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This Day in Baseball History
April 2nd

46 Fact(s) Found
1931 Thought by some to be a belated April Fools' Day hoax, Chattanooga Lookouts' relief pitcher Jackie Mitchell, a 17-year-old girl, strikes out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig in the first inning of an exhibition game. According to legend, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis will void the teenager's professional contract, declaring women are unfit to play baseball as the game is "too strenuous."
1947 The Indians purchased 26-year-old outfielder George Metkovich from the Red Sox. According to legend, Oakland Oaks' skipper Casey Stengel, who will manage the Californian next season in the PCL, coins the nickname 'Catfish' after the southpaw flycatcher injures himself trying to extract a hook from the bottom-dweller.
1952 In Denver, Giants' Monte Irvin breaks his ankle sliding into third base during an exhibition game against Cleveland. The future Hall of Fame outfielder will appear in 46 games this season, mainly as a pinch-hitter, batting .310.
1962 The Indians trade Gold Glove first baseman Vic Power and left-handed pitcher Dick Stigman to the Twins for 20-game loser Pedro Ramos, who will compile a 26-30 record during his 2+ seasons with the Tribe. Power will contribute 2+ solid seasons with Minnesota, batting .278, and their new southpaw will post a .702 winning percentage, the best in the American League this season, winning 12 of 17 decisions.
1969 After Donn Clendenon refuses to report to his new team when traded to the Astros, the Expos resign their reluctant first baseman. Montreal will send Jack Billingham, Skip Guinn, and $100,000 to the Astros to complete the deal that brings Rusty Staub north of the border.
1972 After playing a round of golf in West Palm Beach with his coaches on Easter Sunday, Mets manager Gil Hodges suffers a fatal heart attack two days shy of his 48th birthday. The club will name the current first-base coach and former Yankee skipper Yogi Berra to run the team when the strike-delayed season begins.
1972 Hank Aaron, Rico Carty, and Orlando Cepeda start in an exhibition game, marking the first time the trio of sluggers, sidelined with various injuries over the past two seasons, has appeared together in the Braves lineup since 1970. Atlanta will finish in fourth place, posting a disappointing 70-84 record in the NL West.
1976 In a blockbuster trade a week before the season starts, the Orioles deal Don Baylor, Paul Mitchell, and Mike Torrez to the A's in exchange for Ken Holtzman, Reggie Jackson, and Bill Van Bommel. A month will pass before Jackson will report to his new team, accounting for Baltimore's slow start in April.
1982 During an exhibition contest at Jack Murphy Stadium, Steve McCatty steps to home plate with a 15-inch toy bat as A's manager Billy Martin instructed, furious that a DH isn't being allowed because the meaningless game is taking place in an NL park. After plate umpire Jim Quick refuses to let the Oakland starter use the prop, the right-hander takes three called strikes with a real bat.
1984 For the first time in ten years, the Mets lose on Opening Day, bowing to the Reds, 8-1. The last time the team dropped a season opener was in 1974, when Mike Schmidt hit a two-run walk-off home run off Tug McGraw, giving the Phillies a 5-4 victory over New York at Veterans Stadium.
1992 The Phillies acquire right-hander Curt Schilling from Houston for Jason Grimsley, who will never throw a pitch in an Astros uniform. 'Schil' plays nine seasons in the City of Brotherly Love, compiling a 101-78 (.564) record and a 3.35 ERA during his 242 appearances.
1995 Having the first 23 days of this season canceled and 252 games of the last season lost, the owners accept the players' March 31 unconditional offer to play a 144-game schedule. The players return to work when a U.S. District judge issues an injunction restoring the expired agreement's terms and conditions.


1996 With an Opening Day 7-1 victory over the Indians at Jacobs Field, Joe Torre wins the first of his 1,173 victories as the Yankees manager. During his 12-year tenure, the Bronx Bombers will reach the postseason each year, winning ten American League East Division titles, six American League pennants, and four World Championships.
1996 Tiger first baseman Cecil Fielder steals the first base of his eleven-year career in his 1,097th major league game, establishing the most extended duration a player has ever gone without recording a stolen base. The feat is so unexpected that the Metrodome crowd gives 'Big Daddy' a standing ovation, to which he responds with a good-natured tip of the helmet.
1996 On Opening Day, Derek Jeter hits a home run off Dennis Martinez in New York's 7-1 victory over the Indians at Jacobs Field. The 22-year-old infielder becomes the first Yankee rookie to play shortstop at the start of the season since 1962 when Tom Tresh filled in for Tony Kubek, who reported to duty to his recently federalized National Guard unit.
1996 In a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game against Robert Morris, the St. Francis Fighting Saints, a Division II team, sends 30 batters to the plate in the first inning, scoring an NCAA-record 26 runs before adding another 22 runs in the second inning, four in the third, and 19 in the fourth in the team's 71-1 victory in Joliet (IL). Eagles' coach Gerald McNamara, who asked for the contest to end after four frames, will watch his team finish the season with a 0-32 record.
1997 Gary Sheffield (.314, 42, 120) and the Marlins agree to a six-year, $61 million contract extension. The deal is the largest in total dollars in baseball history but has only the third-highest annual salary, behind Albert Belle's (1996-2000 White Sox—$11 million) and Barry Bonds' (1993-98 Giants—$11,131,157).
1997 For the first time in major league history, one player's salary is more than a whole team's payroll. The White Sox will pay Albert Belle $10 million for the season, $928,333 more than the entire Pirate payroll.
1998 With the help of Jeromy Burnitz's grand slam in the top of the frame, the Brewers record their first National League victory when they beat Atlanta in 11 innings, 8-6. The franchise, which started in Seattle in 1969 before moving to Milwaukee a year later, played in the American League for the first 29 years before switching circuits, a move necessitated by restructuring each league from two divisions into three.

