1928 Braves’ pitcher Charlie Robertson has his glove removed from the game by umpire Charley Moran after the Brooklyn Robins (Dodgers) complain the ball is acting strangely. The Boston hurler still manages to win, 3-2.
1929 On Opening Day, the Indians become the first team to wear numbers on the back of their jerseys on a permanent basis when they edge Detroit at League Park, 5-4. The Tribe beat the Yankees in becoming the first team team to regularly don digits when the earlier-scheduled Bronx Bombers’ contest against Boston is washed out in New York.
1929 In a 5-4 Opening Day victory over Detroit at League Park, Indians’ rookie center fielder Earl Averill homers on an 0-2 pitch off Detroit’s hurler Earl Whitehill, becoming the first American Leaguer to hit a home run in his first major league at-bat. The ‘Earl of Snohomish’ will also be the first future Hall of Famer to accomplish the feat.
1935 With the band playing Jingle Bells at Boston’s Braves Field on a snowy day with near freezing temperatures, Babe Ruth makes his National league debut, hitting a homer and a single off Giants’ legend Carl Hubbell. The Braves beat New York, 4-2, but the team will go on to win only 37 more games this season.
1938 The Cardinals deal a declining Dizzy Dean to Chicago for pitchers Curt Davis and Clyde Shoun and $200,000. During his four years in the Windy City, the future Hall of Fame right-hander will compile a 16-8 record for the Cubs.
1940 On a cool day, the White Sox team batting average does not change when Indian fireballer Bob Feller hurls an Opening Day no-hitter, beating Chicago at Comiskey Park, 1-0. Each Pale Hose batter starts and ends the game with a .000 BA.
1940 On Opening Day, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s errant ceremonial first pitch smashes a Washington Post camera. The Chief Executive is not charged with a wild pitch as Red Sox hurler Lefty Grove blanks the Senators, 1-0.
1946 On Opening Day, Mel Ott hits his 511th and final home run of his career in the Giants’ 8-4 victory over Philadelphia at the Polo Grounds, a ballpark in which he has hit 63% of his round-trippers. The 37 year-old player-manager, who has two hundred more homers than any other National Leaguer, will retire third on the all-time list, trailing only Babe Ruth (714) and Jimmie Foxx (534).
1946 Prior to the Senators’ 6-3 loss to the Red Sox at Griffith Stadium, Harry Truman becomes the first President to throw the ceremonial first pitch left-handed. On Opening Day in 1950, the southpaw Commander-in-Chief will toss two pitches, one left-handed and one right-handed.
1946 As the result of the newly painted grandstand seats having not yet completely dried, about 5,000 fans attending the Boston’s home opener against the Dodgers left Braves Field with green paint covering much of their clothing. The team take out newspaper ads to apologize to the affected patrons, agreeing to reimburse any expense caused by the mishap, an offer that will cost the team $6,000, after it generates nearly 13,000 claims, including some from as far away as California and Nebraska.
1948 The future super station WGN-TV televises a baseball game for the first time. With Jack Brickhouse doing the play-by-play, the White Sox beat the Cubs 4-1 in the first game of the Windy City Classic played at Wrigley Field.
1953 In a Forbes Field contest in which Pittsburgh will prevail, 14-12, the Phillies score nine times and the Pirates tally six runs in the fifth inning, tying the National League record when 15 batters cross home plate during the frame. Philadelphia’s second baseman Connie Ryan establishes a new team record with six hits, four singles, and two doubles, in six at bats.
1954 The Tigers refuse to play a game against Detroit scheduled for Good Friday, a somber Holy Day observed by many of their Christian fans. The contest will be made up on August 19, setting up a rare Thursday afternoon doubleheader, one of ten twin bills the Tribe will play at Cleveland Stadium this season.
1957 Prior to the Phillies’ home opener, a statue of Connie Mack is dedicated as part of the Opening Day ceremonies. The eight-foot statue of the ‘Tall Tactician’, which depicts the A’s long-time owner and manager with one foot in the dugout and one foot on the top step of it, waving his trademark scorecard to position his players, was created by well-known sculptor Harry Rosin.
The ‘Tall Tactician’
1957 Andre Rodgers becomes the first Bahamian to play in the major leagues when he grounds into a 6-4 force play facing Bob Friend in the top of the second inning of the Giants’ 9-2 loss in Pittsburgh’s Forbes Field. The 22 year-old shortstop’s roommate and fellow Caribbean, Valmy Thomas, entering the game in the sixth to replace catcher Wes Westrum, also becomes the first native of the Virgin Islands to play in big league game.
1959 Dave Philley, who established a big-league mark by getting his eighth straight pinch hit on the final day of the campaign last year, extends the remarkable streak when he doubles off Lew Burdette in his first pinch hitting appearance this season. Although Rusty Staub of the Mets will tie his single season mark in 1983, the Phillies’ premier pinch-hitter will remain the leader for consecutive hits coming off the bench with nine, albeit over a span of two years.
1962 Philadelphia’s Cal McLish and Bob Gibson of the Cardinals both fail to finish an inning when each starter allows six runs to score in the first frame. Ernie Broglio gets the victory, tossing eight 1/3 innings of shutout ball in the Redbirds’ 12-6 victory over the Phillies at Connie Mack Stadium.
1964 Shea Stadium is christened with Holy Water from the Gowanus Canal, which passes near Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, the Dodgers’ old home, and Holy Water from the Harlem River at the location where it flows past the Polo Grounds, the once longtime ballpark of the Giants and the Mets’ home for the past two seasons. The stadium’s namesake Bill Shea, the lawyer credited with bringing the National League back to New York, pours the water from two bottles, blessing the Flushing Meadow structure on the eve of its debut.
