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Today in New York Weather History: April 17

Weather Conditions During New York Yankees Home Openers (1970 - 2021)

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This post combines my two loves - weather and baseball.  Because the Yankees, for the most part, start their season in the first half of April, chances are good the game will be played in brisk conditions.  Looking back at Yankees home openers played since 1970, game day temperatures have averaged in the mid-50s - but they've ranged from the mid-30s to mid-70s (including 74° in 2017).  Opening Day in 1982 was postponed because of a blizzard that dumped nearly 10 inches of snow on the City; the home openers in 2003 and 2018 were also "snowed out"; 1998's and 2016's home openers were rained out; and the game in 1999 was called after 7 innings because of rain. 

Comparing home opener weather conditions of the Yankees and Mets, the Yankees take it on the chin.  Using a 1-10 rating scale (where 1 is a strikeout and 10 is a grand slam), Yankees games have averaged a 5.1 versus the Mets 5.8.  They've had eight games that rated a 9 or 10 (eight) and ten that rated only a 1 or 2.  This is very similar to the Mets record in those weather categories.  Temperature-wise, the Yankees home openers were warmest in the '70s and 80's, around 60°, but were six degrees cooler in the following three decades.

Now that the warm-ups are over, let's "play ball"! 

 

1970 (April 7) - Skies were partly cloudy and temperature in the mid-50s at game-time.  After falling behind Boston 4-0, the Yankees scored in the bottom of the 6th, but that would be the end of the scoring for either team as the Yanks lost their third Opening Day game in a row to the Red Sox.  Weather Rating: 6 

1971 (April 13) -  Sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60s greeted fans and the Yanks responded with a 5-2 win over the Tigers.  This was in contrast to the Mets home opener played in rain and snow one week earlier and was called after five innings. Rating: 9  

1972 (April 18) - This year's home opener was a carbon copy of last year's, with sunny skies and temperatures in the upper 60s.  And like last year the Yanks won, shutting out Milwaukee 2-0.  Despite the great weather only 11,319 were in attendance.  Rating: 9

1973 (April 9) - Skies were clear and the temperature in the mid-50s when the first pitch was thrown, but by the time the game ended the temperature had fallen into the upper 40s.  Besides the mercury, the Yankees also fell as they were beat by the Indians, 3-1.  Rating: 6

1974 (April 6) - The Yankees' home opener was played in cold and overcast conditions, with afternoon temperatures falling into the low 40s.  Happily, the Yankees provided some sunshine as they defeated Cleveland 6-1, with Mel Stottlemyre pitching a complete game.  Rating: 2

1975 (April 11) - It was sunny, but chillier than average, with afternoon temperatures in the mid-50s (however, it was milder than the Mets' home opener three days earlier which had temperatures in the upper 40s).  Like the Mets, the Yankees also opened at Shea Stadium, where the team would play the entire season while Yankee Stadium underwent renovation.  And while the Yanks had a 3-2 lead after the first inning, they scored no more runs and lost to Detroit, 5-3.  Rating: 6

1976 (April 15) It was a stunning day for the Yankees' return to a renovated Yankee Stadium as skies were sunny and afternoon temperatures warmed to 76°, sixteen above average.  And after an opening ceremony that included Joe DiMaggio, Mickey Mantle, Whitey Ford, Don Larsen and the widows of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, the Yankees continued the upbeat energy by coming from behind and rolling over the Twins, 11-4 (the most runs scored on Opening Day since a 19-1 destruction of the Senators in 1955).  Rating: 10

 

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1977 (April 7) - Conditions were very chilly.  After a morning low of 31°, the game was played with temperatures in the mid-40s.  At least skies were sunny - and the Yankees, behind Catfish Hunter and Sparky Lyle, shut out the Brewers, 3-0.  Rating: 4

1978 (April 13) - It was a beautiful day for a baseball game as skies were sunny and the temperature rose into the mid-70s.  And on the strength of Reggie Jackson's 3-run HR in the first inning the Yankees defeated the White Sox, 4-2.  Rating: 10

