammel’s grounder in the 3rd inning for his error after 544 chances without a miscue. Andy Pettitte picks up the win for the visiting Bombers.
1999: In one of his less proud moments, George Steinbrenner flies into a rage when Hideki Irabu fails to cover first on a ground ball hit during an exhibition game‚ and calls the portly pitcher a “fat p***y toad.” Steinbrenner will later apologize to Irabu.
1998: The Angels put together a 4-run rally in the 4th to hand the Yankees a 4-1 opening day loss Matt Walbeck’s 2 run triple is the big hit in the game. Chuck Finley earns the win as he gives up a run on 4 hits and 6 walks in 7 IP‚ with 7 K’s. Chuck Knoblauch enters the record books as he plays his 1000th game at 2B and sets the AL record for highest career fielding percentage.
1996: Snow postpones the Yankee opener in Cleveland
1933: Babe Ruth makes his third appearance in Memphis and like the last 3 opening games‚ the Chicks defeat the Yankees, winning 5-4. Tomrrow the Yanks will win 6-0 behind Lefty Gomez.The Babe goes hitless, getting no good pitches to swing at.
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 in an war effort fund-raising exhibition game off Walter Johnson 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 31st to the Wanger, and all the best to a man who has had some tough breaks!
the 29th of March down through the decades…
Yankees send pitcher Bret Prinz to the Angels in exchange for catcher
1997: The Yankees help the Braves open Turner
Field in Atlanta with an exhibition game on falling to the hosts 2-0.
1996: The Yanks and Mets play home-and-home exhibitions in
New York for their last two preseason games. The Bombers prevail in
the opener today at the Stadium, 7-3.
reliever for the Yankee championship clubs of 1927 and ’28, dies at
the age of 65. Moore is widely considered to have been the first
specialized relief pitcher in MLB history.
Allen, pitcher for the Yankees 1932 championship club, dies at the
age of 54.
Even in spring training… At St. Petersburg‚ the Yankees and the
Red Sox battle for 17 innings before agreeing to a 2-2 tie. This
grapefruit league contest, the longest ever to date, takes 4 hours
and 2 minutes.
the championship of St. Petersburg‚ 6 games to 3. The Yanks have
been tied but never beaten since 1926‚ when they dropped the local
series to the Braves.
The Yankees and Devil Rays open the 2004 regular season in Japan‚
with Tampa Bay pounding out an 8-3 victory behind the pitching of
Victor Zambrano and the hitting of Tino Martinez. Martinez strokes 3
hits‚ including the 300th HR of his career.
2001: Dwight Gooden retires.
The Yankees trade pitcher Darren Holmes to the Diamondbacks for pitcher Ben Ford and catcher Izzy Molina.
back to take the second of a pair of exhibition games from the
Yankees, rolling 8-3 at Shea.
third baseman and new author Graig Nettles to the Padres for rookie
pitcher Dennis Rasmussen and a minor leaguer to be named later.
Nettles’ controversial book ‘Balls’‚ in which he criticizes George
Steinbrenner‚ will be not be officially published until April 30th‚
but the galley proofs available now make his days in pinstripes
outfielder Ted Wilborn to the San Francisco Giants for pitcher Doyle
Alexander . Alexander was in a salary dispute with the Giants and had
not reported to training camp. It is the pitcher’s second tour of
duty with the Yanks; he’ll go 1-7 this year and 0-2 next year before
being released on May 16.
Williams to the Indians.
Ewell Blackwell and Tom Gorman‚ plus reserve infielder Dick
Kryhoski to the Kansas City Athletics for $50‚000.
On the 27th of March over the years…
2008: Brett Gardner and Cody Ransom are among the prospects reassigned by the Yankees to minor league camp.
2005: In a spring training game, Andy Pettitte, now in an Astros uniform, faces his former teammates for the first time. The veteran lefty allows but one hit the first time through the lineup, but Derek Jeter triples and Alex Rodriguez homers with two down in the third. The Yanks take the ballgame 7-4.
1948: Bill Sudakis, who was platooned at first base with Chris Chambliss in 1974 and also shared DH duties for the Yanks, is born. Happy 63rd, Bill!
