Baseball's Opening Day: A look back at history as new season starts
While Major League Baseball's regular season is a 162-game marathon, special moments have occurred down through the years during Game No. 1 on Opening Day.
Major League Baseball in 2014 has already gotten off to an interesting start. For the first time ever, MLB took its opening act 'down under' and began the new season in Australia, back on March 22. The Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Arizona Diamondbacks twice in Sydney.
That was followed by an "Opening Night" win by the San Diego Padres over the Los Angeles Dodgers Sunday evening. Monday, Major League Baseball continues to kick start the 2014 season with 13 more games during the day and at night.
The defending world champion Boston Red Sox (still can't quite get used to that) are in Baltimore to meet the Orioles. Meanwhile, the National League pennant-winning St. Louis Cardinals are in Cincinnati for the traditional season opener in the Queen City, hosted by the Reds.
Baseball has its special moments during the course of any season. But on occasion, one of those moments can occur on Opening Day. On April 16, 1940, Cleveland Hall of Famer Bob Feller threw a no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. It's the only no-hitter that's ever been thrown on Opening Day in Major League Baseball history. Feller threw two other no-hitters and finished with 266 wins over an 18-year career.
Thirty-four years later, on April 4, 1974, Hank Aaron of the Atlanta Braves hit a home run against the Reds in Cincinnati in his first at-bat of the season. That home run for Aaron was number 714 in his Hall of Fame career, tying him with former Yankee Hall of Famer Babe Ruth for first place on the all-time career home run list. "Hammerin' Hank" would go on to hit a total of 755 home runs in his 23 major league seasons.
And, in 2014, history has already been made. During the off season, MLB approved the use of video replay for certain plays during a game beginning this year. Monday afternoon, Chicago Cubs manager Rick Renteria became the first manager to challenge a ruling on the field in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Video upheld the first base umpire's out call on a play at first.
Major League Baseball's 145th season is now in full swing. And if this season is even remotely similar to the past 144, baseball fans across America should be in for quite a ride over the next six months.