1931 – Virne Beatrice “Jackie” Mitchell, the first woman in professional baseball, pitched against the New York Yankees in an exhibition game in Chattanooga. Babe Ruth waved wildly at the first two pitches and took a third strike. Lou Gehrig timed his swing to miss three straight pitches. Tony Lazzeri, after trying to bunt, walked and Mitchell left the game.
1952 – Hall of Fame outfielder Monte Irvin of the New York Giants broke his ankle in an exhibition game. Irvin played just 46 games that season.
1984 – The New York Mets lost to the Cincinnati Reds 8-1 for their first opening day defeat in 10 years.
1996 – St. Francis of Illinois pummeled Robert Morris 71-1 in a Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference game that was surrendered after four innings by Robert Morris coach Gerald McNamara.
1997 – For the first time, the salary of one player – Albert Belle – exceeded the payroll of an entire team – the Pittsburgh Pirates. Belle, the game’s highest-paid player for 1997 at $10 million, made $928,333 more than the whole Pirates payroll, which totaled $9,071,667.
2001 – Roger Clemens became the AL strikeout king, getting five to pass Walter Johnson as the Yankees beat Kansas City 7-3 in their season opener. Clemens fanned Joe Randa for his 3,509th career strikeout.
2003 – Alex Rodriguez became the youngest player to hit 300 home runs, connecting for a three-run drive in the Texas Rangers’ 11-5 loss to the Anaheim Angels. Rodriguez at 27 years, 249 days old, surpassed Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx (27 years, 328 days).
2003 – The Detroit Tigers became the first team to have four pitchers make their major league debuts in the same game – Jeremy Bonderman, Wilfredo Ledezma, Chris Spurling and Matt Roney. The Tigers lost 8-1 to the Minnesota Twins.
2007 – Tampa Bay’s Elijah Dukes homered in his first big league at-bat in a 9-5 loss to the New York Yankees.
2011 – Ian Kinsler of Texas became the first major leaguer ever with leadoff homers in each of his team’s first two games. Kinsler hit the first of four homers by the Rangers in a 12-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox.
2012 – Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants agreed to a $127.5 million, six-year contract, the largest deal for a right-handed pitcher in baseball history.
Today’s birthday: Don Sutton 69.