1941: The Yankees sell pitcher Steve Sundra to the Senators on his 30th birthday. Sundra‚ 11-1‚ in 1939‚ slipped in 1940 to 4-6.
1879: Miller Huggins is born.
…and on the 28th…
2001: The Yankees trade 36-year-old Glenallen Hill‚ who hit .297 with 29 homers last season‚ to the Angels for minor-league outfielder Darren Blakely. Hill‚ taking the place of the
just-released Jose Canseco‚ will go 9-for-66‚ spend 5 weeks on the DL‚ and
get his release on the 1st of June.
1986: The Yankees and Red Sox swap designated hitters: Mike Easler goes to New York for Don Baylor.
Also, Phil Niekro is waived four days before
his 47th birthday. The veteran knuckleballer, who posted a 32-20 mark with the 1984-1985
Yanks, will catch on with the Indians on April 3.
1934: In a collision with Yankee catching prospect Norman Kies‚ 42-year-old Rabbit Maranville breaks his left leg sliding home on a double steal in an exhibition game against the Bombers. The Braves veteran is out for the season and will play just 23 games next year. He had broken his right leg in spring training of 1926. Meanwhile, Kies, who is only shaken up, will be released in a few days.
1927: In a final exhibition match between last year’s series opponents‚ the Yanks score 4 in the first off the Cards Grover Cleveland Alexander.
Then Old Pete shuts down the Yanks until leaving in the 8th‚ and the Cards
score 2 in the 9th to win 6-4. Both teams use their regular lineups‚ the
only clubs to make no starting changes from last year’s rosters.
1919: Vic Raschi is born.
On the 25th of March over the years…
2004: The Yankees ship infielder Mike Lamb to the Astros in exchange for pitcher Juan DeLeon. Lamb had originally been acquired to compete for the starting job at third base after Aaron Boone damaged his knee in a pickup basketball game, but became trade bait once Alex Rodriguez was signed.
1955: Lee Mazzilli, who spent one season with the Yankees before going on to serve with the team as a first base coach after his playing days, is born. Happy 56th, Mazz!
1937: Babe Ruth signs an endorsement deal with Quaker Oats worth $25,000 annually.
1920: In a spring training match between the Yankees and Dodgers‚ a sweeping inside curve ball by Brooklyn’s Jeff Pfeffer beans Chick Fewster, striking the Yankee shortstop behind the ear and flattening him. Fewster
revives 10 minutes later but soon loses the ability to speak. Taken to
the hospital with a skull fracture and a blood clot on the brain‚
Fewster will recover slowly and return to play in mid-season.
…and on the 26th:
2005: Robinson Cano is reassigned to minor league camp and appears destined for another year in AAA.
Marius Russo, pitcher for three Yankee championship teams in the late ’30s and early ’40s, dies at the age of 91.
1968: Jose Vizcaino is born. Happy 43rd to the man who delivered the game-winning hit in game 1 of the 2000 World Series!
1952: The Yankees sell future longtime MLB manager Gene Mauch to the Cardinals.
1951: In an exhibition game at USC‚ rookie sensation Mickey Mantle launches a homer that travels an estimated 660 feet. The shot clears Bovard
Field and then goes the width of a practice football field before
landing. the Mick has two homers‚ a bases loaded triple‚ and 7 RBI on the day as the Yanks flunk the Trojans 15-1.
1937: Joe DiMaggio tells the Sporting News that he is going to take Ty Cobb’s advice to use a 36- or
37-oz. bat rather than the 40-ouncer he had been swinging. Joe will hit .346
this year, and his 46 homers will be his highest season total in the bigs.
1936: Red Ruffing ends a holdout by signing with the Yankees for $12,000 this year.
1935: The Yankees acquire Pat Malone from the Cubs. Working out of the bullpen, the former Chicago ace will go 19-13 with 18 saves over the next three seasons, picking up three World Series rings in the process.
On the 23rd of March over the years…
2009: In what has become a regular rite of spring over the last few years, the Yankees reassign Kei Igawa to Minor League camp.
