Relics of Opening Days Gone By
Today’s the day! The only thing better then Opening Day across Baseball is Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. The Bronx buzzes once again with the sound of the crack of the bat, vendors plying their wares and the crowd roaring their approval. One of the most iconic images of this special day is the crisp, clean pinstripes standing against the green of the field. In my collection I have a few Game Used jerseys worn in these special games, for this article I have selected two from 2008-09 that I feel stand out and also mirror in a weird way with the 2013-14 Yankees.
Brian Bruney – RHP – Worn Opening Day 04.01.08
2008 ‘s Opening Day was a bittersweet farewell to the original house. Though it had gone through at least 3 variations in it’s 85 years of existence it was still always the place where generations of families came and made their own memories seeing the greats of the game. You could always point and say Ruth hit one over there, Gehrig made his speech right there, Mantle nearly hit the facade over there etc etc and now this season would be the last chance fans could honestly do that.
The day itself was a damp one. The game originally was supposed to take place the day before on the Monday but was rained out. However a strong performance by Chien-Ming Wang and a HR by Melky Cabrera in the 6th gave the Yankees their final Opening Day win in the House that Ruth Built and brightened the hearts of all Yankee fans expecting one final chance of October glory in those hallowed walls, an event that sadly would not occur.
Game used items from 2008 were very expensive. Demand was high not only from collectors but the players who wore the equipment. I have 3 jerseys from 08 (including the entire uniform Wilson Betemit wore in the last game of the season at Fenway) but my major goal at the time was to own a jersey worn on that final Opening Day. Bruney didn’t pitch that game, he only stood on the foul line during introductions and sat on the bench through 9 innings but to me the jersey is kind of magical. It was worn on that day, and that day only. Never again will a jersey be seen in a MLB game on that side of 161st Street.
Rob Thomson – 3B Coach – Worn Opening Day 04.18.09
Opening Day at the New Yankee Stadium in 09 was not pretty. It began positively enough, the sun was shining, there was a moving ceremony in which Jeter laid the bat the Babe had hit the first HR at the Old Stadium on home plate, but then it went wrong. Wrong to the tune of a 22-4 defeat by the Indians.
So why is this jersey special? Well bar from the fact it is part of my 09 Rob Thomson collection, this jersey was on the field constantly through the game. It was clearly seen when Mark Teixeira and Melky belted out the first Yankee home runs hit during a season at the new park. To me it’s apart of history, not the proudest piece of Yankees history but still a part of it none the less.
Okay okay, I hear you ask, what does this have to do with the 2013-14 Yankees? Well, in 08 the Yankees didn’t make the playoffs, the first time since the strike shortened season of 94, and we all know what happened in 2009. After the disappointing ending to the 2013 campaign, hopefully history will repeat it’s self in 2014 and give New Yorkers their 28th World Championship!
Have a wonderful Opening Day Yankee fans!