Yankees: 4 Best Opening Day Games in NYY History
By Ryan Doyle
A look back at the most memorable Opening Days in New York Yankees history.
Finally. New York Yankees Opening Day has finally arrived. The 2020 MLB season is set to be one of the most memorable campaigns in the sport’s history and it feels like the perfect time to look back on some of the most unforgettable Opening Day games in franchise history.
Mind you, this list focuses solely on Opening Day games and not home openers. So Hideki Matsui’s 2003 Grand Slam or Andy Pettitte’s 1996 start in the snow won’t be included. Sorry guys!
With such a storied history, there are plenty of moments to pick and choose from. Here are my picks for the four best opening day games in Yankees history.
4. April 9, 1981: Bobby Murcer’s pinch-hit grand slam
Murcer had one of his last great moments in pinstripes on Opening Day, 1981.
Bobby Murcer was one of the most beloved Yankees just before the Bronx Zoo and the Yankees success in the late ’70s began. He would return after the team’s championship days were over but still played a part in historic moments, including his walk-off following the funeral of fallen teammate Thurman Munson.
In 1981, Murcer was in the twilight of his career, suiting up as the designated hitter or as a pinch-hitter, but he had some magic left.
With the Yanks hanging on to a 6-3 lead in the bottom of the seventh, Murcer approached the plate with the bases juiced and sent one of his patented shots into the right field seats. He blew the game open and sent everyone home happy.
Although Murcer’s home run is what fans remember about Opening Day 1981, starter Tommy John, at the spry age of 38 went eight strong innings and the normally light-hitting shortstop Bucky Dent went 3-for-4 with a homer.