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1979 (April 10) - Cooler than average temperatures (53°) but sunny skies greeted the Yankees as they received their World Series rings before the game.  Then they lost a quickly played game (2:02) to Milwaukee, 5-1.  Rating: 5   

1980 (April 18) - A very pleasant day for a ballgame, sunny and 65°, but for the first time since the mid-1960s the Yankees lost back-to-back home openers.  And like last year it was to Milwaukee, this time by a score of 3-2.  Rating: 8

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1981 (April 9) - Today's delightful high of 75° was seventeen degrees above average.  Although some light showers moved through between 2-4PM, amounting to 0.05", it didn't prevent the Yankees from easily beating the Rangers 10-3.  Rating: 8

 

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1982 (April 11) - Originally scheduled for April 6, the home opener had to be postponed because of a blizzard that dumped ten inches of snow.  The rescheduled game was played today, Easter Sunday, at 5 PM with temperatures in the lower 50s.  The Yankees lost to the White Sox in 12 innings, 7-6.  Only 31,000 were in attendance.  Rating: 1 (based on original home opener date)

1983 (April 12) - The Yanks were thrashed by the Tigers 13-2 on a day with close to seasonable temperatures (upper 50s).  This was the most runs ever given up by the Yankees during a home opener.  Rating: 5 

1984 (April 10) - After a chilly start (35°, seven degrees below average) the afternoon high rebounded into the upper 50s.  And on the ball field the Yankees beat Minnesota 4-1.  Rating: 5

1985 (April 16) - What a glorious day for baseball as the high reached 75° and the Yankees beat the White Sox on a walk-off home run by Don Baylor in the bottom of the 9th inning.  Rating: 10

 

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1986 (April 8) - After showers at daybreak the sun came out and for the second year in a row the temperature at game time was 75°.  And like last year the Yankees won.  Rating: 10

1987 (April 13) - After early showers between 6-9 AM the rest of the day was gray and chilly, with a game time temperature in the low 50s.  This came after three days of 70-degree temperatures.  Happily, the Yankee bats were hot as they rolled over the Indians. 11-3.  Rating: 3

1988 (April 5) - Under sunny skies the high reached 73° (mildest reading of the month), the last Opening Day with temperatures in the 70s until 2017.  This added to the pleasure of Rick Rhoden's 3-hit, 8-0 shutout over the Twins.  (The Yankees won every home opener this decade when the temperature was in the 70s.)  Rating: 10

 

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1989 (April 7) - Morning sunshine gave way to overcast skies by mid-afternoon but the game was over before rain moved in during the evening.  The temperature was a chilly 50° when the first pitch was thrown.  As for the game, the Yankees scored two runs in the bottom of the 9th inning for their only runs but it wasn't enough as Cleveland, which scored three runs in the 1st inning, hung to win 4-2.  Rating: 3

 

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1990 (April 12) - Brisk conditions with a cooler than average high of 54° under partly cloudy skies.  The Yankees broke a 4-4 tie in the eighth inning to beat the Indians.  Rating: 4 

1991 (April 15) - A miserable day all around as the Yankees lost 6-5 to the White Sox in a steady, light rain and temperatures hovered around 50°, well below average.  Quite a contrast from the Mets' home opener last week when the temperature flirted with 90°.  Rating: 1

 

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1992 (April 7) - The Yankees beat the Red Sox (and Roger Clemens) on a pleasant day with an afternoon high of 60°.  A light cloud cover kept the temperature from getting even warmer.  Rating: 6

1993 (April 12) - The Yankees' Jim Abbott pitched a complete game win over Kansas City in slightly cooler than average conditions (high of 55°) under overcast skies.  Rating: 4 

1994 (April 4) - Under clear skies and temperatures slightly milder than average (60° degrees) the Yankees beat Texas, 5-3.  Rating: 7

1995 (April 26) - With a game time temperature of 68° this was the mildest Opening Day in seven years.  This was also the Yankees latest home opener since 1903 (a result of the players strike which started in August 1994 and wasn't settled until April 2).  As for the game, the Yankees held on to beat the Rangers, 8-6.  Rating: 8

