3rd Tom Seaver, University of Southern California pitcher, signs with the Mets for a reported $50,000 bonus. A selection of the Braves in the January free-agent draft, Seaver was signed by Atlanta’s Richmond farm club a month later, after USC had begun its baseball schedule. The violation netted Richmond a $500 fine and forbade Atlanta from signing Seaver for 3 years. However, Seaver was also declared ineligible at the college level, so an unprecedented special draft is held. Three clubs willing to match Richmond’s $40,000 contract—the Indians, Phillies, and Mets—participate. New York’s name is drawn from a hat as the winner.
5th Don Larsen, last active member of the old St. Louis Browns, is released by the Orioles.
10th The Colt 45’s trade Walt Bond to the Twins for Ken Retzer. Bond spent most of the past season in Denver after Houston acquired him, while Retzer’s ML years are brief and behind him.
11th A crowd of 44,468, including Vice President Hubert Humphrey, attends a historic opener at Washington. Emmett Ashford becomes the ML’s first black umpire in Cleveland’s 5–2 win against the Senators.
For the first time since 1913, the Reds are rained out of their Opener. The rain will continue for three days and the Reds will open on the road, losing 2–1 to the Phils on April 15. It is the first time the team has opened on the road since 1890.
12th The Braves and Tony Cloninger lose their first game in Atlanta 3–2 to Pittsburgh in 13 innings, with 50,761 fans on hand. Both Atlanta runs come on homers by Joe Torre, who opened the 1965 Milwaukee Braves season with 2 homers against the Reds.
Rookie OF Tommie Agee ties the season opener in the 7th inning with a 2-run HR, and the White Sox add another to top the Angels, 3–2.
At Yankee Stadium, 40,006 fans watch the Tigers edge the Yankees, 2–1. The Yankees only score is Joe Pepitone’s 5th inning homer off Mickey Lolich, who strikes out 10 Yankees. Lolich, with a career average of .075, leads off the 9th with a single, which opens the door for the Tiger’swinning run off Whitey Ford.
At Minnesota, Catfish Hunter, who turned 20 four days ago, becomes the youngest Opening Day starter when he takes the mound for Kansas City. Hunter is the hard luck loser in the 2-1 battle with Mudcat Grant. Sandy Valdespino drives in both Twins runs, the second coming in the bottom of the 9th. The previous youngest starter was Bob Feller, also 20 years five months, who opened the 1939 season.
In his first AL at bat, Frank Robinson is hit by a pitch from Boston’s Earl Wilson. Brooks Robinson then follows with a homer. Frank will later add a homer as the visiting O’s win in 13 innings, 5–4, on a walk by Jim Lonborg.
At Chicago, the Angels lose 3–2 to the White Sox in 14 innings.
13thThe Robinsons—Frank and Brooks—hit back-to-back homers in the first inning to lead the Orioles to an 8–1 win over the Red Sox at Fenway.
15th Bob Gibson’s 9–2 win at Forbes Field is the 18th straight for St. Louis in Pittsburgh. St. Louis ties the ML record set by the Dodgers against the Phillies in 1945-46 for consecutive road wins against one club.
The Tigers win their fourth straight, 8-3, over the Senators as Dick McAuliffe hits a grand slam and Al Kaline a solo shot.
Cleveland scores 6 runs in the 6th and pushes one across in the 12th to beat the Boston Red Sox, 8-7. Jack Kralick is the winning pitcher. George Scott strikes out 5 times for the Sox while Vic Davalillo has 5 walks, one intentionally, for the Tribe.
16th Reds fireballer Jim Maloney strikes out 13 Phillies in a 4–0 shutout at Philadelphia.
17th The Senators score 6 runs in the 7th to deflate the Tigers, 10-4. Bob Chance hits a pinch grand slam and Ken McMullen adds a 2-run homer, both off Julio Navarro, in the frame. Navarro gets no outs. This will be Navarro’s lone appearance this year and he won’t be back in the majors until 1970.
