This Date in Baseball
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 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.
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 over 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. Nomo joined Cy Young, Jim Bunning and Nolan Ryan as the only pitchers with no-hitters in both leagues.
2003 — Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs became the 18th player to hit 500 career homers, connecting for a solo shot in a 10-9 loss to Cincinnati. He became the fifth player to reach 500 homers before his 35th birthday. Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Jimmie Foxx were the others.
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.
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.
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 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.
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, lost their inaugural season opener Philadelphia 8-4.
2006 — Ivan Rodriguez went 5-for-5 with a single, homer, three doubles and five RBIs, leading Detroit to a 14-3 rout over Kansas City.
2010 — Garrett Jones homered in his first two at-bats, pinch-hitter Ryan Church doubled home three runs in Pittsburgh’s 11-5 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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.
- AL East
- Baltimore Orioles
- Chicago Cubs
- Kansas City Royals
- Los Angeles Dodgers
- Minnesota Twins
- San Francisco Giants