2001 On Opening Day, Yankee fireballer Roger Clemens becomes the all-time AL career strikeout leader, moving ahead of Walter Johnson when he whiffs Royals' Joe Randa for his 3,509th Junior Circuit victim. Passing the 'Big Train,' the 'Rocket' now takes over the seventh spot in major league history.

2001 🇯🇵 For the first time in major league history, a Japanese-born position player participates in a regular-season major league game. Hitless in his first three at-bats, Ichiro Suzuki singles in the seventh inning to ignite a two-run rally and bunts for a hit in the eighth in his Mariner debut at Safeco Field.
2002 In his major league debut, right-hander Jon Rauch of the White Sox pitches a perfect 1.1 innings in a 7-4 loss to the Mariners at Safeco Field. The 6' -11" Louisville, Kentucky native, a member of the 2000 U.S. Olympic team, becomes the tallest pitcher to appear in a big-league game, surpassing by an inch six other hurlers, most notably Hall of Famer Randy Johnson.
2003 Mike Bordick's record streak for games and chances without an error by a shortstop ends when Yankee outfielder Bubba Trammell's third-inning grounder tips off his glove. After converting a fielder's choice in the first inning, the Blue Jay infielder misplays his second opportunity, establishing 544 chances and 110 consecutive games without an error, a new major league mark for shortstops.
2003 According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Tigers become the first major league team to have four pitchers make their big league debut during the same game. Twenty-year-old starter Jeremy Bonderman, who gives up six runs on nine hits in four innings, is followed by rookies Wilfredo Ledezma, Chris Spurling, and Matt Roney in the 8-1 loss to the Twins.
2003 Todd Zeile homers in his first at-bat as a Yankee, becoming the only major leaguer to hit a home run for ten different teams, surpassing Tommy Davis, who went deep for nine big-league clubs. In addition to homering with the Bronx Bombers, the infielder has also gone deep for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Orioles, Dodgers, Marlins, Rangers, Mets, and Rockies.
2003 At 27 years and 249 days, Alex Rodriguez becomes the youngest player in major league history to hit 300 home runs. The Ranger shortstop's fifth-inning three-run blast off Anaheim's Ramon Ortiz in the Rangers' 11-5 loss at Edison Field surpasses the mark established in 1935 by Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx, who had accomplished the feat when being 79 days older than A-Rod.
2007 During the Royals' Opening Day ESPN telecast, commentator Joe Morgan announces the team plans to honor the late Buck O'Neil by placing a fan who best exemplifies his spirit in a special seat during every home game at Kauffman Stadium. The first person to sit in the Buck O'Neil Legacy Seat, easily identified by its red color in a sea of blue behind home plate, is the Negro League legend's younger brother, Warren.

2007 Cincinnati Mayor Mark Mallory's ceremonial first pitch before the Reds' home opener lands thirty feet up the first baseline from home plate, widely missing its intended target, a bewildered Eric Davis. The terrible toss will receive national media attention, including the politician receiving a second chance on ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live, an opportunity in which His Honor will also widely miss the mark.

2007 In his first big-league at-bat, rookie third baseman Alex Gordon, the Royals' #1 pick and second overall in 2005, receives a standing ovation from the Kauffman Stadium crowd when he steps to the plate. The former Golden Spikes Award is the fourth player in franchise history to make his major league debut on Opening Day.
2007 Josh Hamilton, the Reds' 25-year-old rookie, who has overcome a nearly career-ending history of substance abuse, receives a 22-second standing ovation from the fans at Great American Ball Park as he makes his major league debut. The former number one draft choice lines out pinch-hitting for pitcher Kirk Saarloos in the eighth inning and then plays left field for the remainder of the 5-1 Opening Day victory over Chicago.
2007 Mike Hampton, who signed the richest contract ever given to a pitcher, makes his Rockies debut, winning when the team blanks the Cardinals, 8-0. The $123.8-million southpaw gets off to a quick 9-2 start for Colorado but will finish his stay in the mountains 21-28, with an ERA of 5.75 over the next one and a half seasons before being dealt to the Braves.
2007 In a 9-5 loss to New York, Elijah Dukes of the Devil Rays becomes the 99th major leaguer to homer in his first official at-bat. The 22-year-old rookie center fielder is the first to accomplish the feat at Yankee Stadium on Opening Day.

