Major League Baseball has seen a number of notable debuts in recent weeks, so we are taking a look back at the most memorable MLB debuts of all time. From highly-hyped prospects, to show-stopping plays and statistical anomalies, the first impressions these players left us with will surely be remembered for many years to come.
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Jason Heyward, Atlanta Braves (April 5, 2010)
Touted as the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball, Braves fans were giddy as ever when Heyward was finally called up to The Show. With fans chanting his name as he faced Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano for his major-league at-bat, Heyward ripped a 2-0 fastball over the right-center field wall for a three-run homer that sent Turner Field into a frenzy. The 20-year-old outfielder drove in another run later in the game, capping off his much-anticipated debut going 2 for 5 with two runs scored and four RBI.
Marte had the most instant of impacts a player could possibly have. Debuting for the Pirates in 2012, Marte ripped the first pitch he saw in the big leagues, an 85 mph cutter from Astros pitcher Dallas Keuchel for a solo home run in his first MLB at-bat. Not only was it the first pitch Marte saw, but it was the first pitch of the game, as the 23-year-old touted prospect was leading off the game for the visiting Pirates. The Dominican outfielder hit a single later in the game and finished 2 for 4 at the plate.
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Karl Spooner, Brooklyn Dodgers (Sept. 22, 1954)
Spooner ended up pitching only two seasons for the Brooklyn Dodgers, but he dazzled in his first year in the majors. Facing the New York Giants in his major-league debut at the end of the 1954 regular season, the southpaw threw a complete-game shutout, striking out 15 batters and only giving up three hits in the process. To this day, he still holds the record for most strikeouts in a pitcher's first major-league outing, although the feat was tied in 1971 and rivaled in 2010 by Stephen Strasburg's 14 K's. Spooner made an encore performance in his second major-league outing, throwing another complete-game shutout. Unfortunately, his career would be cut short to a mere two seasons due to serious arm troubles.
Yasiel Puig, Los Angeles Dodgers (June 3, 2013)
The Dodgers needed a big boost after beginning the 2013 season with a disappointing 23-32 start. On June 3, the Blue Crew called up top prospect Puig to be that spark -- and he didn't disappoint. Puig delivered in his major-league debut, singling in his first at-bat and going 2 for 4 at the plate, but it was what he did in the field that made his debut unforgettable -- tracking down a warning-track fly ball and then doubling up a runner at first. The 22-year-old Cuban then propelled the Dodgers to victory again in his second MLB game, going 3 for 4 at the plate with five RBI.
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Kosuke Fukudome, Chicago Cubs (March 31, 2008)
After nine years with the Chunichi Dragons, Fukudome made the jump to Major League Baseball when he signed a four-year $48 million deal with the Cubs on December 11, 2007. In his first game, Fukudome went 3 for 3, doubling in his first at-bat and hitting a game-tying three-run home run off Eric Gagne in the bottom of the ninth.
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Cecil Travis, Washington Senators (May 16, 1933)
Travis is the only major-league player in the modern era (since 1900) to collect five hits in his big-league debut. It happened in a 12-inning game for the Senators. He ended up going 5 for 7 with three runs scored.
Miguel Cabrera, Florida Marlins (June 20, 2003)
Miggy stormed into Major League Baseball as a skinny, 20-year old phenom from Venezuela. Making the leap from Double-A, Miggy's first major-league hit was a walk-off two-run blast in the bottom on the 11th for the then-Florida Marlins.
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Mark Prior, Chicago Cubs (May 22, 2002)
Before Stephen Strasburg, there was Prior. He was one of the most hyped prospects in the 2001 draft out of USC, signing a then-record $10.5 million deal (only to be broken by Strasburg). Prior possessed the size, mechanics, arm strength, etc. to make him a can't-miss pitcher. He didn't disappoint in his debut for the Cubs, allowing two runs over six innings while striking out 10 against Pittsburgh.
