1903 On Opening Day, before 8,376 fans at Huntington Avenue Baseball Grounds, the Americans defeat the A’s in the morning game of a Patriot’s Day twin bill, 9-4. In front of 27,658 spectators, Connie Mack’s Athletics win the matinee match-up, 10-7, which features two future Hall of Fame hurlers, Eddie Plank and Cy Young.
1910 Indians hurler Addie Joss throws his second career no-hitter, beating the White Sox, 1-0. Two seasons ago, opposing future Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh, the right-hander tossed a perfect game, also against the Pale Hose.
1912 After two days of rain, the first major league game is finally played at Fenway Park. The inaugural game is memorable, with the Red Sox staging an eleven-inning walk-off victory over the New York Highlanders (Yankees), 7-6.
1912 In Detroit, the Tigers play their first game in Navin Field, later to known as Tiger Stadium, defeating Cleveland, 6-5. The ballpark at the corner of Trumbull and Michigan, which will serve as the team’s home for the next 87 years, replaces Bennett Park, which was located on the same site since 1896.
1916 In Chicago, the Cubs play their first game at Weeghman Park, beating the Reds in 11 innings, 7-6. In 1926, the ballpark will become known as Wrigley Field, in honor of William Wrigley, the chewing gum mogul who gained full ownership of the team seven seasons ago.
1920 Phillies player-manager Gavvy Cravath calls upon himself to pinch-hit against the Giants. The Philadelphia slugger responds with a three-run homer, the last round-tripper of his career, to beat New York, 3-0.
1927 The Indians spoil the White Sox debut at the newly-expanded Comiskey Park, edging the Pale Hose, 5-4. The new upper deck in the outfield allows 23,200 additional fans to enjoy the game.
1937 Gee Walker strokes a homer, triple, double, and a single to become the only player to hit for the cycle on Opening Day. The 29 year-old Tigers outfielder’s performance helps Detroit beat the Indians at Navin Field, 4-3.
1938 Throwing the first of his twelve career one-hitters, 19 year-old Indians right-hander Bob Feller beats the Browns on Opening Day, 9-0. The only St. Louis hit in the League Park contest is a sixth-inning bunt laid down by backstop Bill Sullivan, who is called safe by rookie ump Ed Rommell on a very close play at first base.
1939 In the only game he’ll ever play with Lou Gehrig in the field, Ted Williams strikes out in his first major league at-bat. The 20 year-old Red Sox rookie, last season’s American Association Triple Crown winner, will finish the day 1-for-4 with the first hit of 2,654 he will collect during in his 19-year career, a 400-foot double in a 2-0 loss at Yankee Stadium.
1939 For the first time in club history, the A’s wear numbers on their uniforms. Connie Mack, the owner and manager of the team, believed the sale of scorecards would suffer because players could be identified by their jerseys.
1944 During a World War II mission, Elmer Gedeon is killed when his plane is shot down over France, becoming the first of two major leaguers to die in World War II. The B-26 bomber pilot, who played five major league games as an outfielder for the Senators at the end of the 1939 season, will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
1946 The Cubs are shut out by Cardinal southpaw Harry Brecheen in their home opener at Wrigley Field, 2-0. The game is the first in the club’s history to be televised, with ‘Whispering’ Joe Wilson doing the play-by-play on Chicago’s WBKB.
1948 On Opening Day, George Vico homers on the first pitch he ever sees in the major leagues, becoming only the fifth player to accomplish the feat. The Tigers rookie first baseman takes White Sox hurler Joe Haynes deep for the first of only 12 career home runs he’ll hit in his brief two-year career.
1948 In the first big league game he ever attends, Richie Ashburn makes his major league debut, going 1-for-5 in the Phillies’ Opening Day victory over Boston at Shibe Park. The 21 year-old rookie left fielder replaces holdout Harry Walker, last year’s National League batting champ, batting leadoff in the Phillies’ lineup.
1951 Nine days after firing the very popular General Douglas MacArthur from his post as Commander of the Far East, U.S. President Harry S. Truman throws out the ceremonial first pitch at the Senators’ home opener against New York at Griffith Stadium. The Air Force Band tries to drown out the boos from the crowd directed at the Commander-in-Chief by loudly playing “Ruffles and Flourishes” and “Hail to the Chief” during the pregame ceremonies.
