Forget the two-game opening series in Australia last weekend and even Sunday night's tilt in San Diego. Mere hors d'oeuvres. Today is the banquet, Opening Day, with 13 games on the schedule. After being played under the Australian flag and in camouflage uniforms, the game will be feted in bunting.
Speaking of feats, some great ones have taken place on this sacred day, and certain players made it a habit to save their best for when bunting adorns every park.
- In 14 games, Ted Williams batted .449 and had at least one hit in every game.
- Greg Maddux was 6-0 in seven career starts.
- Walter Johnson was only 9-5 in his 14 starts, but all nine victories were shutouts.
- Frank Robinson, Ken Griffey Jr. and Adam Dunn hold the record for most home runs with eight each.
- Bob Feller threw the only no-hitter on April 16, 1940, throttling the White Sox 1-0. He struck out eight and walked five.
- Hank Aaron tied Babe Ruth's career home run mark of 714 by homering in the top of the first off the Reds' Jack Billingham on April 4, 1974.
- Dwight Evans finished with only 385 home runs, but he did what Hammerin' Hank never did: hit the very first pitch of the season for a homer on April 7, 1986, off Jack Morris.
- After winning the '87 AL MVP, George Bell came out swinging in '88, clobbering a major-league record three Opening Day bombs on April 4. They all came off the Royals' Bret Saberhagen.
- And Harry Caray nearly hyperventilated on April 4, 1994, while calling and slobbering over Tuffy Rhodes' three-homer day at Wrigley Field, tying Bell's record. Rhodes hit five more homers the rest of the season. Those would be the last of his career, which ended the next season.
If your last hurrah can't be in Game 7 of the World Series when the postseason bunting hangs, you could do worse than having it occur on Opening Day.