2006: Gary Sheffield smacks home run No. 450
In a 9-4 Yankees' loss to the Athletics in Oakland, Gary Sheffield hits the 450th home run of his career. It's a three-run shot off Dan Haren in the top of the third inning. He became the fourth player in MLB history to hit their 450th homer as a Yankee, joining Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, and Mickey Mantle. Alex Rodriguez would become the fifth later in the '06 season. Sheffield ended up with 509 homers in his career.
2005: Derek Jeter walks it off
Derek Jeter broke a 3-3 tie in the Bronx when he took Boston's Keith Foulke deep to lead off the bottom of the ninth, giving the Yankees a 4-3 walk-off win over the Red Sox. It was Jeter's only regular-season walk-off home run and one of nine regular-season walk-off plate appearances he had in his Hall of Fame career (six singles, one HR, one walk, and one fielder's choice). He, of course, had one famous postseason walk-off, and it was a homer - his "Mr. November" blast that ended Game Four of the 2001 World Series against the Diamondbacks.
2002: Andy Pettitte records career strikeout No. 1,000
Facing Tampa Bay in the Yankees' home opener, Andy Pettitte ended the top of the first inning by striking out Steve Cox - the 1,000th K of Pettitte's career. He would throw six shutout innings to earn the victory, as the Yanks beat Tampa 4-0. Steve Karsay and Randy Choate finished the shutout behind Pettitte. Prior to action, Yogi Berra, Phil Rizzuto, and Rudy Giuliani raised the Yanks' 2001 American League Championship banner. YES' own David Cone - who was unsigned at the time and did not pitch in MLB in '02 - reportedly sat in the bleachers with fans.
1999: Yankees sign Darryl Strawberry
The Yankees signed free agent Darryl Strawberry, marking the fourth time in recent years that the Yanks signed him. At the time of this deal, the Yankees weren't sure if he'd be able to play in the '99 season, for he had been told in October 1998 that he had colon cancer. He was arrested in mid-April on charges of cocaine possession and solicitation of a prostitute. MLB suspended him for this, but he returned to the club later in the season - from September 2 through the end of the regular season, Strawberry hit .327 over 66 plate appearances, then went 5-for-15 with two HR over seven postseason games played, helping the Yanks win their third World Championship in four seasons. Strawberry would not play in MLB again after '99.
1993: Jimmy Key makes Yankees debut
Widely credited with being a player whose signing as a free agent helped make the Bronx a destination again and someone whose arrival signaled the start of a culture shift, Jimmy Key looks great in his Yankees debut. Making the Opening Day start in Cleveland, Key threw eight innings of one-run ball to earn the win while the Yanks' offense battered Tribe starter Charles Nagy on the way to a 9-1 victory. As part of the onslaught, YES' own Paul O'Neill went 2-for-5 with a run scored in his Yankees debut.
1982: Bobby Murcer returns to the Yankees
The Yankees re-signed free agent Bobby Murcer. The fan favorite's career was winding down - after hitting .265 over 50 games for the Yanks in 1981, he only hit .227 over 65 games in 1982. In 1983, he only appeared in nine games before moving to the broadcast booth, retiring to make room on the roster for another player who would become beloved in the Bronx: Don Mattingly.
1977: Yankees acquire Bucky Dent
Two days before they start their season, the Yankees acquired Bucky Dent from the White Sox in exchange for Oscar Gamble, pitcher LaMarr Hoyt, minor leaguer Bob Polinski, and cash. Defined by his crucial three-run homer in the 1978 one-game AL East playoff against Boston, Dent played for the Yanks from '77 until he was traded to the Rangers in August of 1982. As a Yankee, Dent won back-to-back World Championships in '77 and '78 - he won the World Series MVP Award in '78. He was also an American League All-Star in 1980 and 1981, accounting for two of his three career All-Star nods (also 1975 with the White Sox). Dent also spent 89 games as the manager of the Yankees between the 1989 and 1990 seasons.
1913: First game at Ebbets Field
Though it doesn't count in the standings, the Yankees took part in the first game ever played at Ebbets Field - an exhibition against the Brooklyn Dodgers. Long before he became a Yankees legend as a manager, Casey Stengel - while playing for the Dodgers - hit the first home run at the historic venue, an inside-the-parker. The Dodgers win the game 3-2.