Anticipation had been building all winter for Giancarlo Stanton's first plate appearance in a Yankees uniform, and it only took two pitches Thursday for Stanton to meet early expectations.
Stanton took an 0-1 fastball from Blue Jays starter J.A. Happ deep with some trademark force behind it - 117.3 mph, the hardest opposite-field blast measured over the first three-plus seasons of Statcast™ - to plate the Yankees' first two runs of 2018. It was as sterling a first at-bat as Stanton could imagine for his Yankees debut, but it wasn't the first time a Bronx Bomber has homered in his first trip up in pinstripes.
Below in reverse chronological order is the list Stanton joins as players who hit a dinger in their first at-bat with the Yankees,dating back to the beginning of MLB's Expansion Era in 1961.
Aaron Judge, Aug. 13, 2016
It's only fitting that Judge is the most recent name on this list, seeing as he and Stanton are linked as one of baseball's biggest storylines throughout 2018. Highly touted for his power in the Minors, Judge delivered straightaway in his MLB debut by launching a Statcast-projected 446-foot dinger to center at Yankee Stadium. Judge would go on to show there was plenty more power where that came from, capturing the club's starting right field job the following spring and hammering 52 homers in one of the most incredible rookie seasons ever recorded.
Tyler Austin, Aug. 13, 2016
We can't mention Judge's first blast, of course, without also highlighting Austin who hit his first MLB homer in his first plate appearance directly before Judge. That made Austin and Judge the first pair of teammates to hit home runs in their first big league at-bats in the same game, as well as the first pair to homer in their debuts at the same time.
Mark Reynolds, Aug. 16, 2013
Reynolds' debut with the Yankees was memorable in several ways. He homered in his first at-bat, a day after signing with New York, against the rival Red Sox. The longtime first baseman also made his first career start at second base that day after Robinson Cano and Eduardo Nunez both went down with injuries, making it through nine innings without an error.
Andruw Jones, April 5, 2011
Jones, a participant in two Braves-Yankees battles in the World Series, donned the Pinstripes for the first time in New York's fifth game of the 2011 season and made an immediate impact. Jones may have been past his prime at age 34, but the former perennial Gold Glover still slugged nearly .500 over 190 at-bats for the Yankees that year.
Curtis Granderson, April 4, 2010
A three-team mega-trade involving big names like Max Scherzer, Austin Jackson and Ian Kennedy landed the athletic Granderson in the Bronx, and Granderson won over fans in a hurry in the Yankees' opening day matchup against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. Granderson was much better for the Yankees the following season, placing fourth in American League MVP voting, but he set the tone early for his Pinstripes tenure.
Cody Ransom, Aug. 17, 2008
Ransom totaled just 30 homers over 11 seasons in the Majors, but one of his most memorable came in his debut at Yankee Stadium. Ransom would homer again five days later, making him the first player to homer in both his first and second at-bats as a Yankee. He also fielded the final out at Old Yankee Stadium as a first baseman in the team's home finale.
Wilson Betemit, Aug. 2, 2007
Arriving from the Dodgers as part of a Deadline trade for reliever Scott Proctor, Betemit filled in for shortstop Derek Jeter and hit a three-run homer in his first at-bat to draw a curtain call from the Yankee Stadium crowd. Now that's how you fill The Captain's shoes.
Nick Green, July 2, 2006
Green's Yankees tenure was brief - he appeared in just 46 games for New York in 2006 before moving on to Seattle - but he made his first start count. Green walked in his first plate appearance of a Subway Series tilt against the Mets, then smacked a two-run homer later in the same inning as part of an eight-run rally. Green also gunned down a runner at home plate with a relay throw, thoroughly impressing the Bronx crowd.
Andy Phillips, Sept. 26, 2004
Count Phillips among the five players who not only homered in their first at-bat for the Yankees, but also the first plate appearance of their Major League careers. With the Red Sox-Yankees rivalry at its peak, Phillips came in as a defensive replacement in the eighth and homered over the Green Monster off Boston reliever Terry Adams. In fact, Adams' pitch was the very first offering Phillips saw as big league hitter, though the Yankees still lost, 11-4.
Bubba Crosby, April 9, 2004
Crosby had arrived the previous summer via trade from the Dodgers, but didn't get his first at-bat in Pinstripes until the spring of 2004. Known more for his speed and defense as a Yankee, Crosby replaced Bernie Williams in center field in the top of the ninth and smacked a two-run dinger in the bottom half. The Yankees still dropped that game to the White Sox, 9-3.
Todd Zeile, April 2, 2003
Zeile was no stranger to team debuts, suiting up for 11 different teams over his 16 big league seasons. The utility man signed with the Yankees in the winter of 2002 and started at third base in the club's Opening Day matchup against the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. Batting second, Zeile hit a solo homer off Mark Hendrickson to plate the Yankees' first run of an AL pennant-winning season.
Marcus Thames, June 10, 2002
Thames carried dangerous power throughout his big league career, averaging a home run roughly once every 16 at-bats. That began in Thames' very first career plate appearance in the summer of 2002, when he homered off the very first pitch he saw from an in-his-prime Randy Johnson during a World Series rematch between the Yankees and D-backs. Thames would go on to serve as the Yankees' hitting coach.
Ron Coomer, April 6, 2002
A former All-Star, Coomer signed with the Yankees at age 35 and found himself on Joe Torre's lineup card at third base in the club's fifth game of the 2002 campaign. Coomer came up to the plate in the bottom of the second and lofted a solo shot off Devil Rays pitcher Wilson Alvarez to open the day's scoring.
Glenallen Hill, July 24, 2000
Hill earned his lone World Series ring as a designated hitter for the Yankees in 2000, but his Pinstripes tenure began with a second-inning blast off Orioles starter John Parrish. Hill's opening blast proved to be the difference in a 4-3 Yankees win.
Barry Foote, April 28, 1981
Long known for his work as a backup catcher in the NL, Foote came to the Bronx via trade from the Cubs and got hot immediately. Foote homered five times in his first seven games with the Yankees, including a third-inning blast against the Tigers in his first trip up to the plate for New York.
Jimmy Wynn, April 7, 1977
Nicknamed "The Toy Cannon" for the power that came out of his 5-foot-10, 160-pound frame, Wynn was purchased by the Yankees from the Braves in November 1976. The 1977 season would be Wynn's last as a Major Leaguer, and the pint-sized slugger started it off with a solo shot off Brewers starter Bill Travers.
Graig Nettles, April 6, 1973
Nettles' 11 years at third base are fondly remembered in the Bronx, and a heart and soul of some championship clubs kicked his Yankees tenure off in style in 1973. Acquired from the Indians as part of a six-player trade, Nettles homered off Red Sox ace Luis Tiant for the first of his 250 round-trippers in pinstripes.
John A. Miller, Sept. 11, 1966
Miller's biggest claim to fame is the fact that he homered in both his first and last at-bat as a Major Leaguer. They were also the only two homers he hit as a big leaguer. Miller started in left field against the Red Sox on this afternoon in 1966 and opened the scoring with a two-run, second inning blast off Lee Stange.