1996 (April 9) - Hard to believe that today's home opener wasn't postponed as the temperature was in the mid-30s and wet snow fell throughout the game.  (This was a week after the Yankees' season opener in Cleveland was snowed out.)  Since the air temperature remained above freezing very little of the snow accumulated (0.3" was measured in Central Park).  Happily, the Yankees beat KC, 7-3.  Rating: 1

 

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1997 (April 11) - On a sunny and quite chilly day, with the afternoon temperature about ten degrees colder than average (upper 40s), the reigning World Champions took a 1-0 lead into the 9th but ended up losing to the A's in 12 innings.  Rating: 3

1998 (April 10) - It was sunny with seasonable temperatures but the field was soggy the day after 2.15" of rain fell (ending early this morning).  And it was a home opener for the ages as the Yankees came from behind a number of times before finally prevailing over Oakland by a score of 17-13.  Rating: 6

1999 (April 9) - 0.39" of rain fell between noon and 7 PM and the game was called after 7 innings with the Yankees in the lead 12-3.  Not only was it rainy but cold as the temperature fell all day. By game time it was down into the mid-40s - quite a change from yesterday's 80-degree weather.  Rating: 1

 

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2000 (April 12) - Sunny and breezy, with a chilly high of only 50°, nine degrees colder than average. This kept the attendance (48,487) down from the usual sell-out.  After the Yankees received their World Series rings in a pre-game ceremony they then went onto the field and, in a see-saw battle, defeated the Rangers, 8-6.  Rating: 4

2001 (April 2) - Very similar to Opening Day last season, the high was a chilly 49° under mostly overcast skies.  And like last season the World Champions won the game.  And in the course of pitching a complete game Roger Clemens became the American League's all-time leader in strikeouts in the 9th inning.  Rating: 3

2002 (April 5) - For the third season in a row, Opening Day was very chilly, with a high of only 45°, twelve degrees colder than average.  Tampa Bay's bats were chilly as well as they managed just three hits and were shut out 4-0.  Rating: 3 

2003 (April 8) - After a four-inch snowfall postponed yesterday's home opener, today was played in cold conditions, tying the snowy game of 1996 as the coldest home opener in the among those since 1970.  The temperature at game time was just 35°, twenty-three degrees below average, and more typical of mid-winter.  Happily, the Yankees' new Japanese acquisition Hideki Matsui hit a grand slam to help them beat the Twins, but only 33,000 were in attendance (compared to a usual 55,000+ sell out).  Rating: 1 

 

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2004 (April 8) - After a sunny morning clouds rolled in quickly and some showers popped up in the afternoon.  Temperature at game time as 54°, thirteen degrees cooler than yesterday, and four degrees below average.  The Yankees got two runs in the first inning and they held up as they beat the White Sox, 3-1.  Rating: 3

2005 (April 3) - After high winds and rain the day before, today's weather was more tranquil but chilly (high of 50°), damp and gray.  (This was the seventh year in a row that the home opener was played in less than optimal conditions.)  After suffering a historic collapse to them during last season's playoffs the Yankees rolled over the World Champion Red Sox, 10-3.  Rating: 3  

2006 (April 11) - With a game time temperature of 68°, this was the mildest home opener in eleven years.  The Yankees celebrated by setting a team record with their ninth Opening Day victory in a row, breaking the previous record from the 1920s.  And they did it by coming from behind with a 5-run eighth inning against Kansas City.  (The Yanks are 5-0 against KC in home openers.)  Rating: 9

 

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2007 (April 2) - Gray skies cleared shortly before game time but a persistent fog never lifted completely.  And temperatures didn't rise into the upper 60s as predicted as the warm front stalled to our south.  As for the game, the Yankees beat Tampa Bay 9-5 in the first of just two starts this season by pitching bust Carl Pavano.  Rating: 5     

2008 (April 1) - The day following yesterday's postponed home opener the game-time temperature was 67° (eleven degrees above average) and skies were mostly overcast as the Yankees won their eleventh home opener in a row.  (As in 1982 the rating for this year's home opener is based on the original game date; since it was a rainout, the rating is 1.) 

