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A Brief History of Opening Day


As flowers begin to bloom, crickets start to chirp, and the days grow longer, it must mean one thing… Baseball season is finally upon us. While many colleges, high schools, and youth leagues have already begun, the best in the world have packed up their spring training lockers and are getting ready to embark on a 162-game season—30 cities buzz as they prepare to host 81 games in their home ballparks. Baseball is returning and the most authentic way to celebrate is to enjoy a full slate of games on Opening Day. Get prepared for March 30th as professiona baseball will be back in full swing (pun intended).

Opening Day History

If you are looking for Opening Day history, look no further than the town known for serving chili on spaghetti. Cincinnati, the first all-professional team, has always hosted a home game on Opening Day. It’s a city-wide holiday as residents take a day off of work & school to attend the Findlay Market Parade and (those who are lucky enough) the Reds’ first game of the season. This tradition of Opening Day in Cincinnati dates back to the Reds’ first game against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1882.

For decades, the Reds were honored with the “first pitch of the major league season” and have hosted a game all but two seasons since 1882 (1966 - Rainout / 1990 - Lockout.) While the Reds are still granted a home series each year to kick off the season, ESPN has recently begun to showcase an Opening Game the night before. The MLB still honors Opening Day as the first day on the calendar with multiple slated games.

Opening Day Facts

  • Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth’s all-time HR record on Opening Day (April 4, 1974)
  • Jackie Robinson played 1st base in his major league debut (April 15, 1947) at Wrigley Field. 
  • Bob Feller threw the only no-hitter in Opening Day history as the Indians defeated the White Sox 1-0 (April 16, 1940)
  • William H. Taft threw out the first Presidential first pitch from his box seats, not the pitcher’s mound (April 14, 1910)
  • Tom Seaver has the most career Opening Day starts (16) in his career (1968 - 1986)
  • Ted Williams made his major league debut on Opening Day (April 20, 1939) and was surrounded by a cast of legendary players. Lefty Grove, Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Bobby Doerr, Joe Gordon, Bill Dickey, and Red Ruffing played in the game. Babe Ruth was also there in attendance.
  • The longest Opening Day game was played between the Cleveland Indians and the Toronto Blue Jays (16 innings on April 5, 2012)
  • Frank Robinson, Adam Dunn, and Ken Griffey Jr. are all tied for the most career Opening Day HRs (8)
  • The New York Mets have the highest Opening Day win percentage in MLB history (39-20 --- .661)
  • The Boston Red Stockings and the Philadelphia Athletics played the first game in National League history on April 22, 1876. This is now widely considered the first Opening Day game ever played. Boston won 6-5.
  • Ozzie Smith started a campaign in 2014 to petition the national government to designate Opening Day as a national holiday.
  • The 35 runs combined by the Cleveland Indians (21) and St. Louis Browns (14) are the most runs ever scored in a single Opening day game (April 14, 1925)

What to Know About the 2023 MLB Season

Coming off a winter that didn't involve difficult-to-navigate COVID-19 restrictions or the drama of a lockout, the 2023 season is looking as bright as ever! Rule changes have been implemented that have allowed Spring Training games feature an incredible pace and be completed consistently in under 3 hours. Fans are excited and here are a few important dates and details to consider for this upcoming season:

  • The 162-game regular season will run from March 30th (Opening Day) to October 1st.
  • The first installment of the MLB World Tour pits the Giants versus the Padres running April 29th-30th in Mexico City
  • The second rendition of the MLB World Tour occurs in London with the Cardinals and Cubs playing June 25th-26th.
  • The 2023 MLB All-Star Game is on July 11th at Seattle's T-Mobile Park
  • The 2023 MLB Draft will be included in the All-Star Game festivities.
  • The MLB playoffs will commence on October 3rd.
  • MLB Rule Changes for this season will include a pitch clock, restrictions on defensive shifts and bigger bases.

Opening Day is finally upon us, and we hope you take a moment to rejoice. Summer is coming, baseball is here, and we couldn't be happier!

If you’re interested in swinging pro-model wood bats, be sure to check out our full selection of the best wood bats around. Consider calling our Bat Experts to discuss the ins and outs of your favorite wood bat at 866-321-2287 or just live chat them here.

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