Peanuts and Cracker Jacks The Best Opening Days in Baseball History
Baseball’s opening day has been an American holiday of sorts since the Cincinnati Red Stockings threw out the first major league pitch in 1869. To celebrate the start of the 150th season of professional baseball, here are three of the best opening days in baseball history.
A NEW BEGINNING
On April 15, 1947, an opening-day game changed the course of Major League Baseball. On this day, Jackie Robinson started for the Brooklyn Dodgers, becoming the first African-American player to start for a major league baseball team. Robinson’s historic showing was lackluster, going 0-for-3 at the plate and making a solid showing on the infield at first base, but his mere presence in a Dodgers uniform had already broken history. Despite his nationally-recognized skills — Robinson was named MVP of the MLB farm team league in 1946 — the backlash that followed his rise to the pros, both from fans and teammates, was palpable. Still, as well-known sportscaster Howard Cosell said, “Suddenly, it was a new beginning.”
famous “Murderers’ Row.”With sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth, Mark Koenig, Bob Meusel, and Tony Lazzeri, it’s no wonder this team went on to win its fifth championship that year.
THE HAMMER TIES BAMBINO
For decades, no one could match George Herman Ruth. The Great Bambino’s all-time home run record seemed like an impossible feat of strength — that is, until Henry “Hammerin’ Hank” Aaron came along. On opening day, April 4, 1974, Aaron smashed his 714th homer, tying Babe Ruth for the most home runs ever hit and extending the Atlanta Braves’ shutout lead over the Cincinnati Reds. A few weeks later, Aaron surpassed Ruth’s record, prompting a standing ovation from the crowd.
LOU, COMBS, AND BABE — OH MY!
Considered one of the best teams in baseball history, the 1927 New York Yankees started their historic run and 25th season by dismantling the Philadelphia Athletics with a score of 8-3. The slugfest was true to form for the 1927 Yankees, whose players would go on to make up baseball’s
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• • 4 small leaves iceberg lettuce 4 1/4-inch thick yellow onion slices 1 teaspoon vegetable oil Salt and pepper, to taste Condiments of your choice desired doneness, about 1 more minute per side for medium-rare, 2 more per side for medium-well. 4. Let meat rest for a minimum of 3 minutes. 5. To assemble, place patty on bottom bun and top with • • •
1 pound ground chuck, 80 percent lean 4 soft, white hamburger buns, split 4 1/4-inch thick tomato slices
12–16 pickle rounds
1. Lightly grease a small
nonstick skillet with oil. Heat over medium-high. 2. While heating, gently shape meat into four patties 3 1/2 inches in diameter. Be careful to handle the meat as little as possible to prevent tough burgers. Season liberally with salt and pepper. 3. Sear patties on each side, about 1 minute per side.
tomato, pickles, lettuce, and onion (in that order). Spread condiments on top half of bun and place on top of onion. Serve.
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Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until
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