2009 (April 16) - The Yankees played their first regular season game in the new Yankee Stadium and lost, their first loss on Opening Day since 1997.  They lost to Cleveland, 10-2, after giving up nine runs in the 7th inning.  The game was played in slightly milder than average temperatures (64°).  Rating: 7

 

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2010 (April 13) - Gray skies, a few sprinkles, chillier than average temperatures (56°).  It looked to be an easy W for the Yankees until former Yankee Bobby Abreu made it interesting when he hit a grand slam in the 9th inning, but the Yanks prevailed over the Angels, 7-5.  Rating: 4

2011 (March 31) - This was the earliest date for a Yankees home opener and it was played in raw and damp conditions.  The high was only 43°, twelve degrees colder than average.  After morning showers, no rain fell during the game, but showers resumed in the evening.  The Yanks beat the Tigers 6-3.  (By contrast, the first time the Mets played on this date, in 1998, the temperature soared to a record high 86°.)  Rating: 2

 

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2012 (April 13) - Despite it being Friday the 13th, skies were clear, temperatures pleasant (mid-60s) and the Yankees were winners as they beat the Angels 5-0.  The last time the Yankees won a home-opener shutout was ten years ago.  Rating: 7  

2013 (April 1) - It was fortuitous scheduling, weatherwise, as the game time temperature of 62° was, at the time, the mildest reading of the year.  Unfortunately, the outcome of the game, a loss to the Red Sox, somewhat negated the mild weather (which came to an end later in the day when a cold front moved through).  Rating: 8

2014 (April 7) - Morning sunshine dimmed by mid-day and rain moved in late in the afternoon, but it held off until the game had ended (the Yanks beat the Orioles 4-2).  The game was played under overcast skies with temperatures in the chilly low 50s.  Rating: 4

2015 (April 16) - Under clear skies the high reached 64°, five degrees above average.  Unfortunately, the Yankees didn't hold up their end of the bargain as they lost to Toronto, 6-1.  Rating: 8  

2016 (April 5) - After being rained out yesterday (the third Opening Day rain-out since 1970), the Yankees played their rescheduled home opener today in the chilliest conditions since Opening Day 2003.  After a low of 26° (the coldest reading in April since 1995) the game time temperature, under clear skies, was only in the upper 30s (with a wind chill in the upper 20s).  As for the game, after an early 2-0 lead, the Yankees lost to Houston 5-3, the same team that beat them in last season's Wildcard Playoff.  (Rating, based on yesterday's rainout: 1). 

2017 (April 10) - Under sunny skies the temperature rose into the 70s on Opening Day for the first time since 1988 (the high reached 74°).  And the cherry on top was an easy Yankees win over Tampa Bay by a score of 8-1, highlighted by starting pitcher Michael Pineda retiring the first 20 batters he faced.  Rating: 10

2018 (April 3) - After yesterday's home opener was postponed due to a morning snowstorm that dumped 5.5" of snow (the first "snowout" of a home opener since 2003), today's rescheduled game wasn't played in great conditions either as it was foggy, drizzly and cold (low 40s) throughout the game against Tampa Bay, which the Yankees won 11-4 on the strength of Didi Gregorious's two home runs and eight RBI.  (Rating, based on yesterday's conditions: 1).

 

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2019 (March 28) - Temperatures were seasonable for the earliest scheduled home opener in the history of the Yankees, but fans may have felt that readings in the low-50s was more ideal for a football game.  Skies were sunny, but then turned lightly overcast after the game against Baltimore ended (which the Yankees won 7-2).  Rating: 5   

2020 (July 31) - The much delayed home opener (due the COVID-19 crisis) was played this evening under fair skies.  Temperatures were in the upper 70s, making this the mildest conditions for a home-opener in the period analyzed (springtime home openers were played with temperatures in the mid-70s in 1976, 1978, 1981, 1985 and 1986).  The Yankees brought cheers from the fans watching at home as they beat rival Boston 5-1.  Rating: 10  

2021 (April 1) - Temperatures were in the chilly 44°-50° range during the game, made even chillier by blustery conditions, as winds gusted between 25-30 mph.  The only positive aspect of the day (the Yankees lost to Toronto in 10 innings) was that the sun began to break through the overcast skies during the second half of the game.  Rating: 4

 

 

 

 

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