1966 On the second day of the season, Jack Fischer gives up just five hits in his complete-game effort, beating Atlanta at Shea Stadium, 3-1. The win represents the Mets’ earliest victory in franchise history.
1972 On the second day of the season, Burt Hooton, making his fourth career start, no-hits the Phillies at Wrigley Field, 4-0. The Cubs hurler becomes the 12th rookie to throw a no-hitter.
1975 After making the second of his two poor starts for the Dodgers, Juan Marichal, who signed with the team as a free agent, appears in his final major league game. The 37 year-old ‘Dominican Dandy’ finishes his 16-year Hall of Fame career with more complete games (244) than the total of his victories (243).
1978 Cardinal Bob Forsch no-hits the Philadelphia Phillies 5-0. Less than a year later, Bob’s brother Ken of the Houston Astros will pitch a no-hitter against Atlanta, making the siblings the first brothers to throw no-hitters in the big leagues.
1983 Steve Garvey appears in his 1,118th straight game, breaking the National League record established by Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Williams playing for the Cubs in 1970. The Padres’ first baseman, who spent 13 seasons with the Dodgers before signing as a free agent with San Diego in the offseason, will see his consecutive game streak end at 1,207, the third-longest span in major league history at the time, due to a dislocated thumb suffered as a result of a collision at home plate during the first game of a doubleheader in 1983.
1984 In his first three at-bats, A’s Dave Kingman hits three home runs, including a grand slam, driving in eight runs against the Mariners in a 9-6 victory. ‘Sky King’ will compile five three-round-tripper games during his 16-year career, second only to Johnny Mize, who accomplished the feat six times from 1938 to 1950 while with the Cardinals and Yankees.
1988 The Braves establish a National League record for losses at the start of a season by losing their tenth consecutive game. With a 7-4 defeat to the Dodgers, Atlanta surpasses the mark, previously owned by four teams, including the infamous 1919 Braves and the 1962 Mets.
1989 Blue Jay third baseman Kelly Gruber becomes the first player to hit for the cycle in franchise history when he singles in the eighth inning of the team’s 15-8 win against Kansas City. The 27 year-old All-Star infielder’s Toronto teammates buy him a tricycle in recognition of the Exhibition Stadium accomplishment.
1994 After being escorted into Mile High Stadium by a Colorado National Guard contingent, the ‘dinosaur egg’, which was ‘uncovered’ during the excavation for Coors Field, hatches, revealing an anthropomorphic purple triceratops named Dinger, the Rockies’ new mascot. The use of a three-horned dinosaur as the team’s good luck charm was inspired by the actual discovery of a number of dinosaur fossils throughout the construction site of the new ballpark, including a 7-foot-long triceratops skull that weighed half ton.
1997 The Cubs set the record for worst start in National League history when they extend their losing streak to 12 games with a 4-0 loss to Colorado at Wrigley Field. Chicago surpasses the overall Senior Circuit mark of 0-11 established in 1884 by the Detroit Wolverines.
1999 Jim Leyland becomes the 45th manager to win 1,000 games when his Rockies beat San Diego, 6-4. The Colorado skipper won 851 games for the Pirates during his 11-year tenure with the team, and another 146 victories and a World Championship for the Marlins during his two seasons with Florida.
2000 Indian starter Chuck Finley, who was already the only pitcher to strike out four batters in one inning twice, does it for the third time. The southpaw, who strikes out Tom Evans, Royce Clayton, Chad Curtis (who takes first on a passed ball), and Rafael Palmeiro in the third inning, goes the distance, getting the complete-game victory when Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome hit back-to-back homers in the Tribe’s 2-1 walk-off win over the Rangers.
2006 Thanks to the outstanding pitching of Brett Myers, and the Phillies bullpen, Philadelphia beats the Rockies, 1-0. The Colorado defeat marks the first time the team has lost a 1-0 decision during their decade of playing at Coors Field.
2008 Kyle Kendrick, who posted a 10-4 record and an ERA under 4.00 last season as a rookie, is stunned when he hears he has been apparently dealt to Japan for Takeru Kobayashi, a champion hot dog eater. The bogus trade, an elaborate hoax which includes skipper Charlie Manuel, assistant GM Ruben Amaro Jr., fellow hurler Brett Myers, and members of the media, totally ‘punk’d’ the Phillies sophomore pitcher.
2009 Grady Sizemore’s grand slam spoils the debut of the new Yankee Stadium, an eventual Cleveland 10-2 rout over the Bronx Bombers. The Indians outfielder’s decisive blast off Damaso Marte is the keynote hit of the Tribe’s nine-run seventh inning, a frame that started with the score tied at 1-1.
2011 Johnny Damon’s walk-off single accounts for the Rays’ 4-3 victory over Minnesota. The ninth-inning hit results in the fifth consecutive game-winning RBI for the 37 year-old designated hitter, the first time the feat has been accomplished in nine years.
2011 Owasso High School senior Dylan Bundy, who will finish the scholastic season with an 11-0 record along with a 0.20 ERA and 158 strikeouts/5 walks in 71 innings pitched, throws a fastball that is clocked at 100 mph. The 18 year-old Oklahoman will be selected by the Orioles as their first round pick (4th overall) in the June MLB Amateur Draft.
2013 In tribute to the victims of yesterday’s Boston Marathon bombings, the fans at Yankee Stadium sing Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline, the anthem of their American League East rivals. Prior to the contest against Arizona, the Bronx Bombers display their logo next to the Red Sox emblem with the words “United We Stand” on an outside video board.
2015 Giancarlo Stanton becomes the Marlins’ all-time home run leader when he goes deep off Dillon Gee in the first inning of the team’s 7-5 loss to New York at Citi Field. The 25 year-old right fielder’s two-run blast, his 155th round-tripper for Miami, surpasses the franchise mark established in 2010 by Dan Uggla.