Chances are, if you live on either coast of this country, you have been hit by some amount of snow in the last 48 hours. Heavy snowfall is expected in the Pacific Northwest, upstate New York, and much of the East Coast. The Carolinas are supposed to be getting a huge storm, extending through much of the south, and has already touched as far inland as Texas. Here in Brooklyn, we had a light dusting of snow on Thursday night, but even more snow is expected to fall in New York City this weekend.
What does this have to do with baseball?
While the Yankees are off through most of the worst weather of the year one could possibly be asked to work in, it has not prevented them from playing in snow in the past. Since the MLB season typically starts in the beginning of April these days (sometimes even late March), there are times where the spring forgets to arrive and we get a little snow while we’re supposed to be enjoying the summer sport of baseball.
Snow has stopped them from playing on more than one occasion. In 1982, the Yankees home opener was postponed after the Bronx was hit by a blizzard that deposited 10 inches of snow. In 1996, the the season opener in Cleveland was snowed out. They also just narrowly missed postponing 2003 Opening Day when four inches of snow fell the day before. There were also a few games where they weren’t as lucky, and as a result, the Yankees had to play right on through snow flurries. This is where I have been going with all this, these are the games where the Yankees actually had to play through the snow.
April 9, 1996
When it comes to baseball games played in the snow, this is the game most Yankees fans remember. The team started their World Series Championship season off on a rather bizarre foot. The game time temperature was 38 degrees, but you can see it gets even colder from there. Right from the beginning, you can see Andy Pettitte struggle to keep his hand warm and how visible everyone’s breath is.
Despite the cold weather, Pettitte pitched well. He threw 6.1 innings, allowing three runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out six. In typical Pettitte fashion, there was also a pickoff mixed in there—of Johnny Damon, no less!—just as the snow picked up in a whirlwind. Hitting in the cleanup spot, Jim Leyritz collected three hits, a walk, and two RBI. Derek Jeter actually batted ninth in this game, if you can believe that such a thing was ever allowed.
April 5, 2007
Fast forward a few years, and we have snow again. After spending three seasons with the Houston Astros. Andy Pettitte returned to the Bronx, making his first start back on April 5th. The game time temperature was 38 degrees, but it would soon drop below freezing on this day, as you can see in the picture of B.J. Upton below.
The 34-year-old Pettitte had more trouble than his younger self, though, as the returning hero took a tough-luck loss that day. He allowed two runs on six hits and three walks in just four innings of work. An error by Doug Mientkiewicz and a wild pitch led to two additional runs in the fifth inning to tie the game and eventually lead to a 7-6 loss. This game featured three-hit nights from both Derek Jeter and Jorge Posada. It also featured the pitching of one Scott Proctor, who allowed two runs on three hits. Typical.
April 11, 2012
In the first inning of this contest between the Yankees and the Orioles, both teams were met with some fierce weather. The game time temperature says 53 degrees, but I don’t think that can be right when the contest literally began with a shower of snow.
Curtis Granderson hit a two-run home run just minutes after the above picture was taken. The game was able to be played, and it went into the 10th inning before the Yankees finally took control on a Nick Swisher home run. By the end of it they had been playing for nearly four hours.
April 22, 2015
This was the most recent game the Yankees had to play in the snow, and it was by far the most fun. We started off with 38 degrees at first pitch with 15 mph gusts of wind. Despite these already less than ideal playing conditions, the skies opened up in the middle of the first inning while the Yankees were already teeing off on David Price, like they do so well.
To lead off the game, we saw HBP, single, strikeout, and a walk to get the bases loaded. Brian McCann knocked in a run, Chase Headley knocked in a run, and then Gregorio Petit—of all people—doubled off the left field wall to clear the bases. It was the middle of a snow flurry and the Yankees had a 6-0 lead. It ended up being a great night as every starter logged at least one hit.
As we can see, the Yankees have done pretty well for themselves while playing in snowy conditions. Who knows if the two factors are related, but maybe they will be for you. Stay warm out there and be careful.