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This Day in Baseball History
April 6th

39 Fact(s) Found
1970 Delayed at the White House until his Supreme Court nominee Harold Carswell won a test vote in the Senate, President Richard Nixon misses the opportunity to throw the ceremonial first pitch in the Senators' home opener at RFK Stadium. David Eisenhower, Ike's grandson, substitutes for his father-in-law, tossing the traditional pitch before Washington's 5-0 loss to the Tigers.
1971 Giants' center fielder Willie Mays, a month shy of his fortieth birthday, homers on Opening Day and will hit home runs in the next three games to tie a major league record. The 'Say Hey Kid' will hit 15 round-trippers before the All-Star break, collecting only three more to finish the year thanks to an abundance of base-on-balls, 30 more this season than he had at any time in his career.
1973 Richard Nixon becomes the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in a contest held outside Washington, DC. The Commander in Chief does the honors before Nolan Ryan and the Angels beat the Royals at Anaheim Stadium, 3-2.

Left to right: Commissioner Bowie Kuhn, former POW USAF Major David Luna, Angels owner Gene Autry, and President Nixon.

1973 Orlando Cepeda, who was specifically signed to fill the newly created position of the designated hitter, goes 0-for-6 when the Red Sox pound out 20 hits in a 15-5 rout of the Yankees at Fenway Park on Opening Day. The future Hall of Famer misses out on a place in baseball history when the first inning is extended by a misjudged bloop hit and two walks, giving Ron Blomberg, batting sixth for the Bronx Bombers, the opportunity to be the first player to come to the plate as the DH.
1973 The Yankees become the last American League team to abandon their flannel uniforms in favor of polyester. The team's new look on the road features white piping around the words New York on the front and the numbers on the back.


On Opening Day at Three Rivers Stadium in front of a record crowd of 51,695, the Pirates retire Roberto Clemente's uniform number 21 posthumously. The Pittsburgh right fielder died in a plane crash on New Year's Eve, attempting to provide relief to earthquake-stricken Managua, Nicaragua.

1973 At Fenway Park, Ron Blomberg of the Yankees becomes the first designated hitter in major league history. In the historic plate appearance, Boomer draws a first-inning bases-loaded walk on a 3-1 pitch off Luis Tiant and will become the first DH to get a hit when he singles in the third frame of the 15-5 Red Sox rout of the Bronx Bombers.
1973 At the Oakland Coliseum, Tony Oliva becomes the first designated hitter to homer. The Twins DH's first-inning two-run round-tripper off future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter helps the team defeat the A's, 8-3.
1974 The Bronx Bombers begin their two-year stint at Shea Stadium, where the team will compile a 172-150 (.534) record during the renovations to the Stadium, with a 6-1 victory over Cleveland. The 'other' NY fans cheer loudly when the scoreboard posts the Mets' 5-4 loss in Philadelphia.
1974 At Veterans Stadium, Phillies' third baseman Mike Schmidt hits a ninth-inning two-run home run off Tug McGraw to beat the Mets on Opening Day, 5-4. The walk-off homer is the first of the league-leading 36 dingers the third baseman will hit this season.
1977 For the second time in nine years, a new franchise makes its major league debut in Seattle. Frank Tanana and the Angels blank the Mariners, 7-0, in the first regular-season game at the Kingdome.
1982 A freak massive spring snowstorm brings subfreezing temperatures, high winds, and foot or more precipitation across the northeast. The blizzard-like conditions cause the postponement of home openers for the Yankees, Tigers, White Sox, Brewers, Indians, Phillies, and Pirates.
1984 After he commits a two-out error in the bottom of the eighth inning to allow the eventual winning run to score in the Yankees' 7-6 loss to the Rangers at Arlington Stadium, the team sends shortstop Bobby Meacham to the minors after the fourth game of the season on the orders of owner George Steinbrenner. The move, which stuns manager Yogi Berra, will be a precursor to the 'Boss' firing him next season after the team drops ten of its first sixteen decisions.
1988 The Blue Jays' reluctant designated hitter, George Bell, follows up his three home run Opening Day performance by going 5-for-5 (three singles and two doubles), leading Toronto over the Royals, 11-4. Considered a defensive liability, last year's American League MVP will return to left field full-time.
1988 Pat Borders becomes the first player in American League history to drive in five runs in his major league debut when he collects two singles and a triple in the Blue Jays’ 11-4 victory over Kansas City at Royals Stadium. The 24-year-old rookie catcher joins Walter Mueller (1922 Pirates) and Joe Cunningham (1954 Cardinals), who both accomplished the feat in the Senior Circuit.
1992 On Opening Day in front of a packed house at Seattle's Kingdome, the Rangers score nine runs in the top of the eighth inning, beating the Mariners, 12-10. Texas had been trailing 8-3 before the late-inning barrage.
1993 Blue Jay right-hander Jack Morris sets a major league record when he makes his 14th consecutive Opening Day start, taking the loss when the Mariners beat the team, 8-1, at the Kingdome. The 37-year-old has an 8-6 record in his first-day assignments, starting in 1980 with the Tigers (10 seasons) and the Twins (1 season).
1997 After a 3-2 loss to Houston at the Astrodome, the Cardinals remain winless after the season's first six games. The losing streak marks the Redbirds' worst start in the 106-year history of the franchise.
2001 In the home opener at Veterans Stadium, Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning's number 14 jersey is retired. Kentucky's Republican U.S. senator, who compiled a 224-184 record in his 17-year career pitching for the Tigers, Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers, joins Richie Ashburn (1), Robin Roberts (36), Steve Carlton (32), and Mike Schmidt (20) as the fifth player to have his number retired by the Phillies.
2001 After a disappointing 0-4 start on the road, the Brewers get into the winner's circle in front of President George W. Bush when the team beats the Reds, 5-4, in the major league debut of Miller Park. Richie Sexson's 435-foot home run in the eighth inning breaks a 4-4 deadlock, giving Milwaukee its first win.