1974: The Yankees purchase outfielder Elliot Maddox from the Rangers for $60‚000. Maddox will prove to be a great defensive outfielder as well as hitting .303 over the ’74 campaign.
1972: The Yankee ownership agree in principle to continue playing in the Bronx.
Later this year, they will put it in writing by signing a
30-year lease contingent on renovations to be completed in time for
the 1976 season. Old-school Yankee fans point to this renovation as the
true end of the original ballpark, though younger fans point to the final
game in September 2008.
1952: Late ’30s Yankee pitcher Steve Sundra dies of cancer at the age of 41.
1944: George Scott, who played most of his career with the Red Sox and Brewers but finished his career with the ’79 Yankees as a free agent, is born. Happy 67th to the Boomer!
1941: Joe DiMaggio, a hold out and late arrival in spring training‚ plays his first Grapefruit League game.
…and on the 24th…
1996: The battle for the starting Yankee shortstop job in ’96 comes to an end when veteran Tony Fernandez fractures a bone in his right elbow in a game with the Astros. The injury gives Derek Jeter the
unexpected opportunity to start on a notoriously rookie-phobic Yankee team,
1983: Chad Gaudin is born. Happy 28th to a two-time Yankee who is now with the Nationals.
1937; Late ’60s Yankee backup catcher Bob Tillman is born. Tillman will be the player whom the Yanks give up in order to bring third baseman (and future iconic Braves manager) Bobby Cox from Atlanta to the Bronx.
1933: Babe Ruth signs his final Yankee contract. In an austerity move occasioned by the Depression times, he will take a considerable pay cut, agreeing to 2 years at $52,000 a year.
On the 21st of March down through the decades…
2009: The Yankees option six righthanders the Yankees to AAA, AA or Minor League camp. Anthony Claggett, Phil Hughes and Sergio Mitre will pitch the big-league team this year, while Steven jackson, Humberto Sanchez and Jason Johnson will not.
2001: The Yankees reobtain third base prospect Drew Henson‚ along with outfielder Michael Coleman, from the Reds for hot outfield prospect Wily Mo Pena and cash. Henson agrees to a 6-year $17 million dollar contract that
calls for him to leave the University of Michigan football program and
to bypass the NFL. The 21-year-old Henson‚ a QB‚ had been projected as a
#1 draft choice. Henson will break his hand in April and be out of
action till June 14.
1986: The Yankees announce that their most heralded off-season acquisition‚ 26-year-old pitcher Britt Burns‚ will not pitch at all this season because of a chronic deteriorating hip condition.
1936: Joe DiMaggio runs his spring training record to 12-for-20‚ in an 11-2 Yankee victory
over the Boston Braves. Before the next game is played‚ the
prize rookie is left unattended with his foot in a diathermy machine.
The resulting burn is severe enough to end his spring training and delay his ML debut
…and on the 22nd…
1992: George Steinbrenner’s son in law Joseph A. Molloy is elected a general partner in the yankee organization. Molloy will remain a prominent figure in the Bomber boardroom until his divorce from Jessica Steinbrenner in 1997.
At Sotheby’s in New York, a 1952 Topps card of Mickey Mantle is auctioned off for $49‚500‚ tripling the pre-auction estimate‚ while a baseball‚
signed by 12 players (including Babe Ruth) at the 1939 Hall of Fame induction ceremony‚ sells
1972: One of the greatest trades in Yankee history goes through, as New York send 1B/OF Danny Cater to the Red Sox for relief pitcher Sparky Lyle. In 7 seasons with the Yanks‚ Lyle will post a 57-40 record with 141 saves and a 2.41 ERA‚ win a Cy Young award‚ and help the team to 3 pennants and two Championships. The deal is completed when the Yanks toss in backup shortstop Mario Guerrero.
Also on this day, Cory Lidle is born. R.I.P.
1931: American League founder and first president Ban Johnson dies at the age of 67. Although his relationship with the Yankee ownership was sometimes strained over the years, Johnson spearheaded the effort to bring an American League team to New York to compete with the Giants, resulting in the Baltimore Orioles’ move to Gotham in 1903 to become the NY Highlanders.