1955 At Wrigley Field, Humberto Robinson makes his major league debut, coming out of the Braves’ bullpen in a 9-5 victory over the Cubs. The 24 year-old from Colon is the first player from Panama to appear in a major league game.
1967 Tom Seaver, a right-hander the Mets obtained in a lottery drawing that included the Braves, Phillies, and Indians, gets his first major-league win when the team beat the Cubs, 6-1. The 22 year-old rookie, who will become known as the ‘Franchise’, goes 7.2 innings, giving up eight hits and one run in the Shea Stadium contest.
1968 Jon Warden, the last man to make the team in spring training, makes his third appearance, and wins for the third time in relief, as Detroit beats the White Sox at Comiskey Park in 10 innings, 4-1. Due to a torn rotator cuff injury after being selected by the Royals in the expansion draft, the rookie sensation, who will be the only Tiger not to appear in the World Series, will pitch only one season, finishing with a 4-1 win-loss record and a 3.62 ERA.
1973 Four months after his death, Roberto Clemente, in a special election, is inducted into the Hall of Fame. On New Year’s Eve, the Pirates outfielder was tragically killed when a cargo plane crashes during a relief effort to bring supplies to victims of the Nicaraguan earthquake.
1982 With a 4-2 win over the Reds, the Braves record their 12th consecutive victory to establish a major-league record for the most victories from the beginning of the season. The previous mark had been set a year earlier by the Oakland A’s.
1985 Matt Panetta’s timely hitting and outstanding defensive play help Katz defeat MIC, 6-2, in South Meriden Little League action. The 11 year-old is awarded the game ball as a result of his efforts.
1988 The Orioles break a major league record for consecutive losses at the start of a season, a mark the team shared with the 1904 Senators and 1920 Tigers, when they drop their 14th straight contest since Opening Day, an 8-6 loss to Milwaukee. The Birds will drop 21 games before registering their first victory of the season.
1988 Yankees outfielder Claudell Washington, appearing as a pinch-hitter, hits the 10,000th round-tripper in franchise history, the most in the major leagues. The historic home run comes off Jeff Reardon in the top of the ninth inning in New York’s eventual extra-inning 7-6 victory over Minnesota at the Metrodome.
1990 After retiring 26 consecutive A’s players, Mariners right-hander Brian Holman gives up a homer to pinch-hitter Ken Phelps, turning his perfect game into the ninth one-hitter in franchise history after he strikes out Rickey Henderson for the final out. Ironically, the round-tripper will be the final one ‘Digger’ hits in his 11-year major league career.
1997 In the second game of a doubleheader, the Cubs stop their season-opening losing skid at 14 games, beating the Mets, 4-3. By losing the opener, Chicago set a National League record (0-14) for the most consecutive losses to start a season and has the second-worst record behind the Orioles, who lost 21 decisions before winning a game in 1988.
1997 Mark McGwire becomes the fourth major leaguer to hit a home run over the left field roof at Tiger Stadium. The A’s first baseman joins Harmon Killebrew (1962), Frank Howard (1968), and Cecil Fielder (1990) as the only players to accomplish the feat.
1999 A crowd of 37,317 fans enjoys a 3-2 victory over the Braves when LA surpasses the 100 million mark in attendance at Dodger Stadium. The ballpark opened in 1962, four seasons after the franchise moved from Brooklyn to the west coast.
2001 Blue Jay first baseman Carlos Delgado hits three homers for the second time this month, accounting for four of the runs in the team’s 12-4 victory over Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium. The Toronto clean-up hitter also turned the homer hat trick in Tampa Bay during the third game of the season.
2006 At Petco Park in his first at-bat of the season, Kaz Matsui hits an inside-the-park round tripper, making it the third successive season in which the Mets second baseman has hit a home run in his initial plate appearance of the year. Ken Griffey Jr. also accomplished the feat starting in 1997 with the Mariners, but had walked prior to going deep.
2006 Appearing as a pinch hitter at Petco Park, Julio Franco becomes the oldest major leaguer to hit a home run. The 47 year, 240 days old’s eighth inning blast, which put the Mets ahead in their 7-2 victory over the Padres, surpasses Jack Quinn, who accomplished the feat as a pitcher for the Philadelphia A’s at the age of 46 years, 357 days.
