Yankees’ 10 most memorable spring training moments

Yankees caps in different colors at George M. Steinbrenner Field, the venue for Yankees spring training.

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The Yankees are set to start their 2023 spring training in a few weeks. Fans are waiting to see them in action at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Here is a list of the top 10 most memorable moments of the Yankees’ spring training in the past years.

Aaron Judge’s 495-ft spring training homer, 2019

Aaron Judge hit a home run in his first at-bat of spring training 2019. This was a good sign that he was healthy again after an injury-plagued 2018 season. He was previously limited to just 112 games following a wrist injury and a partially torn UCL in his left elbow. This home run was a good sign that he was back to full strength and ready for the regular season.

It was a huge home run, estimated at 495 feet, that set a new record for the longest home run ever hit at George M. Steinbrenner Field, where the Yankees were playing that day. It was against Toronto’s right-hander T.J. Zeuch on March 25, 2019. The home run traveled far to hit a window on the building behind the left-center field wall.

Bernie Williams started as the center fielder, 1996

During their spring training in 1996, the Yankees chose Bernie Williams to be their starting center fielder. He kept that job for the next 14 years. Williams had already played for the Yankees for a few years, mostly as a backup outfielder and a “utility player.” But in 1996, the team decided to put him in center field as the starting player and he had a very good season. Williams had a batting average of .307, 21 home runs, 102 RBIs, and a slugging percentage of .406.

Williams was a key part of the team’s success in 1996 and the years that followed. He was a big reason why the Yankees won four World Series titles in the late 1990s.

Jeter’s first Yankees spring training, 1996

In 1996, Derek Jeter made his debut for the Yankees during their spring training. At the time, he was only 21 years old and had just been named the team’s starting shortstop for the next season. Jeter was thought to be one of the best baseball prospects, and the Yankees organization had high hopes for him. People were excited to see him play for the first time, and he did not let them down.

In his first game, Jeter went 2-for-3 with a double and an RBI. He went on to hit .314 in spring training, which made him the Yankees’ starting shortstop for sure. Jeter went on to have a Hall of Fame career with the Yankees, where he played from 1995 to 2014. During that time, he won five World Series titles and got many other awards.

Joe Torre took over Yankees spring training, 2000

Joe Torre’s first spring training as manager of the New York Yankees started in 2000. He had been in charge of the Cardinals and the Mets before taking over this team the year before. The first offer was to become the general manager, but he refused it.

Torre did a good job as manager of the Yankees. In his first six seasons, the team made the playoffs every year and won four World Series titles. He was the team’s manager until 2007. Torre was a top manager because he was a good leader and could handle the high-pressure, high-profile environment in the Bronx.

Stanton’s Yankees debut at spring training, 2018

Giancarlo Stanton went to his first Yankees spring training in 2018. In December 2017, the Yankees got him from the Marlins when he was the NL MVP and hit 59 home runs. He was thought to be one of the best power hitters in baseball, and the Yankees getting him was seen as a big win.

Stanton did well in his first year with the team. He hit 38 home runs, drove in 100 runs, and had a batting average of .266. He helped the team get to the ALDS, but the Boston Red Sox beat them there. Stanton has been a reliable player for the team, even though he has had some injuries. This has helped the team get to the playoffs in the next few years. He is a valuable player for the Yankees because of how hard he hits the ball and how well he plays defense.

Mariano Rivera’s retirement announced in 2013

On May 3, 2012, Mariano Rivera suffered a knee ligament injury that ultimately forced him to retire. But 13-time All-Star 13 and five-time World Series winner, joined the 2013 spring training. However, he announced his plans to retire after the season on March 9. The closer had the most saves and games finished in baseball history. Rivera was the first player in the history of baseball to be elected to the Hall of Fame with 100% of the vote.

Rodriguez came back to Yankees Spring Training, 2013

Alex Rodriguez came back to the Yankees roster in 2013 spring training after missing the whole 2012 season because of a hip injury and a suspension for using drugs to improve his performance. When he returned, there was skepticism because people weren’t sure if he would be able to play well. Even so, he played well during spring training and had a good season overall. In just 444 at-bats, he hit 18 home runs and drove in 57 runs.

Mark Teixeira’s debut at spring training, 2009

Mark Teixeira went to the Yankees’ spring training for the first time in 2009. He became the Yankees’ first baseman after signing an 8-year, $180 million contract with the team. During his career, he was an All-Star three times, won two Gold Gloves, and got a Silver Slugger. From 2009 to 2016, he played for the New York Yankees. In 2009, he helped the team win the World Series.

In his first year with the team, he also hit 39 home runs, which was a record for a switch-hitter. During his time with the New York Yankees, Teixeira was an important part of the team’s lineup and helped them win a lot.

Sabathia signed a big contract extension, 2011

During spring training in 2011, the Yankees and CC Sabathia agreed to a huge contract extension. The contract was worth $122 million over five years, and there was an optional clause for a sixth year. The team made a big commitment by signing the contract and this cemented Sabathia’s place as a top pitcher for the team.

Sabathia had had his first season with the Yankees in 2009. He went 19-8, had an earned run average of 3.37, and won the World Series, which made him the World Series MVP. He had a good run with the team, helping them make the playoffs in all but one of the years he was there and getting picked for the All-Star team more than once.

Jeter’s surprise decision to quit baseball at spring training, 2014

On February 12, 2014, during spring training, Derek Jeter said he was leaving baseball. In a letter to fans, he told them that the 2014 season would be his last and that he wanted to leave on his own terms. Many people were surprised since Jeter had been an important player for the Yankees for a long time and hadn’t shown any signs of slowing down.

Fans, teammates, opponents, and the media all liked Jeter’s decision to leave the team. People thought he was one of the most famous players of his time and one of the best Yankees ever. He was a 14-time All-Star, won the World Series five times, and was the Yankees’ all-time leader in hits. He also won five Gold Gloves and five Silver Sluggers. In 1996, he was the Rookie of the Year in the American League. On September 28, 2014, Derek Jeter played his last game. It was a great way to end a great career. He got 99.7% of the votes to get into the Hall of Fame in 2020.

Do you have any other moment to add? Let’s know in the comments.

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