Yankees: 4 Best Opening Day Games in NYY History
By Ryan Doyle
3. April 2, 1996: Jeter Introduces Himself
Derek Jeter began his Hall of Fame journey with a great performance on his first Opening Day.
From one fan favorite who donned the number two, to another.
After a cup of coffee in the Major Leagues in 1995, Derek Jeter suited up for his first Opening Day in the frigid conditions of Cleveland. Perhaps you might remember, the first game of the season was scheduled for the day before but snow led to a cancellation.
What you definitely will remember about the first game of the 1996 campaign was a young shortstop named Derek Jeter. The rookie made his impression felt on a team set to embark on its first championship journey in 18 years.
To kick off the 1996 campaign, Jeter crushed his first career home run off veteran Dennis Martinez, who was fresh off his final All-Star campaign in 1995. Later, Jeter would make a spectacular play, ranging to the outfield to steal a hit from Omar Vizquel and keep David Cone’s shutout bid intact.
Whenever a Jeter highlight package rolls, his World Series wins and postseason heroics litter the screen. But his two plays from his 1996 Opening Day are always included.
New York would cruise to a 7-1 win thanks to a beautiful performance from Cone (7 IP, 2 H, 0 ER), Jeter’s all-around performance, and a 3-for-4 day from the Warrior, Paul O’Neill.