10 Unforgettable MLBbro Opening Day Moments | Jackie Robinson To Aaron Judge

10 Unforgettable MLBbro Opening Day Moments | Jackie Robinson To Aaron Judge

For many baseball fans, two of most magical words are “Opening Day”. 

 

Opening Day is one of the first signals of the changing of the seasons as it pertains to sports and the weather. As you already know, MLB “officially” opened the 2024 campaign last week overseas with the Korea Series pitting the Dodgers and Padres.

 

However, this week’s stateside openers will be the true beginning of the season for many of us.

Memorable MLBbro Opening Day Moments 

 

As we prepare for that, today we take a look back at some of the most memorable Opening Day moments in MLBbro history. Needless to say, the overall history of the game will play a huge part of this retrospective as we look back in chronological order

 

1. April 15, 1947: Jackie Robinson debuts for the Brooklyn Dodgers breaking MLB’s modern day color barrier. He went 0-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the Dodgers’ 5-3 win over the Boston Braves. He would be named Rookie of the Year at season’s end.

 

 

2. April 11, 1967: St. Louis’ Bob Gibson strikes out 13 Giants en route to a 6-0, five-hitter against San Francisco. Gibson, who outdueled future Hall of Famer Juan Marichal, would help lead the Redbirds to their second World Series title in the last four years when they outlasted the Boston Red Sox in 7 games.

 

 

3. April 4, 1974: In his first at-bat that season against the Reds’ Jack Billingham, Hank Aaron hits his 714th career homer. The three-run shot ties him with Babe Ruth. Four days later at Atlanta, the Hammer connected off Al Downing of the Dodgers to become baseball’s all-time home run king.

 

 

4. April 8, 1975: Frank Robinson becomes MLB’s first Black manager with a bang. In the lineup as Cleveland’s designated hitter, Robinson stepped to the plate against the Yankees’ Doc Medich, got a 2-2 fastball low and away and ripped it over the left-field wall for a solo shot. The Indians won 5-3 as Robinson’s homer was his eighth career Opening Day homer, an MLB record at the time.

 

 

5. April 8, 1994: Subbing for an injured Glenallen Hill, Karl “Tuffy” Rhodes hit 3 home runs off of New York’s Dwight Gooden and had four hits on the day. Still, the legendary Mets pitcher and his team managed to win the game 12-8. Rhodes hit just 5 more home runs the entire season. He became a legend in the Japanese league by hitting over 464 career dingers and tied the single-season record of 55 home runs in 2001.

 

 

6. April 2, 1996: Starting in his first Opening Day at shortstop, New York’s Derek Jeter hits his first career homer off Cleveland’s Dennis Martinez. The solo shot that led off the fifth inning put The Yankees up 2-0 en route to a 7-1 win. The Captain would be named AL Rookie of the Year and helped lead the Bronx Bombers to their first World Series title since 1978.

 

 

7. April 4, 2005: Detroit’s Dmitri Young became the third player in MLB history to hit three homers on Opening Day (joining the aforementioned Tuffy Rhodes and George Bell) in the Tigers’ 11-2 win against the Kansas City Royals. At the time, “Da Meat Hook” was also the fourth player to hit three homers in a game at spacious Comerica Park. 

 

 

8. April 6, 2009: Ken Griffey Jr. tied an MLB record with his eighth career Opening Day homer. “The Kid” had a solo home run and a walk in his first game with Seattle since 1999, helping the Mariners to a 6-1 victory over the Minnesota Twins at the Metrodome. At the time, it was Junior’s 612th career homer. He tied the aforementioned Frank Robinson and Adam Dunn for the Opening Day record shot.

 

 

9. April 5, 2010: In his MLB debut, Atlanta native and Braves No. 1 prospect Jason Heyward homered on the first swing of his career. The three-run shot off Chicago’s Carlos Zambrano created what is considered to be one of the loudest roars heard during the history of Turner Field.

