This Date In Baseball
1961 — The Pacific Coast League’s proposal to use a designated hitter for the pitcher was rejected by the Professional Baseball Rules Committee by a vote of 8-1.
1968 — Seattle, the American League’s second new team, announced its nickname — the Pilots.
1995 — Major league baseball players end their strike when Federal judge Sonia Sotomayor of U.S. District Court in Manhattan rules against the owners in the labor dispute.
1998 — The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks looked like expansion teams in their first games. The Devil Rays fell behind 11-0 in an 11-6 loss to Detroit at Tropicana Field, and the Diamondbacks dropped a 9-2 decision to the Colorado Rockies at Bank One Ballpark. Milwaukee dropped a 2-1 decision at Atlanta in the Brewers’ first game since becoming the only team to switch leagues this century.
2013 — The Houston Astros, coming off consecutive 100-loss seasons, made an impressive debut in the American League, trouncing the Texas Rangers 8-2 in the major league opener. Having switched from the National League to the AL in the offseason, the Astros earned their first opening day victory since 2006 and the 4,000th regular-season win in franchise history.
1931 — Pitcher Virne Mitchell, 17, signed with the Chattanooga club of Tennessee, becoming the first woman to play for an otherwise all-male baseball team.
1972 — The first collective player’s strike in major league history began at 12:01 a.m. The strike lasted 12 days and canceled 86 games.
1989 — Jim McAllister of Glassboro State hit four home runs and drove in nine runs in four at-bats in a 21-5 five-inning rout of Delaware State.
1996 — Umpire John McSherry, 51, who planned to see doctors the next day about an irregular heartbeat, collapsed seven pitches into Cincinnati’s opener and died at a hospital about an hour later.
1970 — An investment group headed by Allen “Bud” Selig bought the Seattle pilots for $10.8 million.
1989 — A. Bartlett Giamatti took over as baseball commissioner.
2001 — The Toronto Blue Jays beat the Texas Rangers 8-1 as the major league baseball season opened in San Juan Puerto Rico.
2009 — Eastern Kentucky played Kentucky State in a baseball game on April Fools’ Day, and the result was no joke: EKU led 49-1 when the teams stopped it after five innings. EKU began substituting during its 22-run first inning.
2013 — Bryce Harper homered in his first two at-bats, Stephen Strasburg retired 19 batters in a row at one stretch, and the defending NL East champion Washington Nationals opened the season with a 2-0 victory over the Miami Marlins.
2013 — Clayton Kershaw launched his first career home run to break a scoreless tie in the eighth inning, then finished off a four-hitter that led the Los Angeles Dodgers over the San Francisco Giants 4-0 on opening day. Kershaw became the first pitcher in the majors to homer on opening day since Joe Magrane of St. Louis in 1988 and became the first pitcher to throw a shutout and hit a home run in an opener since Bob Lemon for Cleveland in 1953.
1931 — Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell, the first woman in professional baseball, pitched against the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Chattanooga. Babe Ruth waved wildly at the first two pitches and took a third strike. Lou Gehrig timed his swing to miss three straight pitches. Tony Lazzeri, after trying to bunt, walked and Mitchell left the game.
1952 — Hall of Fame outfielder Monte Irvin of the New York Giants broke his ankle in an exhibition game. Irvin played just 46 games that season.
1984 — The New York Mets lost to the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 for their first opening day defeat in 10 years.
1996 — St. Francis of Illinois pummeled Robert Morris 71-1 in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game that was surrendered after four innings by Robert Morris coach Gerald McNamara.
1997 — For the first time, the salary of one player — Albert Belle — exceeded the payroll of an entire team — the Pittsburgh Pirates. Belle, the game’s highest-paid player for 1997 at $10 million, made $928,333 more than the whole Pirates payroll, which totaled $9,071,667.
2001 — Roger Clemens became the AL strikeout king, getting five to pass Walter Johnson as the Yankees beat Kansas City 7-3 in their season opener. Clemens fanned Joe Randa for his 3,509th career strikeout.
2003 — Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 300 home runs, connecting for a three-run drive in the Texas Rangers’ 11-5 loss to the Anaheim Angels. Rodriguez at 27 years, 249 days old, surpassed Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx (27 years, 328 days).
