The weather is slowly warming in the Chicagoland area. The days are getting longer. With the advent of Spring comes Major League Baseball, and the rich traditions that it has offered. We recently had opening day. Let’s look at some of the best opening day performances in MLB history.
Here they are in no particular order:
Dmitri Young, DH for the Detroit Tigers
2005 Opening Day Score Tigers 11 – Royals 2
Dmitri Young joined the elite company as one of only four MLB players to hit three home runs on opening day. He went 4-4 in the game, with 5 RBIs. His home runs came in the second, third, and eighth innings to help deliver a dominant win.
Kirk Gibson, RF for the Detroit Tigers
1986 Opening Day Score Tigers 6 – Red Sox 5
In this opening day performance, Gibson went a perfect 4-4 that included 2 home runs. The game included two go-ahead home runs from Gibson. He also notched 5 RBIs in this stellar performance. It was before his legendary World Series walk-off homer, but still a noteworthy performance.
Walter Johnson, SP for the Washington Senators
1926 Opening Day Score Senators 1 – Athletics 0
This came at the end of Johnson’s already legendary career. What made this game memorable is that he pitched 15 innings to complete a shutout. Johnson gave up 6 hits, and 3 walks while tallying 9 strike outs in the effort. It’s unlikely any pitcher will match the 15 innings pitched in today’s game.
Clayton Kershaw, SP, Los Angeles Dodgers
2013 Opening Day Score Dodgers 4 – Giants 0
Kershaw carried a shutout into the 7th inning of this game with very little offensive support. So the pitcher took matters into his own hands with his first career home run. His teammates rallied with 3 more runs and he completed the rest of the shutout with just 94 pitches.
Bob Gibson, SP for the Cardinals
1967 Opening Day Score Cardinals 6 – Giants 0
Few pitchers have dominated the game quite the same way that Bob Gibson did. His 13K performance launched him on a streak of 9 straight years of opening-day starts. He started the game with 5 straight strikeouts that included names like Willie Mays and Willie McCovey.