 

 

10. March 30, 2023: One year removed from breaking Roger Maris’ AL record of 61 homers, New York Aaron Judge goes deep in his first at-bat of the season. Tabbed as the Yankees’ 16th captain, “The Judge” belted MLB’s first dinger of the year, powering a Logan Webb sinker over the center-field wall at Yankee Stadium as the Yankees cruised to a 5-0 over the San Francisco Giants. 

 

Aaron Judge Sets It Off With Opening Day Bro Bomb | His Soul Mission Is To Win Yankees Championship No. 28

 

 

 

Yankees Off To A Perfect Start Led By Aaron Judge

Aaron Judge Singing ‘God Bless America’ Isn’t Just a Tradition, It’s Also a Way to Express His Gratitude

Since the 9/11 terror attacks, “God Bless America” has blared through the speakers during every 7th inning stretch at Yankees Stadium, replacing “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” as the galvanizing tune at that point in the game.

 

For some, the song has different meanings and evokes different emotions, but in the case of Yankees star Aaron Judge, his feelings towards that particular song can be explained with two simple words… ‘Thank You.’

 

Judge recently spoke about his connection to ‘God Bless America’ and why the song is inspirational.

 

Singing ‘God Bless America’ is my sign of respect for the veterans who are being honored on the field,” Judge would say in interviews when explaining his passion for singing the song.

“They’re 70 years old, some are 80, some are 90 and can barely walk. You see an old photo of them, their rank, what branch of the service, where they fought. I have nothing but respect for them.”

 

 

Even Through Controversy, Judge Is Standing on Business and For Good Reason

 

Before 2019 the New York Yankees played Kate Smith’s iconic 1939 rendition of “God Bless America”. But when racist lyrics from her past songs surfaced, Yankees fans boycotted the team causing the organization to switch to the Roger Merrill version going forward.

 

The Yankees Phenom emphasized that singing the song isn’t about politics or just an obligation. Instead, it embodies his appreciation for those who fought to keep him safe, allowing him to play a game that he loves and hopes fans would join him and teammates in singing it to thank them for their contribution.

 

Judge is especially inspired from the men and women who made sacrifices during World War II.

 

“So every time the anthem is played, especially on Opening Day, when we’re lined up (at the first base line) or when ‘God Bless America’ is played, I’m thanking those who made it possible for me to play a baseball game and make a living like that,” Judge added.

“Every time I see a soldier or Marine or sailor – or a policeman or firefight – I say, ‘Thank you.’ I can’t thank them all, so I do it by singing.”

 

Judge Is A True Leader

 

Judge clearly loves his country, but he also believes in the freedom to worship, celebrate, protest and give praise as they are unalienable rights granted to every American citizen.

 

Back in 2020, Judge was a leader and outspoken about the kneeling controversy inspired by Colin Kaepernick’s desire to bring attention to police brutality, systemic racism and other racial and economic inequities in this country. No Yankees took a knee, but when discussing the possibility Judge’s main concern was that the Yankees remained a united front, regardless of the collective decision.

 

“That’s the beauty of America, is freedom of speech,” Judge said, according to the New York Post. “The freedom to express yourself. We’ve got a special platform being athletes. And being able to speak our mind and speak [to] what’s going on in this world. And some people express it online. Some people express it with words. Some people kneel, do what they need to do.”

 

It was a moment where Judge’s class, leadership and understanding of all races and emotional political opinions (Judge is adopted by two white parents) proved why he should be Yankees captain.

 

 

What’s Next for Aaron Judge?

 

Aaron Judge Moving To Centerfield This Season As Yankees Outfield Takes Shape

 

While we all rise with Judge to sing with him, Judge is also focused on helping the Yankees rise back to the World Series for the first time since 2009. According to Yankees Manager Aaron Boone, starting in spring training the two-time Gold Glove winner and Yankees captain Judge will be making a position switch to centerfield to make way for free agent superstar Juan Soto and solid additions MLBbro Trent Grisham and Alex Verdugo.