3rd The Dodgers trade P Bruce Ellingsen to the Indians for 17-year-old minor league IF Pedro Guerrero.
4th At Riverfront Stadium, in his first swing of the season, Hank Aaron hits a 3-run HR off Jack Billingham as the Braves lose to the Reds 7–6 in 11 innings. It comes on a 3–1 pitch. It is HR 714 for Aaron to tie him with the Babe and Hank is greeted by Bowie Kuhn and Vice-president Gerald Ford. The Reds, trailing 6–2 in the 8th, get a 3-run homer from Tony Perez, tie in the 9th on an RBI-double from Rose, and win it in the 11th when Rose scampers home from 2B on a wild pitch by Buzz Capra.
5th Streakers and strippers highlight the Opening Day game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park. The Angels beat the White Sox 8–2. Despite handing out 10 walks, Nolan Ryan is the winner over Wilbur Wood, with help from Leron Stanton, who homers. For Wood, it is the first of his AL high 42 starts, the third of four years in a row the knuckler will lead in that category.
6th The Yankees open their two-year stay at Shea Stadium before a crowd of 20,744. 12-year-old Teddy Kennedy, Jr., flanked by his father and Mayor Abe Beame, tosses out the first ball. Missing from the ceremony is George Steinbrenner, indicted two days ago for illegal campaign contributions. Greg Nettle’s two-run homer in the 4th off the Indians Gaylord Perry opens the scoring and the Yanks score 4 more times to win, 6–1. Charlie Spikes scores the only Cleveland run in the 9th following a triple off starter and winner Mel Stottlemyre. Perry, who is warned once for an illegal pitch, is the loser today, but he will win his next 15 decisions.
The Twins set a team record for runs, rolling over the Royals, 23–6. twenty of the runs are earned.
7th Chicago in April. At Comiskey, the White Sox and Angels finally call of their game after 10-innings because of blinding sleet and snow. The game is a 4-4 tie.
At Arlington, Reggie Jackson hits a pair of 3-run homers and drives in 7 runs to pace the Athletics to an 8-4 win over the Rangers. Rollie Fingers wins with 5 innings of relief.
8th In the 4th inning, of the Braves home opener 7–4 win against the Dodgers, Henry Aaron parks an Al Downing pitch in the left-CF stands for career HR 715, breaking Ruth’s once thought to be unapproachable record. Braves manager Eddie Mathews, with whom Aaron hit homers in a ML record 75 games, looks on. After Downing walks the next 2 batters, Mike Marshall makes his first appearance as a Dodger, and the first of a record 106 appearances this year. The Dodgers are wearing black arm-bands this game (and for the next few) in memory of Ken McMullen’s wife, who died just before the season started.
9th New Padres owner Ray Kroc, watching his team losing their 4th straight, 9–2, in their home opener, takes to the public address system in the 8th inning: “Ladies and gentlemen, I suffer with you. . . . I’ve never seen such stupid baseball playing in my life.” While he is speaking a streaker runs across the field. San Diego scores 3 but loses to Houston 9-5. Hearing of the incident, Commissioner Kuhn will make Kroc apologize to the fans.
At Anaheim, Texas unloads 9 runs in the 2nd inning as they coast to a 10-2 win over the Angels. Jeff Burroughs grand slam is the big blow in the frame. The Rangers score 7 runs off starter Nolan Ryan.
10th In the home opener at Cleveland—yesterday’s game was called off because of snow—Don Money belts a 9th inning grand slam, off Cecil Upshaw, and Milwaukee holds on for a 6-4 win. Oscar Gamble’s wife Juanita sings the National Anthem.
12th Robin Yount, 18, collects his first ML hit for the Brewers during a 5–3 loss to the Orioles. Tomorrow, Yount will get his 2nd hit against the O’s—a game-winning home run.
In Atlanta, the Reds roll over the Braves, 14–2. Merv Rettenmund hits a 2nd-inning grand slam off vet Jack Aker.
Bernie Carbo belts a 1st-inning grand slam, off Lerrin LaGrow, as the host Red Sox beat the Tigers, 6-3.
13th At Wrigley, rookie Ken Frailing allows one earned run in 8.2 innings as the Cubs whip the Expos, 7-4, in the first of two. In game 2, Montreal plates 8 runs in the 4th as they top Chicago, Ron Fairly has a double and grand slam to pace the Expos.
