1st After failing to come up with a new collective bargaining agreement with the owners, the Executive Board of the Players’ Association votes unanimously to cancel the 92 remaining exhibition games and to strike on May 22nd if a deal has not been reached by then. During spring training, the players had voted 971-1 in favor of a strike. The lone dissenter was Kansas City’s Jerry Terrell, who voted no for religious reasons.
9th The Reds Tom Seaver is scratched from his Opening Day start against the Braves because of the ﬂu, and his replacement, Frank Pastore, tosses a 3-hit shutout. Braves P Phil Niekro is on the short end of the 9–0 decision. George Foster knocks a 2-run double off Niekro in the first inning, and receives credit for the first game-winning RBI, a newly created ML stat that will survive till the end of the 1988 season.
Seattle’s Ted Cox has the AL’s first game-winning ribbie when he hits a 2-run double off Toronto’s Dave Lemancyck in the 3rd inning as the M’s take a 4–2. The Mariners win 8–6, the victory going to Mike Parrott who pitches 6 1/3 innings. Parrott will on the DL for 3 weeks in May after getting hit in the groin by a line drive. He will hobble to the end of the year with a 1–16 record and today’s win will be his lone ML victory of 1980. For the second season in a row, Toronto’s John Mayberry opens with 4 hits, including 2 home runs. The Blue Jays dropped their Opener last year as well.
10th In front of a crowd of 53,313, Sixto Lezcano hits 2 homers—a 2-run shot in the 4th—off Dennis Eckersley—and a grand slam with 2 outs in the 9th inning, to give Milwaukee a 9–5 win over Boston and Dick Drago. Lezcano also opened the 1978 season with a grand slam, the only player to do it twice in Openers. The game features 7 homers, including Yaz and Hobson going deep in the 9th off Slaton. The 7 homers ties the mark for most in an opener.
At Arlington Stadium, Jon Matlack and the Yankees Ron Guidry both pitch shutout ball for 9 innings before being lifted. In the 12th, Goose Gossage relieves with Mickey Rivers on 3rd and Richie Zisk at the plate. His first pitch is wild allowing Rivers to score the games on run. Gossage also lost the ’78 Opener when Zisk took him deep in the 9th. Each team manages just 4 hits in the contest with Bob Watson and Bob Sundberg each collecting three of them.
The Orioles win their season opener, 5–3, over the White Sox. Jim Palmer outpitches Steve Trout.
Minnesota outlasts Oakland, 9–7, in 12 innings. Rick Sofield hits his first ML homer, a 3-run shot in the 12th, and Roy Smalley adds another in the frame—both off Steve McCatty. Sofield has 3 hits and 3 runs in the game but will end his ML career in 1981 with a .207 average. He’ll switch to football and become the starting quarterback for the University of South Carolina in 1983.
11th Giants 3B Darrell Evans makes 3 errors in the 7th inning of a 5–3 loss to the Padres. This ties the NL record for errors by a 3B in one inning.
12th In his first game in the NL since 1971, Astros pitcher Nolan Ryan hits his first career home run, a 3-run shot off the Dodgers Don Sutton. Ryan leaves the game with a 5–4 lead, but Los Angeles wins 6–5 in 17 innings.
Milwaukee bombs the Red Sox, 18–1, as they score 9 runs in the second inning. Eight of the runs come on two grand slams, Cecil Cooper’s knocking out starter Mike Torrez and Don Money ringing his up against Chuck Rainey. This is the 4th time in ML history that 2 grand slams have been hit in one inning.
“The Mad Hungarian” Al Hrabosky has got to be really steamed as he serves up a 2-out, 2-strike, 2-run gopher to the Reds Davey Concepcion. The Reds win, 4–3 over the Braves in Atlanta.
13th In his first ML start, Cincinnati’s Charlie Leibrandt shuts out the Braves, 5–0, at Riverfront.
The Majors see the first Q battery in history, when KC reliever Dan Quisenberry, with Jamie Quirk behind the plate, faces the Tigers. The Tigers win, 3–2.
14th The Reds trip the Giants, 6–5 when Dave Collins rips a bases-loaded triple in the bottom of the 9th.