2007 For only the fourth time in major league history, a hurler under 21 wins an Opening Day assignment when 20-year-old Venezuelan right-hander Felix Hernandez pitches eight strong innings in the Mariners' 4-0 victory over the A's at Safeco Field. Fernando Valenzuela of the Dodgers was the last pitcher 'not of age' to accomplish the feat, beating the Astros, 2-0, in 1981.
2007 Tony Pena Jr.'s two Opening Day triples help the Royals rip the Red Sox at Kauffman Stadium, 7-1. The rookie shortstop, the son of a Yankee coach, is the first major leaguer to hit a pair of three-baggers on Opening Day since Tommy Henrich did it for the Bronx Bombers in 1950.
2008 In the sixth inning of the Dodgers' 3-2 victory over the Giants, Ed Montague tosses Larry Bowa for not staying in the third-base coaching box after warning him to obey the new rule following the tragic death of Tulsa Drillers first-base coach Mike Coolbaugh. LA manager Joe Torre and bench coach Bob Schaefer need to restrain the former infielder and skipper during his "inappropriate and aggressive" behavior towards the umpires, leading to a three-game suspension.

2008 Kevin Youkilis establishes the longest errorless streak by a first baseman, playing the field flawlessly for 194 games. The Red Sox infielder, who hasn't committed an error at first base since July 4, 2006, breaks Steve Garvey's mark set with the Padres from 1983 to 1985.
2011 Ian Kinsler leads off the bottom of the first with a round-tripper off Red Sox' Jon Lackey to become the first major leaguer to hit leadoff homers in each of his team's first two games. On Opening Day, the Texas second baseman also took Boston's Jon Lester deep as the Rangers' first batter of the season.
2011 Ichiro Suzuki breaks the Mariner's franchise record with an infield single off A's reliever Brian Fuentes in the team's 5-2 victory over Oakland. The Seattle right fielder, beginning his 11th season with the M's, surpasses the 2,247 hit total established by Hall of Famer Edgar Martinez, Seattle's designated hitter from 1987 to 2004.
2011 David Ortiz breaks the major league record for RBIs by a designated hitter, established by Seattle's Edgar Martinez. 'Big Papi,' who hit a two-run homer in the second to tie the mark, drives in Alex Gonzalez for his record-setting 1,004th career run batted in as a DH with a fourth-inning groundout to first base in the Red Sox' 12-5 loss to Texas.
2012 Matt Cain, the longest-tenured Giant, signs a five-year extension with the team that keeps the 6'5" Tennessean with San Francisco until 2017. The 27-year-old right-hander has been the staff's workhorse, averaging 32 starts during the last six seasons.
2013 Marwin Gonzalez's two-out, ninth-inning single, a grounder that goes through the box between the pitcher's legs, spoils Yu Darvish's bid for a perfect game. The 26-year-old Ranger starter is removed from the Minute Maid Park contest after giving up the hit and watches reliever Michael Kirkman close the Texas 7-0 victory over Houston.

2014 With the score tied 3–3 in the bottom of the 13th inning and the bases loaded with no outs, the Cubs turned a 7-2-3 double play against the Pirates. Left fielder Junior Lake, playing in the infield near the third baseline, fields Clint Barmes' grounder throwing home for one out, with the catcher relaying the ball to first base to complete the unusual twin-killing in the Pirates' eventual 4-3 walk-off victory three innings later at PNC Park.
2014 Rookie catcher Tony Sanchez, pinch-hitting in the bottom of the 16th inning, singles in the winning run to end the 5-hour and 55-minute marathon, now the longest game in Pittsburgh history by time. The 4-3 victory over Chicago took six minutes longer than when the Bucs beat the Astros, 8-7, in an 18-inning contest in 2006.
2017 In the Diamondbacks' 6-5 Opening Day walk-off victory over the Giants, Madison Bumgarner becomes the first pitcher to hit two home runs in the season's first game. The 27-year-old southpaw retires the first 16 batters he faces, striking out 11 with no walks in seven innings of work at Chase Field.
2019 The Braves and Ronald Acuña Jr. agree on an eight-year, $100-million extension, keeping the 2018 Rookie of the Year under contract through the 2026 season. The 21-year-old All-Star outfielder becomes the youngest player in baseball history to sign a deal worth at least $100 million.
2021 In his second game and first in the starting lineup, White Sox DH Yermín Mercedes goes 5-for-5, collecting his first five career hits, in the team's 12-8 victory at Angel Stadium of Anaheim. The 28-year-old catcher, who strokes four singles and a double, becomes the third major leaguer to get five hits in his first major league start, joining Cecil Travis (1933 Senators) and Fred Clarke (1894 Louisville Colonels).

46 Fact(s) Found