2017: Big-Time Big Mike
After starting the season with six road games, the Yankees play their home opener against the Rays. Michael Pineda turns in one of the best starts of his Yankees tenure, carrying a perfect game into the seventh inning -- Evan Longoria breaks it up with a two-out double. Ultimately, Pineda winds up throwing 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball and rolling up 11 strikeouts as the Yanks beat Tampa Bay, 8-1. Prior to the action, Joe Torre, Tino Martinez and Willie Randolph throw out ceremonial first pitches, three Yankees legends who helped lead Team USA to the 2017 World Baseball Classic Championship. This game also features the MLB debut of Kyle Higashioka, who completed a long journey to the bigs. A 2008 draftee whose career had been set back significantly by injuries, Higashioka entered this game off the bench on defense in the top of the ninth, catching Chasen Shreve as he got the final three outs.
2015: A Long Night for The Rivalry
The Yankees and Red Sox play a 19-inning marathon in the Bronx. In the bottom of the ninth, the Yanks trailed, 3-2, and were down to their last out when Chase Headley tied the game with a solo home run off Edward Mujica. The game would remain tied until the top of the 16th inning, when David Ortiz hit a solo home run off Esmil Rogers to give Boston a 4-3 lead. But in the bottom of the 16th, the Yanks tied the game immediately as Mark Teixeira led off by taking Steven Wright deep for a homer that evened the score at four. The Red Sox took another lead in the top of the 18th when Pablo Sandoval recorded an RBI single off Rogers, but again the Yanks responded. In the bottom of the 18th, Carlos Beltran tagged Wright for a game-tying RBI double. Boston took the lead for good in the top of the 19th when Mookie Betts brought home Xander Bogaerts with a sac fly off Rogers, and Wright finished things off in the bottom of the 19th, ending the 6-5 Boston win. Total time of game: 6 hours and 49 minutes, not including a 16-minute delay when a bank of lights failed during the action.
2012: No. 2 Sets A Record Batting First
Facing a pitcher making his MLB debut in Wei-Yin Chen, Derek Jeter leads off a game between the Yankees and Orioles at Camden Yards with a home run. It's Jeter's 25th career leadoff homer, breaking a tie with Rickey Henderson for the franchise record and giving Jeter the mark outright. He would end his career with 29 regular season lead-off homers (plus three in the postseason).
1998: A High-Scoring Home Opener
Starting to hit their stride on their way to a historic season, the Yankees win their home opener by outslugging the Athletics to win a game that ends, 17-13. It was also the Yankees' third straight victory following a meeting held while the team was in Seattle in which Joe Torre said he was disgusted with their play during a 1-4 start to the season. They won their last two games against the Mariners before coming home, where their 17 runs were the most scored in a home opener since the team defeated the Washington Senators, 19-1, on Opening Day 1955. Some additional notes from the game:
YES' own David Cone started for the Yanks and surrendered nine runs in 4 1/3 innings.
Seven years before he became a cult hero for the 2005 Yankees by going 10-0, Aaron Small gave up six runs (five earned) in one inning of relief out of the Oakland bullpen.
Despite the teams combining for 30 runs and 32 hits, there was only one home run hit by either team -- a three-run shot by Tino Martinez in the bottom of the third inning off Jimmy Haynes.
A few months ahead of his unforgettable power binge at the end of the season, Shane Spencer made his MLB debut pinch-hitting for designated hitter Darryl Strawberry in the bottom of the eighth ... but Spencer's plate appearance is cut short when Bernie Williams is picked off to end the inning.
1986: Yogi's Kid Caps a Comeback
The Yankees put together a nice come-from-behind victory in the Bronx against Kansas City. Down 5-0 entering the bottom of the fifth inning, they score four runs between the fifth and sixth innings off reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Bret Saberhagen. In the bottom of the ninth, Don Mattingly delivers a game-tying RBI single with two outs off Mark Huismann, scoring pinch-runner Henry Cotto to tie the game at five. In the 10th , Dale Berra comes through with a pinch-hit walk-off single off Alan Hargesheimer, driving in Mike Easler and giving the Yanks a 6-5 win.
1976: A Wild Ending in Wisconsin
The Yankees and Brewers have a wacky finish in Milwaukee, where the Yanks led, 9-6, entering the bottom of the ninth inning. With the bases loaded and nobody out, pitcher Dave Pagan was facing Brewers third baseman Don Money, and on the second pitch Money took Pagan's offering into the left-field seats for what appeared to be a grand slam that gave the Brew Crew a 10-9 walk-off win.
However, Yankees manager Billy Martin noticed his first baseman Chris Chambliss ask first base umpire Jim McKean for a time out while Pagan was just starting his windup. As the Brewers celebrated, Martin fumed and went off on McKean and the umpires, who eventually agreed with him. The umps called the teams back onto the field, Money's grand slam was wiped away, and Brewers manager Harvey Kuenn went ballistic. The crowd in attendance was equally upset, but play continued with Money back at the plate and the Brewers down 9-6 with the bases loaded. Pagan got him to fly out, and after a George Scott sac fly, Ken Brett came out of the Yankees bullpen and retired Darrell Porter to end the game, finishing a 9-7 Yankees win.
1962: An Eventful Opener
Though he would continue playing through the 1968 season, a solo home run by Mickey Mantle off the Orioles' Hal Brown in the bottom of the eighth inning on Opening Day would be the final Opening Day homer of his career. The Yanks were trailing, 6-5, at the time, so Mickey's drive tied the game at six in the Bronx. Elston Howard followed with a double off Brown, then Moose Skowron singled off Hoyt Wilhelm to drive in Howard with what would be the game-winning run in a 7-6 Yankees victory.
This game also featured the MLB debut of a popular figure in Yankees history: Joe Pepitone, who was used as a pinch-hitter for Whitey Ford in the bottom of the sixth inning. Though he did not appear in the 1962 World Series, Pepitone's 63 games with the Yankees that year make him a world champion. Joe Pep appeared in over 1,050 games for the Yanks from 1962-1969, making three All-Star teams and winning three Gold Gloves as a first baseman. The Yankees traded him to the Astros in December 1969 -- following his time with the Yanks, he'd play for Houston, the Cubs and the Braves in MLB. Additionally, Ralph Terry recorded the 500th strikeout of his MLB career in the game, setting down Earl Robinson in the top of the seventh inning after Terry replaced Whitey Ford. Across two stints with the Yanks, Terry recorded 615 of his 1,000 career strikeouts with the team.
1913: An Iconic Name Takes Root
The Yankees play their first ever game with "Yankees" as their official team name, a 2-1 road loss to the Washington Senators in which Hall of Famer Walter Johnson beat them and President Woodrow Wilson threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to action. While references to the team as the "Yankees" exist going back for nearly a decade prior, the club had been known by a variety of different names prior to 1913, with "Highlanders" being the most widely recognized of them.