Mandatory Credit: thedeadballera.com
Number Two: Jack Chesbro.
In 1903, Chesbro joined the Highlanders and instantly became the staff ace. He won three of four opening day decisions in all. Unconfirmed reports credit him with being the first Yankee to throw a spitball. He also was one of the first Yankees to experiment with a floater. Chesbro won 14 straight decisions which was the team record until Roger Clemens broke it in 2001. He also held the team single season strike out record with 239, until Ron Guidry eclipsed that in 1978.
Highlanders manager Clark Griffith said Chesbro knew where to turn when things looked bleak.”I still remember the first day he threw the thing (the spitter) in a regular game, Griffith said according to Baseballhall.org. We were playing Cleveland. He had a tough first inning. They hit him for three runs. He came back to the bench and said, ‘Griff, I haven’t got my natural stuff today. I’m going to have to give ‘em the spitter next inning, if it’s alright with you.’ I told him to go do and you know what? He fanned fourteen. They didn’t get another run and we won the game 4-3. ”
His 3-1 opening day record for the Yankees earns him second place in our ranking.