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Top Nine Yankees Opening Day Starts Leaders

April 1 will be the 101st Opening Day for the New York Yankees (and 113th for the franchise overall), and over that century-plus, more than 350 pitchers and position players have had the honor of being in the starting lineup for Game 1.

Robinson Cano will make his eighth straight Opening Day start on April 1, and CC Sabathia his fifth ... yet neither is even close to the lead in that category at their respective positions. Below, listed in order of scorecard position, is the group of men who hold that sub-set honor: those with the most Opening Day starts at one position in Yankees history. Since DH is technically position 0 and thus not in this Niner, we'll tell you that Nick Johnson, Ruben Sierra and Don Baylor share the lead there with three starts apiece ... and we'll also tell you that you probably shouldn't be surprised when you see who the all-time overall leader is.

  • BAUER HOUR
    Right field's all-time leader is Hank Bauer (1950, 1953-59), a career .277 hitter who also started in left field in 1949 and 1952. Fun fact: Paul O'Neill (1994, 1996-2001) is second with seven right field starts, and would have the lead had he himself not manned left in 1993 and 1995.
  • TAKING THE MANTLE
    Many greats have patrolled center field over the years, but it should be no shock that the leader is Mickey Mantle with 13 (1953-64, 1966). Mantle actually physically started all 18 of his Opening Days in pinstripes, also manning right field (1951-52), left field (1965) and first base (1967-68).
  • LEFT OR WHITE
    The legendary Babe Ruth made 13 Opening Day starts as a Yankee, with seven coming in left field, but it's actually Roy White who leads the way with nine. White owned left from 1969-74, and then returned for 1976-77 and 1979. The man who supplanted him in '75, '78, and '80? Lou Piniella.
  • CAPTAIN'S LOG
    Derek Jeter took over shortstop in 1996 and hasn't looked back, missing only 2001 prior to this year. In 2012, he made his 16th Opening Day start, a nod that moved him past a Hall of Famer chronicled elsewhere on this list for the most Opening Day starts overall in franchise history.
  • NETTLE-ING IN
    It's entirely possible that Alex Rodriguez (eight starts at third base) could own this record by the end of his current contract ... but until then, it's Graig Nettles, who made 11 straight starts from 1973-83, who stands as the leader in the hot corner clubhouse.
  • SLICK WILLIE
    Willie Randolph made 13 straight Opening Day starts at second base from 1976-88, and can claim something even greats like Derek Jeter or Yogi Berra can't: he is one of a select handful who played at least 10 seasons as a Yankee and started on Opening Day in every single one of them.
  • HORSE PLAY
    When it comes to first base longevity, it is the Iron Horse, of course, who leads the way. Lou Gehrig holds the record with 14 straight starts from 1926-39, and in a fittingly ironic note, it's the man he replaced, Wally Pipp, who is second with 11.
  • EIGHT IS MORE THAN ENOUGH
    He's also a Hall of Famer with a retired number, but it's the Yankees' "other" No. 8, Bill Dickey, who has the catcher record for Opening Day starts. Dickey made 15 total (14 straight from 1930-43 and one more in 1946), but as 10-time starter Yogi Berra might say, math ain't nothing but numbers anyway.
  • THREE FOR THE MOUND
    Pitchers Mel Stottlemyre, Whitey Ford, and Ron Guidry are tied with seven starts apiece, all of which came between 1954-86. One final fun fact: The starters on either end of that frame, Vic Raschi (1953) and Dennis Rasmussen (1987), are right next to each other on the Yankees' all-time alphabetical list.
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