MLB Opening Day brings so much anticipation and so much excitement. Around baseball on that day, it’s like a playoff game. With the chill in the air and the crowd loud and roaring, it brings nerves and pressure on the teams. With that being said it brings us fans great memories and a bunch of, “Remember when”. With the 2023 Opening Day upon us, let’s take a look back at some of baseball’s best achievements on this great baseball holiday.
Greatest Opening Day Feats
Most Opening Day Home Runs
This record, especially in this day and age of the game, seems to be the most prevalent. Home runs have consumed the game. So, who has the most home runs on this great day?
No one player holds the record actually, it is held by a combination of the great Frank Robinson, another all-time great Ken Griffey Jr., and — the most surprising one of the bunch — the slugging Adam Dunn. These three men are all tied atop the leaderboard in this category with eight home runs each on Opening Day.
Frank Robinson always seemed to find the spotlight and step up when it was on him. He hit one home run on eight different Opening Days. His last one came as a player-manager in 1975, which is impressive on its own. The sweet-swinging Ken Griffey Jr. had a flair for the dramatic as well throughout his career. He hit two home runs in 1997 to help hit this mark.
Two of baseball's best prospects are set to make their MLB debuts on Opening Day.
— MLB Pipeline (@MLBPipeline) March 28, 2023
Then comes Adam Dunn, a polarizing figure in baseball with him being the creator of the true three outcome player (walk, strikeout, or home run). But, as any baseball fan would know, Dunn was a masher. He swung hard and missed big, but when that bat made contact, the ball wouldn’t come back. In 2005 and 2007 on Opening Day, Dunn hit two home runs each helping stack his numbers, while even holding the RBI record for Opening Day as well with 21.
This record, with the way baseball is being played now, could be broken. But the longevity and consistency to do it might not be there. Eight home runs on one specific day and one of baseball’s greatest and most popular days seems like a tall task. Currently, the active leaders are Evan Longoria, Giancarlo Stanton, and Bryce Harper with five each. Harper is the youngest one there and probably holds the highest chance to break the said record.
Most Opening Day Starts
This impressive mark is held by Tom Seaver, who went on to make his record-setting and holding 16 Opening Day starts. An unbelievable mark that proves his longevity and durability throughout his illustrious career. To be considered the ace and best, most worthy pitcher on his team to start the season on the bump on 16 different occasions is unthinkable.
Pitchers now don’t consistently get selected as the Opening Day starter. Also, with injuries and managers playing matchups more, it seems that this record seems to be set in stone and unbreakable. Currently, the active leader is Justin Verlander with 12 starts and with him entering his age 40 season, it seems unlikely that he would get to break Seaver’s record.
Most Opening Day Hits
Thinking quickly about this record, tons of names throughout all eras come to mind. But the one that holds this record is the all-time hit king and banned/shunned from baseball, Pete Rose. Not to get into his issues, but Rose deserves his spot in Cooperstown.
Pete Rose holds the Opening Day record for hits with 31. He also holds the record with 23 games played. 31 hits is a ridiculous number for one specific day. But for someone like Pete Rose, it seems par for the course.
Pete Rose just hit all the time throughout his career, probably why he is the all-time MLB hit king. Starting in 1963 and ending in 1985, he managed to play in 23 Opening Day games and collect 31 hits. The ability to adapt over years and continue to find a way to get hits consistently is why this record could be hard to beat.
With Miguel Cabrera being the active Opening Day hits leader with 18, it seems someone new will have to make a run at this record. But, with the influx of young players and young superstars to say the least, and a ban on shifts, this record could be under attack. But not for at least the next 10 years.
— MLB Players Media (@MLBPlayersMedia) March 28, 2023
Opening Day No-Hitter
In baseball, there has only been one man to pitch a no-hitter on Opening Day. That man is the Hall Of Fame fireballer, Bob Feller. This, by far, is baseball’s greatest Opening Day achievement. A no-hitter of any kind is a special and unique feat, but one on a specific and celebrated day is special. To be able to start the year firing on all cylinders and stretched out to finish the game and keep the opposing team hitless is unreal.
On April 16th, 1940, Bob Feller entrenched himself into the MLB record books. Pitching for the then-Cleveland Indians, he no-hit the Chicago White Sox at the original Comiskey Park. Feller was far from perfect that day, he walked five White Sox batters while striking out eight others. This low-scoring affair ended 1-0, Indians. So, keeping the White Sox hitless might have been the only way Feller and the Indians could have pulled off the win.
A no-hitter can come from anywhere at any time. So this is a record that could be tied. But to say one pitcher himself can pull this off is difficult. Nowadays, pitchers do not pitch deep into games too much, especially early in the season. Pitch counts are strict, so the better bet would be to see a combined no-hitter than a one-pitcher no-hitter. Needless to say, anything can happen in baseball, and that gets proven every day.
With Opening Day upon us, history is here to be made and memories made for everyone. What will be the next, “Remember when” Opening Day achievement?