19th In the first regular season game at Anaheim Stadium, California drops a 3–1 decision to the White Sox before 31,660 fans. Rick Reichardt hits the Angels’ first regular-season HR in the new facility.
Tommie Sisk finally gives Pittsburgh a home win, topping the Cardinals, 5–3.
20th Hank Aaron clouts homers 399 and 400 to lead the Braves to a victory, 8–1, over the Phillies. The first shot is off starter Ray Culp in the 1st inning, and number 400 comes in the 9th inning, off Bo Belinsky.
21st The 1–7 Cubs trade veteran pitchers Larry Jackson and Bob Buhl to Philadelphia for young P Ferguson Jenkins, OF Adolfo Phillips, and 1B/OF John Herrnstein. “It’s the best deal we could’ve made,” says Phils manager Gene Mauch. “I think it complemented our staff exactly the way we wanted.” Jenkins was 2–1 for the Phils in 1965 after being brought up from Arkansas (PCL), but he’ll go into the Hall of Fame as a Cub.
The White Sox edge the Angels, 8-6, as Tommie Agee scores 5 runs. Agee has 2 hits and a HR.
The Braves trip the Phils, 5–4, as Chris Short’s wild pitch past Bob Uecker allows the winning run to score. Eddie Mathews sets a ML record by playing his 2009th game at 3B, topping Eddie Yost’s mark.
23rd Two days after putting on a Cubs uniform, Ferguson Jenkins hits his first major league homer, off Don Sutton, drives in a second run, and shuts out the Dodgers to win, 2–0. For rookie Sutton, it is the first of 13 straight losses the Cubs will hand him.
In Boston, Vic Davilillo’s third hit of the game drives in the go-ahead run in the 9th for the Indians, and Max Alvis then grounds into a 6-4-3-2 triple play to finish the Tribe’s tally, but Boston fails to score in the 9th and loses, 5-4.
24th Pete Richert enters the ML record books with 7 consecutive strikeouts against the Tigers. Richert still loses a 4–0 decision as the Tigers sweep a pair at Washington. The Nats drop game 2, 4-1.
Atlanta’s 5–2 win at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium in the first game of a doubleheader is an NL-record 18th straight home win against the Mets. “Home” for 17 of those wins was Milwaukee.
26th In New York, the Red Sox score 4 in the top of the 9th, only to see the Yankee retaliate with 3 runs in the bottom of the frame to win, 7-6. In the 3rd inning, rookie George Scott booms a shot against the Whitey Ford that is one of the longest home runs in the history of the Stadium. Whitey later recalls that it was the longest he ever surrendered.
27th The Reds overcome two 5th-inning homers by the Giants—one a grand slam by Willie McCovey—to beat the host Giants, 8-6. Vada Pinson has 2 singles, a double and triple and scores 3 times.
28th Cleveland ties the modern ML record with its 10th straight win since Opening Day. Sonny Siebert defeats the Angels, 2–1. Cleveland will lose tomorrow to the White Sox’s Gary Peters, 4-1.
Don Wert hits a grand slam, Jerry Lumpe and Al Kaline add 3-run homers, and Jim Northrup chips in with a 2-run homer as Detroit tops Kansas City, 13-6.
29thIn a 5–1 win over Chicago, Phils star Dick Allen dislocates his right shoulder while sliding. The Phils will go 11-13 while he is out of lineup.
30th Rick Reichardt hits a record-tying 2 HRs in the 8th inning, pacing a 16–9 California rout of Boston at Fenway. Teammate Bobby Knoop chips in with a double and HR in the same inning.
Mel Stottlemyre wins his first of the year, shutting out Kansas City, 6-0. He drives in 2 of the runs. Roy White has 2 stolen bases, one a steal of home, while catcher Jake Gibbs has a steal of home on the front end of a double steal with White. It is the first steal of home by a Yankee catcher.