2007 — Tampa Bay’s Elijah Dukes homered in his first big league at-bat in a 9-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
2011 — Ian Kinsler of Texas became the first major leaguer ever with leadoff homers in each of his team’s first two games. Kinsler hit the first of four homers by the Rangers in a 12-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
2012 — Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants agreed to a $127.5 million, six-year contract, the largest deal for a right-handed pitcher in baseball history.
2017 — Madison Bumgarner hit two homers but the Arizona Diamondbacks scored twice with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning off new San Francisco closer Mark Melancon to beat the Giants 6-5 in a wild season opener. Bumgarner retired his first 16 batters and became the first pitcher to hit two home runs on opening day. He struck out 11 with no walks in seven innings — all for naught.
Today’s birthdays: Wilmer Difo 27; Don Sutton 74.
1923 — Expelled “Black Sox” players Happy Felsch and Swede Risberg sued their former club for back salary and $400,000 in damages. They were among eight members of the Chicago White Sox team charged with fixing the 1919 World Series.
1966 — The New York Mets won the right to sign Southern California pitcher Tom Seaver when commissioner William Eckert pulled their name out of a hat. Eckert had voided Seaver’s contract with Atlanta, when the Braves signed him during his college season. Cleveland and Philadelphia were the other two teams that had a chance, matching the Braves’ original $40,000 offer.
1985 — The Players’ Association agreed with the owners to expand the 1985 League Championship Series from best-of-5 to best-of-7.
1994 — The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-4 in major league baseball’s first Sunday night opener, which sent baseball into a new era with three divisions and a new playoff format.
2000 — Savannah State’s baseball team set an NCAA record for consecutive victories. The Tigers beat Claflin 8-0 and 21-1, extending its streak to 42 and eclipsing the record of 40 claimed by Marietta College of Ohio, a Division II school, last year.
2001 — Houston’s Craig Biggio had five hits to tie a major league record for a season opener as the Astros beat the Milwaukee Brewers 11-3.
2006 — Seattle’s Kenji Johjima became the first Japanese catcher to start a major league game and also homered for his first hit in the Mariners’ 5-3 loss to Los Angeles.
2008 — Kansas City the Tigers 4-1 at Detroit to complete a season-opening three-game sweep. It was the first time the Royals started the year with a sweep on the road since 1977.
2011 — Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz became the first set of teammates to homer in each of the first three games in a season, and Matt Harrison pitched the Texas Rangers to a 5-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
2015 — Miami Marlins pitcher Jarred Cosart was fined an undisclosed amount for violating Major League Rule 21(d)(3), which “prohibits players from placing bets with illegal bookmakers or agents for illegal book makers.”
2015 — Corey Hassel hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the 18th inning to lead Oklahoma State to a 6-3 victory over Texas in a game that ended after 6 hours, 51 minutes.
2018 — Didi Gregorius hit a pair of three-run homers and drove in a career-high eight RBIs, and the New York Yankees overcame five strikeouts by Giancarlo Stanton in his first game in pinstripes to beat the Tampa Bay Rays 11-4. Gregorius had four hits and walked, setting a major league record for RBIs by a player in a home opener.
2018 — For the first time in major league history a game both began and ended with consecutive home runs. Dexter Fowler and Tommy Pham of St. Louis connected off Chase Anderson in the span of three pitches in the first inning. In the ninth, Christian Yelich and Ryan Braun homered off Dominic Leone on consecutive pitches with two outs in the ninth to give the Brewers a 5-4 win.
1974 — The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Atlanta Braves 7-6 in 11 innings before a crowd of 52,000 at Riverfront Stadium. In his first at-bat, Hank Aaron hit a three-run homer off Jack Billingham. It was his 714th, tying Babe Ruth’s career record. The Braves had considered keeping Aaron on the bench for the season-opening series in Cincinnati so that he could attempt to tie the record four days later in Atlanta. But commissioner Bowie Kuhn would not allow it and ordered the Braves to put Aaron into the lineup for at least two of the three games.
1988 — George Bell became the first player to hit three home runs on opening day, leading the Toronto Blue Jays past the Kansas City Royals 5-3. Bell, bitter throughout spring training with his move to designated hitter, homered three times in that role off Bret Saberhagen.
