1908 Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss offers Honus Wagner a contract with a proposed a salary of $6,000. The third baseman, who won his second consecutive NL batting crown last season, will eventually signed for $10,000, twice the amount of his previous pay, to become the first major leaguer to make a five-figure salary.
1910 At American League Park in Washington, D.C., William Taft becomes the first president to throw out the ceremonial first pitch. The Chief Executive stays to see a great game when Senator legend Walter Johnson one-hits the A’s in the season opener, 3-0.
1911 Shortly after midnight, a tremendous fire breaks out, destroying much of the Polo Grounds, leaving the Giants without a place to play. The Highlanders invite the McGraw men to share Hilltop Park, an offer the displaced National League team accepts for six weeks until temporary stands are completed at their damaged ballpark.
1915 Herb Pennock’s bid to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day is spoiled when he gives up a scratch hit to Harry Hooper with two outs in the ninth inning. The A’s southpaw retires the next batter, preserving his 2-0 shutout of Boston at Shibe Park.
1917 White Sox hurler Eddie Cicotte, who will become better known as one of the eight players made permanently ineligible for professional baseball due to his alleged participation in the Black Sox scandal in the 1919 World Series, no-hits the Browns, 11-0. The 33 year-old Michigan native, called Knuckles by his teammates, will finish the season with a 28-12 record along with a 1.53 ERA, leading the league in victories and earned run average.
1925 The Indians start the season drubbing the Browns, 21-4, to establish the major league mark for the most runs scored by one club on Opening Day. Cleveland tallies 12 times in the eighth inning with the help of five St. Louis errors.
1925 WGN broadcasts the first fully-live regular season baseball game, detailing Grover Alexander and the Cubs’ defeat of the Pirates on a chilly Opening Day, 8-2. Quin Ryan is behind the microphone doing play-by-play from a perch on the Wrigley Field roof.
1930 President Herbert Hoover, continuing the tradition started by William Taft in 1910, throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the Red Sox edge the hometown Senators, 4-3. The Chief Executive, who is historically thought to be a southpaw, will do the honors right-handed six times during his one term in the White House, all four Opening Days at Washington’s Griffith Stadium and two World Series games played at Shibe Park in the 1929 and 1930 Fall Classics.
1931 At Braves Field, Jack Quinn becomes the oldest pitcher to start an Opening Day game. The 47 year-old Robin right-hander gives up six runs on nine runs in six innings of work, taking the loss when Brooklyn bows to Boston, 7-4.
1936 At Sportsman’s Park, Eddie Morgan, appearing as a pinch-hitter in the Cardinals’ 12-7 loss to Chicago, hits a home run in his first major league first at-bat. The round-tripper will be the 21 year-old rookie’s only career homer during his brief stint with St. Louis and Brooklyn.
1949 Bobo Newsom signs as a free agent with the Senators. The 41 year-old right-hander, who will not appear with the club until the 1952 season, becomes the first major leaguer to join the same team on five different occasions (1935-37, ’42, ’43, ’46-47, ’52).
1953 Bob Lemon almost throws an Opening Day no-hitter against the White Sox, but the attempt is spoiled by Minnie Minoso’s first inning single. The Indians’ hurler almost loses his shutout when fleet footed outfielder Jim Rivera walks, steals second, and goes to third on a grounder, but is thrown out trying to steal home.
1953 In their first game ever played in Milwaukee, the transplanted Braves beat the Cardinals at County Stadium, 3-2, thanks to Billy Bruton’s walkoff home run off Gerry Staley in the tenth inning. The 27 year-old rookie centerfielder will not hit another home run this season.
1955 Elston Howard, who will be named the American League’s MVP in 1963, becomes the first black to play for the Yankees. The former Monarchs’ catcher will appear in nine All-Star Games and 54 World Series games, compiling a .274 batting average during his 14-year playing career.
1960 On Opening Day, Eddie Sawyer resigns as Phillies manager after a 9-2 loss to the Reds at Crosley Field. Gene Mauch, the skipper of the Red Sox AAA affiliate, the Minneapolis Millers (American Association), is named to replace Sawyer, who had compiled a 390-423 (.480) record in his eight-year tenure (1948-52, 1958-60) in the Philadelphia dugout.
1961 Frank Lary tosses a one-hitter on Opening Day, beating the White Sox at Tiger Stadium, 7-0. Chicago’s lone hit comes in the fifth inning when Jim Landis singles off the glove of shortstop Chico Fernandez.
1965 Willie Mays hits his 455th career home run, a third-inning two-run shot to left field off future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, in the Giants’ 5-2 victory over the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium. The round-tripper surpasses Yankees slugger Mickey Mantle’s current total, a lead the Say Hey Kid will not again relinquish to his rival center fielder.
1967 In the home opener at Yankee Stadium, southpaw Billy Rohr, making his major league debut, is one out from pitching a no-hitter when Elston Howard singles on a 3-2 pitch, ruining the 21 year-old rookie’s shot at immortality. A heartbroken six year-old fan sitting near the Boston dugout named John has to be consoled by his mother, Jackie Kennedy, although his beloved Red Sox beat the Bronx Bombers, 3-0.
1968 Jim Bunning becomes the first pitcher since Cy Young to collect a thousand strikeouts in both leagues when he whiffs eight Dodgers during his first win for the Pirates, a 3-0 complete-game victory in Chavez Ravine. The 37 year-old right-hander, acquired from the Phillies in December, sent 1,406 American League batters back to the bench with a bat in their hands for nine seasons while pitching for the Tigers at the start of his Hall of Fame career.
