Category: Opening Day

Mitch Williams walks the bases full then surrenders two 12th-inning runs in the season opener against Montreal

1994 – Mitch Williams walks the bases full then surrenders two 12th-inning runs in the season opener against Montreal. Ken Caminiti’s two-run double ends a dramatic three-run comeback for a 6-5 Houston triumph. Astros debut new navy and gold uniforms with the leaning star.  

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At Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Rockies beat the Montreal Expos, 11 – 4, for their first victory ever and set a National League record for attendance in their home debut. The crowd of 80,227 breaks the NL record of 78,672 set on April 18, 1958, by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

At Mile High Stadium, the Colorado Rockies beat the Montreal Expos, 11 – 4, for their first victory ever and set a National League record for attendance in their home debut. The crowd of 80,227 breaks the NL record of 78,672 set on April 18, 1958, by the Los Angeles Dodgers.

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Hal Morris chooses the Reds song for the year U Can’t Touch This

Keeping with the team’s tradition of having a rookie select the music, Reds freshman first baseman Hal Morris picks U Can’t Touch This, following the Opening Day 8-4 extra-inning victory at the Astrodome. The iconic MC Hammer tune will become the team’s mantra and the unofficial theme song for the eventual world champs.

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Delino DeShields goes 4-for-6 to become only the second rookie to collect four hits in an Opening Day debut

Delino DeShields, the 21 year-old second baseman of the Expos, goes 4-for-6 to become only the second rookie to collect four hits in an Opening Day debut. Forrest Jacobs, also a second baseman, became the first major league rookie to accomplish the feat in his 1954 Opening Day debut with the Philadelphia A’s.

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Mets clout 6 homeruns on opening day

On April 4, 1988, the New York Mets set an Opening Day record by clouting six home runs in a 10-6 win over the Montreal Expos. Kevin McReynolds and Darryl Strawberry each bang out a pair of home runs at Olympic Stadium. Estimates place Strawberry’s second home run at 525 feet…

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Martha and the Vandellas’ iconic hit Dancing in the Streets played as Tigers win home opener

Martha and the Vandellas’ iconic hit Dancing in the Streets, which was recorded a couple of miles north of the ballpark twenty years ago at the Motown Studios, finally is played over the public address system at Tiger Stadium. Jim Campbell, the Detroit’s GM who thought the lyrics might cause rowdiness in the stands, finally gives into the wishes of his younger fans, resulting in a ballpark tradition of the crowd cheering when Martha Reeves belts out the immortal words,“Can’t Forget the Motor City.”

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Sixto Lezcano hits a grand slam off Dick Drago becoming the first player in major league history to do it twice on Opening Day

1980 – On Opening Day at County Stadium, Sixto Lezcano hits a grand slam off Dick Drago with two outs in the 9th inning, to give the Milwaukee Brewers a 9 – 5 victory over the Boston Red Sox. Lezcano also opened the 1978 season with a grand slam, becoming the first player in major league history to do it twice on Opening Day.

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Veeck offers free admision

On April 10, 1979, Chicago White Sox owner Bill Veeck offers fans free admission to the next home game after his team’s unimpressive debut on Opening Day. The White Sox’ 10-2 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays prompts the unusual action by Veeck…

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The Toronto Blue Jays play their first game ever

At Exhibition Stadium, the Toronto Blue Jays play their first game ever with a victory against the Chicago White Sox, 9 – 5. In his first major league at-bat Toronto’s Al Woods becomes the first player to pinch-hit a home run on Opening Day and rookie Doug Ault homers twice, in the 1st and 5th innings, off Francisco Barrios. Snowflakes are seen during the game.

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Roberto Clemente shines on opening day despite Pirates loss and guns down rookie Hal King  

1968 – Roberto Clemente’s opening day optical illusion goes for naught as Pittsburgh’s newly acquired answer to its pitching problem, Jim Bunning, fresh off his career year with Philadelphia, provides an unwelcome harbinger of what will be a very trying season and, in so doing, marks the beginning of the distinctly mediocre final phase of his Hall of Fame career. But it’s just another day at the office for Clemente, as he provides one of those signature moments when, as Frank Robinson recalls, “You’d watch him and find yourself saying to the guy next to you, ‘Did you see that?'” Unfortunately, Bunning, Juan Pizarro and Ron Kline combine to squander Pittsburgh’s 4 – 2 advantage in the final frame, thus leaving Clemente’s magical moment (and his 3rd-inning, tie-breaking homer) somewhat adrift: “Rookie Hal King couldn’t believe Roberto Clemente caught his long fly down the right field line for the third out in the 2nd inning,” writes Les Biederman in the Pittsburgh Press. “King had just turned second base when he heard the crowd groan and saw the Pirates running off the field. He stopped, gave a bewildered look and kept glancing down the right field line to see how it was possible.”

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Opening Day postponed after Martin Luther King, Jr assasinated

On April 8, 1968, the major leagues decide to postpone Opening Day because of the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. With 11 black players on their roster, the Pittsburgh Pirates vote not to play games on Monday – the day of the scheduled opener – or Tuesday. The Pirates will open the season on Wednesday. The National Football League plays their games on the day of King’s assassination and are criticized for the decision.

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The California Angels play their first game at Anaheim Stadium. Rick Reichardt of the Angels hits the first home run in the new ballpark, but California loses the game, 3 – 1, to the Chicago White Sox.

1966 – The California Angels play their first game at Anaheim Stadium. Rick Reichardt of the Angels hits the first home run in the new ballpark, but California loses the game, 3 – 1, to the Chicago White Sox.

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Before a crowd of 50,671 at Fulton County Stadium, the Braves play their first game in Atlanta after moving from Milwaukee. Joe Torre hits two home runs for the Braves, but Willie Stargell spoils the occasion with a two-run homer in the 13th inning to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3 – 2 victory.

1966 – Before a crowd of 50,671 at Fulton County Stadium, the Braves play their first game in Atlanta after moving from Milwaukee. Joe Torre hits two home runs for the Braves, but Willie Stargell spoils the occasion with a two-run homer in the 13th inning to give the Pittsburgh Pirates a 3 – 2 victory.

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