2006 As the Nationals beat the Phillies, 10-4, Frank Robinson becomes the 53rd manager to win 1000 big league games. The first black skipper, who has also been the dugout leader for the Indians, Giants, Orioles, and Expos, has compiled a 1,000-1,095 record in 16 seasons.
2007 The first Virginia Tech home athletic event, a game against Miami, since the campus massacre, which claimed 32 lives of students and staff, draws an overflow crowd of 3,132 fans. It is the largest crowd ever recorded in the 18-year history of English Field, home of the Hokies college baseball team.
2007 In honor of their hard playing center fielder, the first 10,000 adult fans attending the game at Great American Ball Park receive a Ryan Freel Dirty T-shirt giveaway from the Reds. The Cincinnati leadoff hitter, known to finish games wearing a filthy uniform, doesn’t disappoint as he raises lots of dust getting on base twice, including a key single in the tenth inning, in the Reds’ 2-1 victory over the Phillies.
2007 Alex Rodriguez becomes the second player to hit twelve home runs in the season’s first fifteen games when he goes deep twice in the Yankees’ 7-6 loss to Boston at Fenway Park. Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt also accomplished the feat, hitting a dozen for the Phillies in 1976.
2008 The Blue Jays release Frank Thomas a day after the slugger became angry for not being in the lineup. The “mutual agreement” is reached after a clubhouse meeting between G.M. J.P. Ricciardi and the designated hitter, who wants to be with a club where his playing time will not be reduced.
2010 In the first five innings of a 7-6 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway Park, the Rangers swipe nine bases, including a club-record of five in one inning, to establish a franchise mark. The number of stolen bases allowed by the Boston backstops ties the 1913 mark for the most ever yielded by the team in one game.
2010 Rockies president Keli McGregor, while on a business trip for the club, is found dead in his hotel room in downtown Salt Lake City. The 48 year-old baseball executive, believed to have died of natural causes, spent 17 years with Colorado.
2011 Bud Selig announces MLB is taking over operations of the Dodgers because of concerns over team finances and the ability of Frank McCourt to run the franchise. The team is facing substantial debt payments, which the owner plans to meet by using funding from the club’s new $2.5 billion, 20-year media-rights deal with News Corp.’s Fox Sports, but the Commissioner has withheld his approval of the deal.
2012 With more than 200 former players in attendance, including the likes of team icons Johnny Pesky, Luis Tiant, Carl Yastrzemski, Bill Buckner, and Pedro Martinez joining the celebration, the Red Sox commemorate the 100th anniversary of the opening of Fenway Park. Caroline Kennedy, the great-granddaughter of Boston’s former mayor known as Honey Fitz, who threw out the first pitch on opening day in 1912, tosses one of the three ceremonial first pitches.
2012 Ivan Nova wins his 15th straight decision when the Yankees beat Boston at Fenway Park, 6-2. The victory moves the right-hander ahead of Whitey Ford (1961) and Steve Sundra (1938-39), and one shy of the franchise record of 16 consecutive wins, established last season by Roger Clemens.
2012 The Reds become the fifth major league team to record their 10,000th franchise victory with a 9-4 win over Chicago at Wrigley Field. Cincinnati joins the Giants, Cubs, Dodgers, Cardinals, and Braves in reaching the milestone.
2013 In an emotional ceremony prior to the team’s first game at Fenway Park since the bombing at the Boston Marathon, the Red Sox recognize the victims and the heroes of the tragedy. David Ortiz sums up the mood of the city when he tells the capacity crowd, “This jersey that we wear today, it doesn’t say Red Sox. It says Boston. …… This is our f’***ng city, and nobody’s going to dictate our freedom. Stay Strong.”
2013 After flying from Los Angeles, Neil Diamond shows up unannounced at Fenway Park to ask the Red Sox if he can sing Sweet Caroline at the first game at ballpark since the bombing at the Boston Marathon. The crowd and the rest of the nation is truly ‘Boston Strong’ after his eighth-inning performance of the team’s anthem.
2014 Ian Kinsler scores from first on a base-on-balls as the result of the Angels committing three errors on the same play in the first inning of the Tigers’ 2-1 victory over the Angels at Comerica Park. The unusual route to home begins when backstop Hank Conger, to thwart Kinsler’s potential theft of second base, throws a called ball four to batter Miguel Cabrera into centerfield, where Mike Trout makes an error on his throw to third trying to nail the base runner now advancing to third, who will score when pitcher Hector Santiago makes an errant toss to the plate.