1994 — Chicago’s Karl Rhodes hit three solo home runs off Dwight Gooden in a 12-8 loss to the New York Mets on opening day at Wrigley Field. Rhodes became the second player to homer three times in an opener.
1998 — Mark McGwire tied Willie Mays’ National League record by hitting a home run in each of his first four games of the season. McGwire launched a towering three-run shot in the sixth inning of an 8-6 victory over the San Diego Padres.
1999 — America’s pastime opened in Mexico for the first time. The Colorado Rockies beat the Chicago Cubs 8-2 in baseball’s first season opener away from the United States and Canada.
2001 — Hideo Nomo became the fourth pitcher in major league history to throw a no-hitter in both leagues in Boston’s 3-0 victory at Baltimore. Nomo, who threw the first no-hitter in Colorado’s Coors Field on Sept. 17, 1996, for Los Angeles, walked three and struck out 11 in the first no-hitter in the 10-year history of Camden Yards.
2003 — Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs became the 18th and first Hispanic player to hit 500 career homers. Sosa hit a solo home run off Scott Sullivan in the seventh inning of in a 10-9 loss to the Cincinnati Reds.
2005 — Dmitri Young became the third player to hit three homers on opening day, and Jeremy Bonderman won as the youngest opening day starter in the major leagues since 1986 to lead Detroit over the Kansas City Royals 11-2.
2011 — Nelson Cruz of Texas became the third player in major league history to homer in the first four games of a season and the Rangers beat Seattle 6-4. Cruz joined Willie Mays (1971) and Mark McGwire (1998) as the only players to go deep in each of their first four games of a season.
2016 — Clayton Kershaw was brilliant on opening day, holding San Diego to one hit in his seven innings and striking out nine to lead rookie manager Dave Roberts and the Los Angeles Dodgers to a record-setting 15-0 victory against the Padres. It was the most lopsided opening day shutout in major league history. The previous mark was a 14-0 win by the Pittsburgh Pirates over the Cincinnati Reds in 1911.
2016 — Colorado’s Trevor Story became the first player to hit two home runs in his major league debut on opening day, and Colorado spoiled Zack Greinke’s initial start for Arizona with a 10-5 win. Greinke, who signed a $206.5 million, six-year contract with the Diamondbacks, had his worst outing in nearly four years, giving up seven runs — six in one inning. Story also became the first National League player to hit multiple home runs in his first game. Four had done it in the American League.
1913 — Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field hosted its first game, an exhibition. Before a crowd of 25,000, the Dodgers beat the Giants, 3-2. Casey Stengel hit a an inside-the-park homer for Brooklyn.
1971 — In their last opening day, the Senators, behind pitcher Dick Bosman, beat the Oakland A’s 8-0 before 45,000 fans at RFK Stadium.
1972 — For the first time in history, major league baseball failed to open because of a general player strike, which started April 1 and would be settled April 13.
1979 — Baltimore manager Earl Weaver got his 1,000th career victory when the Orioles beat the Chicago White Sox.
1983 — The San Diego Padres beat the San Francisco Giants 16-13 in the highest-scoring opening day game in 50 years. Winning pitcher Tim Lollar also drove in three runs.
1993 — The expansion Florida Marlins won their first game, 6-3 over the Los Angeles Dodgers, at Joe Robbie Stadium. The new Colorado Rockies lost to the Mets 3-0 in New York.
1998 — Andy Benes pitched seven strong innings and Matt Williams had three hits and an RBI in to lead Arizona to its first-ever victory, a 3-2 win over San Francisco. The Diamondbacks (1-5) had the second longest, season-opening losing streak for an expansion team in its first season.
1999 — Raul Mondesi hit a game-tying, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning and a two-run shot in the 11th as the Los Angeles Dodgers beat Arizona 8-6.
2003 — Kansas City became the first major league team to start 5-0 after a 100-loss season.
2004 — Carlos Beltran of Kansas City and Shannon Stewart of Minnesota combined to set a record. For the first time in modern history, two players hit game-winning home runs on the same day. The Royals beat the Chicago White Sox, 9-7, while the Twins overcame the Cleveland Indians, 7-4, in 11 innings. The Royals also were the first team since 1901 to recover from a ninth-inning deficit of four runs on opening day.
