A delayed President Richard Nixon is unable to throw the ceremonial first pitch in the Senators' home opener at RFK Stadium. David Eisenhower, his son-in-law and the grandson of the former president, throws out the first pitch prior to Washington's 5-0 loss to the Tigers.
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.
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 bring relief aid to earthquake-stricken Managua, Nicaragua.
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.
Richard Nixon becomes the first president to throw the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Day in a contest held outside of Washington, D.C. The Commander-in-Chief does the honors before Nolan Ryan and the Angels beat the Royals at Anaheim Stadium, 3-2.
At the Oakland Coliseum, Tony Oliva becomes the first designated hitter ever to homer. The Twins DH's first inning two-run round-tripper off future Hall of Famer Catfish Hunter helps to defeat the A's, 8-3.
Orlando Cepeda, who was specifically signed to fill the role of the newly created position of 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 after the top of 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.
The Yankees become the final 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 as well as around the numbers on the back.
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.
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.
For the second time in nine years, a new franchise makes its major league debut in Seattle. The Mariners lose their first regular-season game at the Kingdome to Frank Tanana and the Angels, 7-0.
A freak heavy spring snow storm brings subfreezing temperatures across the northeast and midwest and causes the postponement of home openers for the Yankees, Tigers, White Sox, Brewers, Indians, Phillies, and Pirates.
After committing 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, New York shortstop Bobby Meacham is sent 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 prove to be a precursor to the 'Boss' firing him next season after the team drops ten of its first sixteen decisions.
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.
On Opening Day in front of a full house at Seattle's Kingdome, the Rangers score nine runs in the top of the eighth inning and hold on to beat the Mainers, 12-10. Texas had been trailing 8-3 before the late inning barrage.
Jack Morris sets a major league record when he makes his 14th consecutive Opening Day start, taking the loss in the Blue Jays' 8-1 defeat to Seattle at the Kingdome. During the span, which started in 1980 with the Tigers (10 seasons) and continued with the Twins (1 season), the 37 year-old right-hander has compiled an 8-6 record in his first day assignments.
With a 3-2 loss to Houston at the Astrodome, the Cardinals remain winless after the first six games of the season. It is the Redbirds' worst start in the 106-year history of the franchise.
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.
The Brewers, after a disappointing 0-4 start on the road, get into the winner's circle in front of President George W. Bush, as they beat the Reds, 5-4, in the major league debut of Miller Park. Sean Casey hits the park's first homer, but Richie Sexson's 435-foot home run in the eighth inning breaks a 4-4 deadlock, giving Milwaukee its first win.
In an on-line poll in which nearly 8,000 fans participated, "Still, We Believe: The Boston Red Sox Movie'' is selected 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.''
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 exactly 100 homers on their 25th birthday.
On Opening Day at Bank One Ballpark, Diamondbacks’ outfielder Luis Gonzalez and Rockies’ second baseman Luis Gonzalez each 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.
It took a nearly a half of a century, but Hank Aaron is finally surpassed in an unlikely category. ‘Hammerin’ Hank’ will no longer be the first player named alphabetically in baseball history books when Giants’ pitcher David Aardsma makes his major-league debut against the Astros.
At Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park, the Nationals win their first game representing Washington, D.C. by beating the Phillies, 7-3. The historic win features the Nats center fielder Brad Wilkerson hitting for the cycle for the second time in his career.
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 allows 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.
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 round-tripper, one of four hits for the Marlins' third baseman, is the first big league homer of his career.
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 prior to 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 major league baseball's first black manager.
Arizona switch-hitter Felipe Lopez becomes the first player to homer from both sides of the plate on Opening Day when he goes 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.
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’s 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 No. 66 in honor of their late senior baseball adviser Don Zimmer, who passed away in June at the age of 83. 'Popeye', who was a player, coach, and manager with a dozen different teams, wore the number in his final season with the organization to represent the number of years he worked in professional baseball.
The Mets start 41 year-old Bartolo Colon on Opening Day, much to the chagrin of the fan base 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.