Wednesday, March 31, 2010

5 Opening Day Milestones

The Major League Baseball logo.Image via Wikipedia

With only 5 days remaining in our countdown to Opening Day of the 2010 Major League Baseball season, let's review 5 of the most important milestones achieved on Opening Days past:

1. Opening Day, 1907
Roger Bresnahan, catcher for the New York Giants, takes the field wearing shin guards such as those worn in the British game of Cricket. It is believed that Bresnahan on this day became the first catcher in MLB history to wear such protective equipment. In short order, the rest of the catchers in the league would (probably gratefully!) follow suit.

2. Opening Day, 1910
In Washington, DC, the Washington Senators begin their season at home. President William Howard Taft tosses out a ceremonial first pitch, making him the first President to do so.

3. Opening Day, 1940
One of my favorite baseball trivia questions is, there has been exactly one game in MLB history where an entire team's roster finished the day with the exact same batting averages they had coming into the game - how did it happen? Answer: Bob Feller, on this day, took the mound for the Cleveland Indians and threw the only Opening Day No-Hitter in MLB history. The Chicago White Sox players all began the game with batting averages of .000; when they left the field hitless, those averages were still .000!

4. Opening Day, 1947
Jackie Robinson takes the field for the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Major League Baseball's sixty-plus-year-old color barrier is broken.

5. Opening Day, 1974
Hank Aaron connects for his 714th career homerun, tying Babe Ruth's lifetime total. Four days later, Aaron would pass the Babe, and then go on to finish his career with 755 - a record that would stand until Barry Bonds passed Aaron in a cloud of controversy. Bonds may have the higher total in the record books, but for my generation, Aaron will always be baseball's Home Run King.

Please feel free to share some of your favorite Opening Day moments in the comments below!

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