|Opening Day Notes|
In 1921, Ruth went 5-for-5 against the Athletics. In 1932, also against the Athletics, Ruth crushed two homers and added a single. In his 1935 National League debut with the Boston Braves, an aging Ruth faced the New York Giants' ace, Carl Hubbell. No problemo for the Sultan of Swat, Ruth nailed Hubbell's first offering for a long home run and later added a single.
On April 18, 1923, a crowd of over 74,000 showed up for the very first Opening Day game at Yankee Stadium -- The House That Ruth Built. The Babe, of course, stole the show. Ruth's prodigious 3-run blast in the third inning provided the Yankees with all the runs they needed to defeat the rival Boston Red Sox, 4-1.
Rumors persist that Ruth was pretty good on the mound too. In his earlier (and slimmer) days as a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox, Ruth made three Opening Day starts (1916, 1917, 1918). The Babe's Opening Day record: a perfect 3-0.
Ted Williams was no slouch on Opening Day either. The Splendid Splinter played in 14 Opening Day games and hit safely in all of them (oooo, that's a shocker). Williams compiled a .449 average as he ripped 22 hits in 49 at bats. No idea as to how many fans Williams spit on in those games. (Editor's note to Roberto Alomar: Choose your victim wisely. Spitting on fans was, and always will be, allowed. Umpires are a no-no.)
The Big Train
Johnson celebrated his first Opening Day assignment (1904) by tossing a one-hitter against the Philadelphia Athletics. Johnson again held the Athletics to one hit on Opening Day in 1910, with Philadelphia's Home Run Baker lashing a double off of Johnson for the Athletics' lone hit in the Senators 3-0 win. This was the Opening Day game at which President Taft began the tradition of throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.
Darling Don Mossi's
Lou Gehrig, who holds the career record of 23 grand slams, never hit one in April, let alone on Opening Day. Therefore, Lezcano actually leads Gehrig in at least one career offensive category. Just imagine some very distant future Opening Day at a ballpark in Heaven, "now pinch hitting for Lou Gehrig, because the bases are loaded, and it's Opening Day, Sixto Lezcano."
We wanted to include a photo of Lezcano, but it seems his mother has them all and won't share.
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