15th Before a crowd of 50,244, the Orioles’ biggest Opening Day crowd, Jim Palmer stops the Royals 12–2.
The White Sox edge the Yankees, 4–3, in 14 innings, scoring the unearned run off Jim Kaat. Wrothan is the winner with 4.2 innings of work. The 2 teams strand 25 base runners.
16th Oakland’s Matt Keough matches last season’s victory total with his 2nd win in as many starts, 6–1 over Seattle. Keough was 2-17 in 1979.
17thThe Reds beat the Braves, 4–1 for their 8th win in a row, a club record for a start.
18th The winless Braves shut out the undefeated Reds, 5–0, behind Rick Matula’s 5-hitter. Cincinnati had opened the season with 8 consecutive wins, the best start in club history.
19th Houston’s J. R. Richard fires a one-hitter against the Dodgers, striking out 12 in a 2–0 victory. Reggie Smith’s infield roller in the 4th inning is LA’s lone hit.
At Wrigley, the Cubs spot the Mets a 7-0 lead, then hoist 5 homers to win, 12-9. DeJesus, Martin and Lezcano hit solo shots and Dave Kingman hits a grand slam and a 2-run homer to drive in 6 runs.
20thIn a 6–1 win over California in game 1, Oakland’s Rickey Henderson’s 0-for-1 with 4 walks and a stolen base. Angels pitcher Alfredo Martinez debuts in the 3rd and walks Dwayne Murphy to force in a run. He then picks Murphy off. Marty Keough is the winning pitcher. Henderson steals home in the nightcap, an 8-2 Oakland win as Steve McCatty tosses a complete game.
At Detroit, Milt Wilcox fires a one-hit, 8–0, shutout over the Kansas City Royals. Jerry Martin’s single is the only KC hit. Vida Blue takes the loss.
21stGeorge Foster has a HR and 4 singles to lead the visiting Reds to a 6–5 win over the Astros.
22nd In a classic Wrigley Field slugfest, the Cubs beat the Cardinals 16–12 on Barry Foote’s 2-out grand slam in the bottom of the 9th. Foote drives in 8 runs overall with 4 hits and 2 home runs, and teammate Ivan DeJesus hits for the cycle to help Chicago rally from a 12–5 deficit.
At the Vet, Mike Schmidt hits a grand slam and a 2-run homer and Greg Luzinski adds a 3-run homer as the Phillies overwhelm the Mets, 14-8.
23rd Angels P Bruce Kison settles for a one-hitter when Minnesota’s Ken Landreaux rips a double with one out in the 9th inning of California’s 17–0 romp. It is the 2nd time in a year that Kison has lost a no-hitter with one out in the 9th. For Landreaux, the hit marks the beginning of a 31-game hitting streak. The loser today is Terry Felton.
25th Larry Parrish belts 3 home runs and drives in all 7 of the Expos’ runs in an 11-inning 8–7 loss to the Braves.
Making his first appearance in Minnesota since his fight with a marshmallow salesman there last fall, A’s manager Billy Martin has to be restrained by umpires from attacking a fan who was pelting him with marshmallows during the Twins’ 10–3 victory.
26th Steve Carlton of the Phillies sets the modern NL record with his 6th career one-hitter, a 7–0 shutout of former team the Cardinals. Carlton will go 6–0 against St. Louis this year, the last pitcher this century to win 6 games in a season against one team.
27th The Twins score 10 runs in the first inning on their way to a 20–11 thrashing of the A’s. Minnesota starter Geoff Zahn can’t hold the 10–0 lead, allowing 8 runs in 41⁄3innings, and Doug Corbett picks up the win in relief.
29th The Brewers smash 7 home runs in a 14–1 rout of the Indians. Ben Oglivie and Sal Bando lead the way with 2 apiece.
30th Kansas City’s Larry Gura pitches a one-hitter against the Blue Jays for his 3rd shutout in 5 starts, surrendering only a 7th-inning double to Damaso Garcia. Losing pitcher Jesse Jefferson holds the Royals hitless for 6 2⁄3 innings in the 3–0 loss.
J. R. Richard tops Reds vet Tom Seaver, 5–1, to move Houston into 1st place. Richard will lose his next 3 starts.