The Phillies placed the letter "P" on their Wall of Fame in tribute to Pete Alexander, who averaged 27 wins during his first seven seasons with the Phillies. The Hall of Fame right-hander won 28 games as a freshman in 1911, which remains the modern rookie record.

2001 After winning on Opening Day, the Devils Rays lose their third consecutive game, giving up precisely 11 runs in each defeat. Following the 11-8 and 11-0 losses to the Blue Jays at Tropicana Field, Tampa Bay drops an 11-4 decision on the road at Fenway Park to the Red Sox.

2001 After President George W. Bush throws the ceremonial first pitch at Miller Park, the Brewers open their new home with a 5-4 win over the Reds, thanks to Richie Sexson's eighth-inning solo homer and David Weathers tossing a perfect ninth for the save. The move from County Stadium, initially scheduled for last season, was delayed following a construction accident that claimed the lives of three ironworkers, Jeffrey Wischer, William DeGrave, and Jerome Starr.
2004 Nearly 8,000 fans select Still, We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie in an online poll as the title of a documentary about the 2003 season. Other choices offered by the team and Boston Globe websites included This Is the Year, The Ecstasy and the Agony, and Always the Bridesmaid, in addition to a fan's wry suggestion of I Know What You Did Last Summer, I Wish I Didn't Know What You Did Last Fall.
2004 Adrian Beltre becomes the 36th player in baseball history to hit 100 home runs before the age of 25. The Dodger third baseman joins Cal Ripken Jr. and Lou Gehrig to have precisely 100 homers on their 25th birthday.
2004 On Opening Day at Bank One Ballpark, Diamondbacks' outfielder Luis Gonzalez and Rockies' second baseman Luis Gonzalez homered, making it only the second time in major league history players with the same first and last names homered in the same game. The first occurrence happened when Ken Griffey Jr., and his dad, Ken Griffey, playing for the Mariners, hit back-to-back homers off Angels' hurler Kirk McCaskill in 1990.
2004 David Aardsma surpasses Hank Aaron in an unlikely category. 'Hammerin' Hank' will no longer be the first player named alphabetically in baseball history books when the Giants hurler makes his major-league debut against the Astros.