2005 — The Washington Nationals, formerly known as the Montreal Expos, lose their inaugural season opener Philadelphia 8-4.
2012 — J.P. Arencibia’s three-run homer in the 16th inning sent the Toronto Blue Jays to a 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians in the longest opening-day game in major league history. The marathon eclipsed the previous longest openers — 15 innings between Cleveland and Detroit in 1960 and 15 innings between Philadelphia and Washington in 1926.
2013 — Chris Davis extended his torrid start with a grand slam and five RBIs, and the Baltimore Orioles beat Minnesota 9-5 in their home opener. Davis became the fourth player in major league history to homer in his first four games of the season. In the four games, Davis was 9 for 15 (.600) with four homers and 16 RBIs. Davis’ 16 RBIs in his team’s first four games broke the old big league record of 12 and he became the first player to hit a home and drive in three runs in each of the first four games to start a season.
2015 — The Los Angeles Dodgers set a baseball record with a $270 million opening-day payroll, including nearly $44 million going to players no longer on the team. Major League Baseball’s average salary on opening day also set a mark at $4.2 million.
Today’s birthdays: Jorge De La Rosa 38.
1972 — For the first time in history, the major leagues failed to open on schedule because of a player strike, which started on April 1. The traditional season opener between Houston and Cincinnati was canceled and a total of 86 games were lost before the strike was settled.
1973 — Ron Blomberg of the New York Yankees became the first major league designated hitter. With the bases loaded in the first inning, he was walked by pitcher Luis Tiant, but the Red Sox won 15-5.
1973 — At the Oakland Coliseum, Tony Oliva became the first designated hitter to homer. The Twins DH hit a two-run shot in the first inning off Catfish Hunter to Minnesota to an 8-3 win.
1974 — Due to renovations at Yankee Stadium, the New York Yankees’ home opener took place at Shea Stadium. It was their first home game outside Yankee Stadium since 1922.
1977 — The Seattle Mariners played their first regular-season game at the Kingdome and lost to the California Angels 7-0.
1982 — A freak storm that brought subfreezing temperatures and dumped heavy snow from the Northeast to the Midwest forced the postponement of American League openers in New York, Detroit, Chicago, Cleveland and Milwaukee, and National League openers in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh.
2005 — Brad Wilkerson hit for the cycle to lead Washington over Philadelphia 7-3.
2009 — Emilio Bonifacio hit the majors’ first inside-the-park homer on opening day since 1968, swiped three bases and had four hits in Florida’s 12-6 victory over Washington.
2009 — Alfonso Soriano hit his 50th career leadoff home run as Chicago beat Houston 4-2.
2012 — Adam Dunn tied a major league record with his eighth opening-day home run. He led off the sixth inning for the Chicago White Sox when he pulled a ball into the second deck of seats in right field off Texas starter Colby Lewis. Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. are the other major leaguers who have eight homers in openers.
2016 — Japanese pitcher Kenta Maeda homered in the second at-bat of his major league debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers and beat the Padres 7-0, making San Diego the first team in major league history to be shut out in its first three games. The Padres were outscored 25-0 in the opening three games by their biggest rivals and set MLB marks for futility. The Padres set the MLB mark with 27 straight scoreless innings to open a season. The old mark was 26 by the 1943 St. Louis Browns. The Dodgers joined the 1963 Cardinals in winning their first three games by shutouts.
2016 — Rookie Trevor Story made baseball history by hitting a home run in each of his first three major league games and Colorado beat Arizona 4-3. Story also became the first player in baseball history to hit a home run for each of his first four hits. Story’s two-run homer off Patrick Corbin in the first inning gave him four for the season.
Today’s birthday: Bert Blyleven 68.
- Arizona Diamondbacks
- Baltimore Orioles
- Chicago White Sox
- Chris Davis
- Chris Davis
- Clayton Kershaw
- Cleveland Indians
- Colorado Rockies
- Ian Kinsler
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Milwaukee Brewers
- Minnesota Twins
- New York Yankees
- NL West
- San Diego Padres
- San Francisco Giants
- Trevor Story
- Washington Nationals