14th Yankee Graig Nettles blasts 4 homers—2 in each game—during a doubleheader split with his former team, the Indians. The Yanks win 9–5, then lose 6–9. Murcer has a homer in each game while Duncan hits a pair in game 2. Nettles will go on to tie the ML record with 11 HRs in the month of April.
In the 8th inning of Detroit’s 7-5 win over the Red Sox, Willie Horton mortally wounds a pigeon with a foul fly directly over home plate in Fenway Park. The pigeon lands at the feet of C Bob Montgomery. On the next pitch Horton grounds a single to LF.
Bobby Darwin has 2 singles, a triple and a grand slam to pace the Twins to an 8-0 whitewash of the Royals. Bert Blyleven combines with Bill Campbell on the shutout.
At Oakland, the A’s and Rangers split a pair with Oakland winning 4-2 before losing, 10-2. Reggie Jackson has a pair of homers in the opener off Steve Hargan (0-1), while Catfish Hunter goes 2-0. Dave Nelson has a homer and 6 RBI in game 2 as Fergie Jenkins gets the win.
17th Cubs C George Mitterwald hits a double and 3 HRs, including a grand slam, driving in 8 runs in an 18–9 win over the Pirates at Wrigley Field. The 14 total bases is a club record. Bill Madlock scores 5 runs.
Cleveland’s Gaylord Perry pitches 15 strong innings against Milwaukee, striking out 14, and departs with the game tied 4–4. Perry is the last pitcher this century to pitch 15 innings in a game. Former Brewer Ken Sanders comes on and gives up a HR in the 16th to the first batter, the Brewer’s Bob Coluccio.
19thThe Yankees obtain Walt ‘No Neck’ Williams and pitchers Ed Farmer and Rick Sawyer from the Tigers for C Gerry Moses. Moses had come to New York in the Graig Nettles trade.
20th At Riverfront Stadium, the Big Red Machine rolls over the Padres, 11–0. The Reds will win the opener tomorrow over the Padres 10–1, before losing the nightcap.
21st Dave Concepcion hits a grand slam as the Reds score 7 runs in the bottom of the 1st on their way to a 10-1 victory over the Padres in the 1st of two. Tony Perez adds a pair of doubles and a homer for the Reds. . San Diego rebounds for a 7-2 win in game 2.
24thA scoreless dual between the Cubs Bill Bonham and the Reds Jack Billingham ends with a bases-loaded 9th inning walk to George Foster. The Reds beat the Cubs, 1–0.
Something in the air? At Comiskey, Wilbur Wood picks up his second win of the year, going six innings as the Sox beat the Brewers, 7-2. Terry Forster records a save, allowing a hit and a walk in 3 innings, but striking out 8. The White Sox collect 13 hits to 8 by Milwaukee. All 21 hits are singles.
26th The Reds overcome a 3-1 deficit by scoring 8 runs in the 7th to beat the Cubs, 9-3. Hank Aaron hits his 6th of the year, a grand slam.
Colorado defeats Nebraska 2–1 in an NCAA-record 22-inning game. James Smith has 10 at bats.
In what is dubbed the “Friday Night Massacre” the Yankees trade 4 pitchers, including Fritz Peterson and Steve Kline, to the Indians for 1B Chris Chambliss and hurlers Dick Tidrow and Cecil Upshaw.
27th Randy Jones and the Padres beat the Phillies, 5–2, despite giving up an inside-the-park homer to Mike Schmidt, the first of 3 in the future Hall of Famer’s career.
Well, at least there was no demolition. At Seat Cushion Night at Comiskey, the Tigers down the White Sox, 8-3, as Ed Brinkman clubs a pair of homers off Sox starter Jim Kaat. Fans are given seat cushions, which quickly litter the field, notably after Sox second sacker Santo makes an error in the top of the 6th and again when Bill Melton hits a homer in the bottom of the frame.
28th The Indians break a 2-2 tie with 8 runs in the bottom of the 8th to beat the Angels, 10-2. George Hendrick has a pair of homers, including a grand slam.
29th Lee May goes 5-for-5, including 2 homers in the 6th inning, as Houston destroys Chicago, 18–2.