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Kevin Kouzmanoff, Cleveland Indians (September 2, 2006)
There are a number of ways to impress in your first big-league at-bat, but swatting a grand slam on the very first pitch you see is probably the most effective. That's what third baseman Kouzmanoff did for the Indians in his MLB debut, connecting on an Edinson Volquez fastball to propel himself into the record books as the third player to hit a slam in his first major-league at-bat (and, it was assumed, the first to do so on the first pitch).
Terry Steinbach, Oakland Athletics (September 12, 1986)
Before Steinbach became an icon in A's lore, taking part in their back-to-back AL pennants and World Series championship in 1989, he was a fresh-faced kid trying to prove his worth in the major-leagues. Steinbach connected on a Greg Swindell offering for a home run in his first at-bat as a major leaguer ... and the rest was history, as they say.
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Joe Nuxhall, Cincinnati Reds (June 10, 1944)
Nuxhall may have given up five earned runs and walked five batters in 2/3 inning during his debut, but he was only 15 years old. Nuxhall is the youngest player to ever put on a big-league uniform. His appearance for the Reds was a result of player shortages during World War II. His next appearance actually didn't come until 1952 at the ripe old age of 23.
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Jason Jennings, Colorado Rockies (August 23, 2001)
Not only did Rockies pitcher Jennings deliver a five-hit shutout in his debut, but his performance at the plate was equally outstanding. In his first major-league game, Jennings went 3 for 5 with a pair of RBI and a ninth-inning home run ... and he did it at Shea Stadium.
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Stephen Strasburg, Washington Nationals (June 8, 2010)
When a prospect bursts onto the scene with as much hype as Strasburg did in 2010 it's hard to imagine them living up to expectations in their first game, but that's exactly what Strasburg did. The Nationals right-hander carved up the Pirates in his debut as he struck out 14 and allowed two runs over seven innings.
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Juan Marichal, San Francisco Giants (July 19, 1960)
When looking back at some of the greatest debuts of all time, it's hard not to include Marichal. The Giants right-hander went on to a great career, in which he made nine National League All-Star teams in 16 seasons, and that career got off to a strong start. Appearing in his first game, Marichal tossed a shutout, allowing just one hit, while striking out 12.
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Joey Gallo, Texas Rangers (June 2, 2015)
Gallo was touted as a big-time prospect with big time power and in his major-league debut, he delivered. The Rangers third baseman didn't hit for the cycle in his debut, but that's about the only thing that didn't go his way as Gallo went 3 for 4 with a home run, a double and four RBI in his first game.
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Willie McCovey, San Francisco Giants (July 30, 1959)
McCovey gave fans a glimpse into his Hall of Fame future when he made his big-league debut at the age of 21. Facing Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts, McCovey was unfazed, collecting four hits, including two triples and three RBI in the Giants' 7-2 win over the Phillies at Seals Stadium.
Starlin Castro, Chicago Cubs (May 7, 2010)
There was a lot of hype surrounding Castro's big-league debut and the wunderkind certainly lived up to expectations. In his first major-league at-bat, the 20-year-old Castro took Reds pitcher Homer Bailey deep for a three-run bomb -- and he didn't stop there. Castro also came up with a bases-loaded triple and became the first player to record six RBI in his MLB debut.
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J.P. Arencibia, Toronto Blue Jays (August 7, 2010)
Arencibia's major-league debut wasn't just memorable -- it was historic. The Blue Jays catcher was inserted into the lineup due to an injury to starting catcher John Buck, but he surely made the most out of his first opportunity in the big leagues. Arencibia belted not one, but two homers, with the first coming on the first big-league pitch of his career. He also added a double and a single along the way to become the first player since 1900 to have a pair of home runs and four hits in his big-league debut.
Ken Griffey Jr., Seattle Mariners (April 3, 1989)
Junior was the No. 1 overall pick of the 1987 MLB Draft and the son of an established major leaguer (Ken Griffey Sr.), so naturally there was a big build up to his debut. At only 19 years old, Griffey made an auspicious first impression, doubling off A's pitcher Dave Stewart (who went on to finish second in that year's Cy Young voting) in his first major-league at-bat. While Griffey's debut was more memorable due to the hype surrounding it, he did pick up his first hit, drew his first walk and scored his first run all in his first MLB game.