The 2018 season will mark the 10th season at the new Yankee Stadium, a.k.a The House that Jeter Built or Yankee Stadium 3.0. Regardless of what you prefer to call it, a decade will soon pass on 161st Street and that means it’s time to reflect on some of the best moments in Yankee history at the new confines.
10. A-Rod homers for 3000 (06/19/2015)
I know anything involving Alex Rodriguez is controversial but history can’t be denied. I feel it is often forgotten that A-Rod homered for his 3000th hit. He is one of only three players to do so in MLB history, with Wade Boggs being the first to accomplish the feat. And the other? You’ve probably never heard of him.
9. Matt makes it a happy Holliday (04/28/2017)
Matt Holliday only spent one year in pinstripes, and for the most part it was very underwhelming. However, nobody can forgot the walk-off home run he hit in extra innings to complete a 14-11 comeback. Walk-off home runs aren’t the rarest of feats but this game really set the tone for the entire 2017 season. The team trailed 9-1 at one point and they slowly clawed back with Starlin Castro blasting a game-tying two-run shot in the ninth before Holliday sealed it in the 10th. It was the moment that many, myself included, said to themselves, “this team could really be special” and we were right.
8. The Baby Bombers make an entrance (08/13/2016)
During the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tyler Austin hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. Austin wasn’t the first player to accomplish this feat, nor was he even the first Yankee to do so (he was the 4th). History however, was waiting on deck. Our favorite large adult son Aaron Judge stepped up for his first career plate appearance and subsequently blasted a ball off of the restaurant eye in center field. This was the first time in the history of the game that two teammates had homered in their first career plate appearances in the same game, let alone back-to-back.
7. Hip Hip! (04/16/2009)
Jorge Posada launched the first long ball in the history of the new stadium and it was fitting that a Core Four member inaugurated the seats. What wasn’t fitting about this Opening Day is that the Yankees ultimately lost the game 10-2.
For fun: Yankees catchers accounted for both the first home run in the new stadium and the last home run in the old stadium. Can you name the latter?
6. Raul Ibañez leaves his mark (10/10/2012)
Like the aforementioned Matt Holliday, Raul Ibañez only spent one season in the Bronx. It was at the end of that one season, though, that he came up clutch. It was Game 3 of the 2012 ALDS against the Baltimore Orioles, and the Yankees trailed by one run in the bottom of the 9th with one out when Ibañez crushed a pinch-hit, game-tying homer to send the game into extras. He would remain in the game and come up again in the bottom of the 12th, and do it again. Prior to 2017 you could argue that this was the best postseason moment in the new stadium.
5. Bird is the word (10/08/2017)
Usually when a left-handed hitter goes up against Andrew Miller it’s game over. Don’t tell that to Greg Bird. Like Ibañez, Game 3 of the ALDS was when the magic happened. It was the bottom of the 7th in a 0-0 pitchers duel during an elimination game. The pressure was high and the stakes were even higher. It was at that moment when Bird turned on an Andrew Miller heater and sent one deep to right, piercing the hearts of every Cleveland fan in America. This was the turning point in the series that saw the Yankees come back from a 0-2 deficit to defeat the tribe and move on to the ALCS. I’m still not sure if this ball has landed.
4. Farewell, Sandman (09/26/2013)
2013 was an otherwise meaningless season for the Yankees with them finishing tied for 3rd in the East and posting their worst record since 1992. However, 2013 was the final season for legendary closer and future Hall of Famer Mariano Rivera. Mo was a vital member of the Core Four, and it was only fitting that his longtime teammates Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte took a trip to the mound in the ninth to bid him a proper farewell. I think I speak for all Yankee fans when I say that this was truly a heartwarming moment to behold. The Yankees may have lost that game, but watching Mo grace the mound for one last time was well worth the price of admission.
3. History, with an exclamation point (07/09/2011)
Derek Jeter had a magical way of accomplishing things, and his 3000th was no different. He entered a game against the Rays two hits shy of the elusive 3000 hit club, David Price was on the mound for Tampa Bay, so it was anyone’s guess as to whether or not Jeter could manage two hits against the tough southpaw. Why would anyone doubt Derek Jeter? I have no clue. Number 2 singled off of Price in the first to put him at 2,999 and then with a full count in the bottom of the third, he added to his fairytale with a moonshot to left-center. After taking us all out of our seats, Jeter casually went on to finish the day 5-for-5, no big deal.
2. The fairytale continues (09/25/2014)
2014 was not a great year, with underwhelming baseball and a plethora of forgettable Yankees. September 25th, though, is a day that will live on forever in Yankees history. Expectations were rightfully high for Jeter’s last game in Yankee Stadium, and it seemed like it would end with a stereotypical defensive replacement followed by a standing ovation when the Yankees entered the ninth inning with a 5-2 lead.
Then the baseball gods woke up and granted David Robertson with the greatest blown save of all-time. The Orioles tied the game, and just like that, Jeter was going to get another at-bat. The stage was set in the bottom of the ninth and the winning run on second. Jeter ended his career in Yankee Stadium by knocking in the run and ending the game on a walk-off. It was an amazing sight to see the captain come through one last time.
1. 27 (11/04/2009)
There were a lot of mixed emotions when the gates opened for the first time at the new Yankee Stadium. Some were excited, others sad, and many somewhere in between. The Boston Red Sox had won two World Series titles since the Yankees had last won and people were losing their patience. So what’s the best way to open the new stadium and please a disgruntled fanbase? Win it all, of course. Most of the moments above highlight individual performances or careers but when it comes to Yankees baseball, winning is by-and-large the most important thing. I was lucky enough to be in the left field seats when Mariano recorded the final out in Game 6, and it is something that I will never forget.
Expectations were high heading into the 2009, and they now may be at their highest since then. Here’s hoping the 2018 season gives us a few more memories.