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Tales of Opening Day

March 31, 1998 - The Milwaukee Brewers, who became the first team since the inception of the American League in 1901 to switch leagues, lost their first game in the National League to the Atlanta Braves, 2-1, at Turner Field.

March 31, 1998 - The Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Arizona Diamondbacks, Major League Baseball's two newest expansion franchises, lost in their inaugural games. The Devil Rays lost to Detroit, 11-6, at Tropicana Field, and the Diamondbacks fell to the Colorado Rockies, 9-2, at Bank One Ballpark.

April 1, 1997 - San Diego, sparked by back-to-back-to-back home runs by Chris Gomez, Rickey Henderson and Quilvio Veras, scored 11 runs in the bottom of the sixth inning on its way to a 12-5 victory over the Mets. The 11 runs were the most in one inning of an Opening Day game this century.

April 1, 1996 - The Mets rallied from a 6-0 deficit to post a 7-6 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, the biggest Opening Day comeback of the century.

April 26, 1995 - The Rockies and Mets opened Coors Field with an offensive barrage of 20 runs and 33 hits as Colorado won, 11-9, in 14 innings. Colorado outfielder Dante Bichette won the game with a one-out home run in the 14th.

April 26, 1995 - Toronto scored 11 runs in the second inning and defeated the Oakland Athletics, 13-1.

April 4, 1994 - Karl "Tuffy" Rhodes went 4-for-4 and hit three solo home runs off Mets pitchers Dwight Gooden and John Franco, but the Cubs lost, 12-8, at Wrigley Field.

April 5, 1993 - MLB's two newest expansion teams, the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies, began their inaugural season of play, as the Marlins beat the Dodgers, 6-3, behind the pitching of Charlie Hough, and the Rockies fell to the Mets, 3-0, at Shea Stadium.

April 5, 1993 - Greg Maddux, signed as a free agent by the Braves after the 1992 season, allowed no runs and scatters five hits over 81/3 innings to beat his former team, the Chicago Cubs, 1-0.

April 5, 1993 - Late-inning defensive replacement Eric Fox hit a grand slam in the bottom of the eighth inning off Detroit's Tom Bolton to give Oakland a 9-4 victory before a home crowd of 43,370. It was Fox's only homer of the season.

April 6, 1992 - The Texas Rangers, trailing 8-3, scored nine runs in the top of the eighth inning and held on to defeat Seattle, 12-10, before 55,918 Kingdome fans.

April 3, 1989 - Ken Griffey Jr. doubled in his first big-league at-bat off Oakland's Dave Stewart, but the Mariners fell to the Athletics, 3-2.

April 4, 1988 - Darryl Strawberry and Kevin McReynolds each hit two of the Mets' Opening Day-record six home runs in their 10-6 victory over the Montreal Expos. Kevin Elster and Lenny Dykstra hit the other two for the Mets.

April 4, 1988 - Toronto's George Bell became the first player to smack three home runs on Opening Day as he lifted the Blue Jays past the Royals before 40,648 at Kauffman Stadium.

April 8, 1985 - Tom Seaver, with the White Sox, set a major-league record with his 15th Opening Day start, against Milwaukee. The previous record was 14, held by Walter Johnson of the Washington Senators.

April 8, 1975 - At Cleveland, Frank Robinson, debuting as the first black manager in big-league history, powered a first-inning homer as the Indians defeated the Yankees, 5-3.

April 4, 1974 - Hank Aaron hit a two-on, first-inning homer off Jack Billingham in Cincinnati to tie Babe Ruth's all-time home run record of 714.

April 6, 1973 - A Pittsburgh Opening Day crowd of 51,695 gathered to retire the late Roberto Clemente's uniform No. 21 as the Pirates downed St. Louis, 7-5. While those ceremonies were going on in Pittsburgh, the Yankees were opening in Boston and the occasion made Ron Blomberg the first designated hitter as he drew a first-inning walk from Luis Tiant. The Bosox won, 15-5.

April 11, 1961 - Rookie Carl Yastrzemski banged the first of his 3,318 career hits off Kansas City's Ray Herbert at Fenway Park.

April 10, 1959 - Nellie Fox, who did not hit a home run in 623 at-bats the previous season, had five hits in seven trips, climaxed by a 14th-inning home run off Detroit's Don Mossi for a 9-7 Chicago White Sox victory.

April 18, 1958 - Before 78,672 onlookers, the Dodgers launched major-league baseball in Los Angeles with Carl Erskine downing the Giants and Al Worthington, 6-5.

April 15, 1958 - In San Francisco's Seals Stadium, the transplanted New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers played the first major-league game in California. The Giants' Ruben Gomez bested Don Drysdale, 8-0

April 13, 1953 - Max Surkont three-hit the Reds, 3-0, at Cincinnati in the first game played by the Braves following their move from Boston to Milwaukee.

April 18, 1950 - At Fenway Park, the Red Sox, leading 9-0 over the Yankees in the sixth, wound up losing, 14-10. It marked Billy Martin's debut and he celebrated it in a nine-run eighth inning in which he became the first rookie to get two hits in one inning.

April 15, 1947 - At Ebbets Field, Jackie Robinson, hitless in three official at-bats, became the first black man to play in the majors as his Dodgers beat the Braves, 5-3.

April 16, 1946 - Giants immortal Mel Ott hit his 511th and final homer off Philadelphia lefthander Oscar Judd at the Polo Grounds.

April 16, 1940 - At Comiskey Park, Cleveland's Bob Feller hurled the only Opening Day no-hitter, beating the White Sox, 1-0.

April 16, 1935 - At Boston's Braves Field, Babe Ruth, in his initial NL appearance, homered off Carl Hubbell as the hapless Braves, who went on to win only 37 more games that year, clipped the Giants, 4-2.

April 17, 1934 - Cubs righthander Lon Warneke one-hit the Reds, 6-0, in Cincinnati.

April 11, 1928 - Future Hall of Famers Ty Cobb and Tris Speaker were in the starting lineup for the Philadelphia A's, their first game as teammates.

April 13, 1926 - In Washington, the aging Walter Johnson fanned a dozen when he outlasted Eddie Rommel and the A's, 1-0, in 15 innings.

April 18, 1925 - The Giants downed the Dodgers, 7-1, in a Brooklyn opener that was saddened by the death of Dodgers owner Charles H. Ebbets, who had succumbed to a heart attack that morning at his Waldorf Astoria apartment.

April 18, 1923 - Babe Ruth opened Yankee Stadium with a two-run homer off Boston's Howard Ehmke to spark the Yankees' 4-1 victory.

April 20, 1916 - With a bear cub in attendance, the Cubs played their first game ever at Weeghman Park at 1060 W. Addison St., defeating Cincinnati, 7-6, in 11 innings. The field became known as Wrigley Field in 1926 and is the second-oldest ballpark in the majors behind Boston's Fenway Park.

April 20, 1912 - The Red Sox christened Fenway Park with a 7-6, 11-inning victory over the Yankees.

April 14, 1910 - William Howard Taft became the first president to throw the ceremonial first ball and Walter Johnson followed by one-hitting the A's, 3-0.

April 15, 1909 - The Dodgers opened at the Giants with the Giants' Leon Ames no-hitting Brooklyn for 91/3 innings before the Dodgers beat the righthander, 3-0, in 13.

April 25, 1901 - In the American League's first game in Detroit, the Tigers scored 10 runs in the ninth inning for a 14-13 victory over Milwaukee.

April 19, 1900 - The Braves and Phillies produced the National League's highest-scoring opener when Boston scored nine in the ninth and went on to defeat Philadelphia, 19-17, in 10 innings.

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