2005 At Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, the Nationals beat the Phillies, 7-3, winning their first game representing Washington, D.C. The historic victory features the team's center fielder Brad Wilkerson completing the cycle for the second time in his career.

2006 In a 10-6 loss to the Tigers at Ameriquest Field, Texas knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, in his only appearance of the season, ties a post-1900 major-league record shared by five other major leaguers when he gives up six home runs, five of which are solo shots. St. Louis Maroons' right-hander Charlie Sweeney is the only hurler to allow more round-trippers in a game, giving up seven gopher balls in an 1886 contest against the Detroit Wolverines.
2009 In front of a sold-out crowd at the Metrodome, Ken Griffey, Jr. hits a record-tying eighth Opening Day home run in his first game back with the Mariners since being traded before the start of the 2000 season. The "Kid's" historic home run, a sixth-inning blast off Francisco Liriano, ties him with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson, who established the mark playing for the Indians in 1975 during his first at-bat as the major league's first black manager.

2009 In Florida's 12-6 victory over the Nationals at Dolphin Stadium, Emilio Bonifacio hits an inside-the-park home run, the first on Opening Day since Red Sox outfielder Carl Yastrzemski accomplished the feat in 1968. The Marlins' third baseman's round-tripper, one of his four hits, is his career's first big-league homer.
2009 Arizona switch-hitter Felipe Lopez becomes the first player to homer from both sides of the plate on Opening Day after going deep in the top of the fourth inning off Glendon Rusch after connecting off Colorado starter Aaron Cook to lead off the game. An inning later, the Diamondback second baseman's unique feat is matched by Tony Clark, making the pair the first set of teammates to homer from both sides of the plate on the first day of the season.
2012 Adam Dunn ties a major league record, hitting his eighth Opening Day home run, a leadoff sixth-inning shot off Texas starter Colby Lewis in Chicago's 3-2 loss in Arlington. The White Sox' DH, who hit two homers in the first game of the season twice while with Cincinnati in 2005 and 2007, equals the mark established by Frank Robinson and Ken Griffey Jr. as the only other players with eight round-trippers in openers.

On Opening Day, the Rays retire number 66 in honor of their late senior baseball adviser Don Zimmer, who passed away in June at 83. 'Popeye,' a player, coach, and manager with a dozen different teams, wore the number in his final season with the organization to represent the years he worked in professional baseball.

2015 The Mets start 41-year-old Bartolo Colon on Opening Day, much to the chagrin of many fans who hoped one of their young guns, Matt Harvey and Jacob deGrom, would get the coveted assignment. The oldest pitcher ever to get the nod on Opening Day in franchise history doesn't disappoint when he gives up one run on three hits, besting Washington's $210-million ace Max Scherzer in the team's 3-1 victory at Nationals Park.
2016 Trevor Story becomes the first major leaguer to hit a home run in his first three major league games when he goes deep in the first inning of the Rockies' 4-3 victory over the Diamondbacks at Chase Park. The 23-year-old shortstop is also the first rookie to have the round-trippers account for each of his first big league four hits.

2016 The Padres, with their 7-0 loss at Petco Park, become the first team to be shut out in the first three games of the regular season, surpassing the dubious mark set by the Browns, who opened the 1943 campaign with 26 straight scoreless innings. San Diego also dropped their first two decisions of the three-game series against the Dodgers, 15-0 and 3-0.

2019 In Minnesota's 10-4 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park, Jorge Polanco hits for the franchise's 15th cycle, including the four before moving in 1961 from Washington, DC. The Twins' shortstop completes the feat with a seventh-inning double, the fourth of the five hits he collects.
2021 Oakland's begins the season 0-6 when the team drops a 5-1 decision to Dodgers, matching the 1916 Philadelphia A's, who posted a 36-117 mark that season for the worse record in franchise history. The club has been outscored 50-13 in their first half-dozen games, losing all six by at least four runs and four times by at least seven runs.

39 Fact(s) Found