1969 In the first regular season game played outside the United States, the Expos play their first home game, treating 29,184 fans at Jarry Park to an 8-7 win over St. Louis. Montreal moundsman Larry Jaster throws baseball’s first international pitch to Cardinal left fielder Lou Brock.
1976 On the north side of Chicago, Dave Kingman launches a homer down the left field line that hits a house 530 feet from home plate. The Cubs, as well as the home, survive the right-fielder’s blast, defeating the Mets in the Wrigley Field contest, 6-5.
1978 The largest Opening Day crowd ever, 45,777, attends the Wrigley Field opener against Pittsburgh. Although the team gives up an early 3-0 lead, the hometown fans will not go home disappointed when Larry Biittner, leading off in the bottom of the ninth inning, homers giving the Cubs a 4-3 walk-off victory.
1982 At Watt Powell Park, the home of the International League’s Charleston Charlies, Toledo’s Randy Bush hits a home run that travels over 200 miles. The Mudhens’ utility player, not known for his power, hits a ball over the right field wall that lands on a moving coal train.
1990 Cal Ripken begins a streak which leads to the major league record for the most errorless games  and total chances  by a shortstop. At the end of June, the O’s infielder appeared to have made an error before the record was set, but official scorer Bill Steka changed his mind the next day, deciding to give Birds’ center fielder Mike Devereaux the error instead.
1993 After establishing the all-time career major league record last night with his 358th save, Cardinal reliever Lee Smith breaks the National League mark, recording his 301st in the Senior Circuit when he tosses a perfect 15th frame in the Cardinals’ 2-1 victory at Dodger Stadium. The right-handed reliever will extend the big league mark to 478, pitching for the Cubs (1980-1987), Red Sox (1988-1990), Cardinals (1990-1993), Yankees (1993), Orioles (1994), Angels (1995-1996), Reds (1996), and Expos (1997).
1998 Diamondback third baseman Matt Williams knots the score at 4-4 when he hits the first-ever grand slam in franchise History. The fourth-inning blast off southpaw Kent Mercker proves to be of little consequence in the expansion team’s 15-5 loss to the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. (Our thanks to M. Blake for suggesting this entry.)
1999 Tampa Bays’ designated hitter Jose Canseco becomes the 28th player in major league history to hit 400 home runs when he takes Kelvim Escobar deep down the left-field line in the top of the third inning in the Devil Rays’ 7-6 loss to Toronto at the SkyDome. The controversial slugger will finish his 17-year career in 2001 with 462 round-trippers.
2001 The Reds beat Al Leiter and the Mets, 1-0, to set the modern National League mark for not being shut out by an opponent, scoring in their 175th consecutive game. Ironically, the record-breaking contest comes against the last team and pitcher to blank the franchise, a 5-0 defeat at Cinergy Field in a playoff game to determine the NL Wild Card.
2001 A total of eleven one-run games (six in AL and five in NL) breaks a 1967 record set on May 30 when there were a combined 10 one-run contests in the major leagues.
2002 Mascots from all the major league teams as well as Sandy the Seagull, of the near-by farm team Brooklyn Cyclones, attend a birthday party held for Mr. Met at Shea Stadium. The Amazins’ 38 year-old bobble-headed good luck charm, believed to be the first live mascot in big league history, appeared in the flesh, so to speak, in 1964 after being an illustration on the cover of scorecards the season before.
2004 In the game played after teammate Mike Mussina earns his 200th career victory, Kevin Brown, who was obtained from the Dodgers for Jeff Weaver and two minor-leaguers in an off-season trade, reaches the same plateau, beating the Devil Rays, 5-1. It is the first time in baseball history members of the same pitching staff have won their 200th career victory in consecutive starts.
2004 Joining Johnny Lucadello (1940 Browns), U.L. Washington (1979 Royals), Bret Barberie (1991 Expos), and Brian Simmons (1998 White Sox), Aaron Miles becomes the fifth player in history to hit his first two career home runs from different sides of the plate in the same game. In a 14-4 drubbing of the Diamondbacks at Coors Field, the Rockies’ switch-hitting second baseman hits a solo homer in the first inning batting lefty off Elmer Dessens and then goes deep in the fifth inning with two on as a right-handed batter off southpaw Stephen Randolph.
2006 At the Mets Team Store beginning today through the April 17 tax deadline, fans can have their taxes done for free by Gilman Ciocia. The Shea TAX-TEAM will also prepare an automatic extension for those who are not ready to file.
2017 Hank Aaron, who also did the traditional toss for the Braves in the first and last contests at Turner Field, throws the ceremonial first pitch, with former long-time team manager Bobby Cox serving as the catcher, prior to the inaugural game at SunTrust Park. Atlanta’s center fielder Ender Inciarte records the first out, first hit, first run, and first home run in the team’s 5-2 victory over the Padres at the new ballpark.
2017 The first time in baseball history that a team starts three fly-chasers with the same surname in the same game occurs when left fielder Willy Garcia, center fielder Leury Garcia, and right fielder Avisail Garciaare appear in the Twins’ lineup at Target Field. In the 1960’s, the three Alou brothers, Felipe, Jesus, and Matty, patrolled the same outfield on three occasions, but the trio of siblings never started the contest at the same time.