2017: An Early Holliday
Though he was only with the Yankees for one season, Matt Holliday reaches a milestone wearing their road greys. With the Yanks visiting the Orioles, Holliday steps up in the top of the first inning and singles off Kevin Gausman for the 2,000th hit of his career. A seven-time All-Star, Holliday became the 20th player in MLB history to record their 2,000th career hit as a Yankee and the first since Alfonso Soriano in 2013. The Yanks lost the game, 5-4.
2003: Grand Matsui
After his much-hyped signing out of Japan and six consecutive road games to begin his Major League career, Hideki Matsui plays in his first home opener as a Yankee. Facing Minnesota on a chilly Bronx afternoon, Matsui hits his first MLB home run, a grand slam off Joe Mays in the bottom of the fifth inning. His blast gives the Yanks a 7-1 lead and since they won the game, 7-3, his salami turned out to be the difference in the victory. It was the first of 140 regular season homers that Matsui hit over seven years in pinstripes.
1993: Baerga Batters the Bombers
In a 15-5 Yankees loss to the Indians in Cleveland, Tribe second baseman Carlos Baerga becomes the first player in MLB history to homer from both sides of the plate in the same inning. He accomplishes the feat in the bottom of the seventh. First, batting right-handed, he hits a two-run homer off Steve Howe. Then batting left-handed, he hits a solo shot off Steve Farr, with the second blast earning him a curtain call from the crowd in "The Land."
1986: Donnie Baseball's 500th hit
In a 4-2 Yankees win over the Royals at the Stadium, Don Mattingly records the 500th hit of his career, a single off Dan Quisenberry in the bottom of the eighth inning. The beloved captain and lifelong Yankee amassed 2,153 career hits.
1985: Niekro Opens in Boston
With the Yankees visiting the Red Sox on Opening Day, Hall of Famer Phil Niekro starts on the mound for the Yanks at the age of 46 years and 7 days. He remains the third-oldest Opening Day starting pitcher in MLB history behind Jack Quinn, who had two stints with the Yankees, and Charlie Hough. Niekro surrenders five runs over four innings at Fenway Park, taking the loss as the Yanks are defeated by the Sox, 9-2.
1975: Yankees Lose to A Trailblazer's Team
Visiting Cleveland, the Yankees provide the opposition for Frank Robinson as he becomes the first African-American manager in MLB history, serving as a player-manager for the Indians.
The Tribe beats the Yanks, 5-3, and Robinson -- as Cleveland's designated hitter -- homers in the victory, taking Doc Medich out for a solo homer in the bottom of the first inning. A little over five years before he would briefly pitch for the Yankees, Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry throws a complete game for the win.
1974: Ruth's Record Falls
The Great Bambino is knocked from his throne as baseball's all-time Home Run King. Hank Aaron passes Babe Ruth by hitting career home run No. 715 off the Dodgers' Al Downing, who broke into the Majors with the Yankees. Downing -- a one-time All-Star who later became fixture at Old-Timers' Day celebrations in the Bronx -- pitched in 208 regular season games and four postseason games for the Yanks from 1961 through 1969 before being traded to Oakland in December of 1969. Aaron would end his career with 755 home runs, a record that stood until Barry Bonds passed him in 2007. (Bonds ended with 762.)
1946: The Birth of Catfish
On a farm near Hertford, North Carolina, James Augustus Hunter is born. Given the nickname "Catfish" by A's owner Charlie Finley, Hunter signed with the Yankees prior to the 1975 season -- he'd been declared a free agent after Finley was unable to meet certain conditions in his contract with Oakland. The move was an important one in setting the stage for modern free agency in MLB and the right-hander left his mark on the Yankees too.
Following a decorated tenure with the A's, Hunter pitched for the Yanks from 1975-79, winning 23 games in his first season with the club and helping the Yankees win back-to-back World Championships in 1977 and 1978. Health woes led him to retire at the age of 33 following the 1979 season, and he was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1987. Hunter passed away at age 53 in 1999 after falling outside his home. He had also been battling Lou Gehrig's disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).