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This Day in Yankees History: Yankee Stadium III, Open for Business

MLB playoffs get a makeover, Bombers get revenge against the Red Sox, new Yankee Stadium hosts its first game.

Chicago Cubs v New York Yankees Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Welcome to the relaunched This Day in Yankees History! With the start of the 2020 season delayed for the foreseeable future, the Pinstripe Alley team decided to revive the program in a slightly different format. These daily posts will highlight a few key moments in Yankees history on a given date, as well as recognize players born on the day. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.

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This Day in Yankees History (April 3)

35 years ago:

This isn’t explicitly Yankees history, but it had a major impact on the team. On this day in 1985, MLB officially expanded the ALCS and NLCS to best-of-seven series, as opposed to the best-of-five they had been since 1969. The Yankees won four of the five Championship Series they played from 1969-1985 under the five-game format, but have been more mortal since going to a seven-game format, going 7-5 in ALCSs since then.

15 years ago:

Fresh off an embarrassing ALCS loss to the Red Sox, who pulled off a reverse sweep from down 3-0 in the series (why couldn’t that ALCS have been a best-of-five?), the Yankees turned the page emphatically on Opening Day 2005 with a 9-2 victory over the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. Randy Johnson made his Yankees debut and allowed just one run, while Hideki Matsui blasted a home run. The Yankees combined for 15 hits and did their best to leave 2004 behind.

11 years ago:

The new Yankee Stadium officially opened its doors 11 years ago today, with an exhibition game vs. the Chicago Cubs that the Yankees took 7-4. Chien-Ming Wang got the start, and the Bombers blasted three home runs in the contest. Everybody from Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada and Mariano Rivera to Shelley Duncan, Angel Berrora and Jonathan Albaladejo appeared in the game, which opened the doors to one of baseball’s best ballparks.

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Birthdays

There aren’t many Yankees birthdays today, but one-time pinch-running specialist Justin Christian turns 40 today. Christian played 24 games for the Yankees in 2008 and stole seven bases. He was even more of a speed demon in the minors, where he stole 216 bags for the Yankees’ affiliates in 255 tries, an incredible quantity and success rate. Christian is the Trenton Thunder’s all-time stolen base king. After 52 more games with the San Francisco Giants, Christian retired, and is currently the Deputy Sheriff in Santa Clara, California.

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We thank Baseball-Reference, Nationalpastime.com, and FanGraphs for providing background information for these posts.