1st The Mets ship popular OF Lee Mazzilli to the Rangers for minor league pitchers Ron Darling and Walt Terrell.
Surely you jest. The Cards trade P Bob Shirley to the Reds for minor league pitchers Jose Brito and Jeff Lahti. Brito won’t make it but Lahti will have more than a cup of latte, going 17–11 in 5 years. After a season in Cincy, Shirley will go to the Yankees.
The Yankees trade Gene Nelson and Bill Caudill and a future player (Bobby Brown) to the Seattle Mariners for Shane Rawley.
2nd In an exhibition game against the Padres, A’s pitcher Steve McCatty steps to the plate wielding a 15-inch toy bat on the instructions of manager Billy Martin, who was upset that his club was not allowed to use a DH in spring training games at NL parks. Home plate umpire Jim Quick refuses to let McCatty use the bat, and McCatty takes 3 called strikes.
5th After astronauts Joe Engle and Richard Truly toss out the first ball at Riverfront Stadium, the Reds open with a 3–2 loss to the Cubs, called after 8 innings on account of rain. Keith Moreland has a homer and 2 ribbies for Chicago.
The Orioles belt 4 homers, including an Eddie Murray grand slam and a 3-run homer by Dan Ford, to club the Royals, 13-5. Sammy Stewart, with 5 innings of relief, is the winner. Frank White has a homer and 4 RBIs for KC.
6th The largest crowd ever to see a baseball game in Minnesota—52,279—turns out for the inaugural game at the brand-new Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome. Twins rookie 3B Gary Gaetti goes 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs, and is thrown out trying to stretch a triple into a 3rd round tripper. But Seattle wins, 11–7.
In New York, a foot of snow cancels the Yankees opener with the Rangers at the Stadium. Tomorrow’s game with Texas and the first two with the White Sox will also be canceled because of snow and ice. With 2 games snowed out in Chicago, the Red Sox will return tomorrow to Winter Haven, FL.
At the Astrodome, the Cardinals batter Nolan Ryan for 6 runs in 3 innings en route to a 14-3 pasting of the Astros. Ryan strikes out 5 while Ken Forsch fans just one in his 8 innings. Lonnie Smith debuts with 3 runs scored for the Birds and he will lead the league inn runs scored with 120. Smith, who ended last year with a 23-game hitting streak, will hit in 5 straight for St. Louis. Forty-three-year-old Jim Kaat pitches one inning for the Cardinals setting a new ML record for pitchers by playing in his 24th consecutive season.
The Reds sell P Mike LaCoss, 4–7 in 1981, to the Astros.
8th At Oakland, the Angels score 4 runs in the top of the 16th, one on Doug DeCinces 2nd homer of the game, to take an 8-4 lead over the A’s. But the A’s respond with two runs to lose, 8-6. The 6 runs in the frame is 2 short of the AL record, but tops any NL team.
9th Former White Sox pitcher Francisco Barrios, 28, dies of heart attack in his native Mexico. Barrios was 14-7 for Chicago in 1977, but had recurring shoulder trouble, as well as drug and alcohol problems.
Amos Otis belts a grand slam in the bottom of the 1st, off Jack Morris, and Kansas City beats the Tigers, 4-2. Larry Gura wins his first of the year.
10th The Yankees trade relief pitcher Ron Davis and minor leaguers Paul Boris and Greg Gagne to the Twins for veteran IF Roy Smalley. Gagne hit .270 and .297 the past two seasons at Greensboro.
Three games into the season, Whitey Herzog resigns as Cardinals GM to concentrate on managing the team. He is the last man to hold both jobs at the same time. His Cardinals lose to the Pirates, 11-7. Lonnie Smith has a grand slam off starter Rick Rhoden for the Birds, but the Bucs come back to win. Rhoden has one of two homers for Pittsburgh.
11th At Yankee Stadium, the Yankees finally open with a 7–6 loss to Chicago in 12 innings, then drop a 2–0 nightcap. The grounds crew is feted because of their efforts in getting the snow-covered field ready, and crew chief Esposito tosses out the first ball. Jerry Koosman and Ron Guidry are the starters but Koosman gives up 6 runs in 5 2/3 innings and Guidry 4 runs in 4 innings to earn showers. Gossage, the last of 4 pitchers, gives up a leadoff triple to Bill Almon in the 12th and Ron LeFlore drives him home with one of his 3 hits on the day. Kevin Hickey wins with an inning of relief.
In Toronto, The Brewers drop 7 runs on the Blue Jays in the 1stinning as they roll to a 14-5 victory. Charlie Moore and Cecil Cooper each have 4 hits and Ben Oglivie collects 4 RBIs. Cooper now has 11 hits in his first 3 games to tie a ML record set by Ira Flagstead in 1926.
14th In the longest game ever played at Anaheim Stadium, the Angels beat Seattle 4–3 on Bob Boone’s RBI single in the bottom of the 20th inning. The game began yesterday, but was suspended after 17 innings. In the 20 innings, Angels SS Rick Burleson accounts for ML-record 15 assists. In the scheduled contest, California wins again, 2–1 in 10 innings.
15th The Phils double the Mets, 8–4, in 13 innings. Aguayo’s 2-out 3-run HR, off Charlie Puleo, in the 13th makes it easy for Warren Brusstar.
16th At Detroit, the Yankees Roy Smalley makes the first and last outs—all 3 outs—in the 3rd inning as the Yankees score 5 times. Smalley strikes out to start the frame, and ends it by lining into a DP. Ron Guidry coasts to his first win of the year, 10–2.
Keep it in dry dock. In their home opener, the Mariners unveil their new bullpen cart, the Tugboat. It springs a leak when pitcher Bill Caudill steals the keys during pregame festivities, leaving the Tugboat stranded on the left-field line and delaying the start of the game. Floyd Bannister needs no bullpen help as he keelhauls the Oakland A’s, 5-0, After a week of the Seattle relievers refusing to ride in the Tugboat, it is quietly mothballed
17th Lured by a cap night promotion, a stadium-record 61,640 fans pack Anaheim Stadium and see Brian Downing homer twice to lead the Angels to a 6–2 win over the Twins. In the 6th inning, SS Rick Burleson tears his rotator cuff making a throw to 1B and will be lost for the season.
18th The White Sox top Baltimore to go 8–0 for the season, the team’s best start ever. Rookie Salome Barojas picks up his 5th save in as many appearances.
20th By defeating the Reds, 4–2 for its 12th victory in a row, The Braves tie the modern ML record for consecutive wins at the start of a season. Steve Bedrosian pitches 41⁄3innings of relief to earn his first ML win.
21stThe Braves score 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th to beat Cincinnati, 4–3, for their record-breaking 13th win since the start of the year.
22nd After opening the season with 13 straight wins the Braves finally lose, 2–1, to the Reds. Bruce Berenyi is the winner over Bob Walk.
23rd The Yankees trade 1B Bob Watson to Atlanta for minor leaguer P Bob Patterson. Watson was given the choice of Philadelphia, LA, or Atlanta. In 2 weeks the Yankees will trade their other first baseman, Dave Revering, who hit .465 in spring training.
24th The Cardinals win their 12th game in a row 7–4 over the Phillies. St. Louis will finally lose tomorrow 8–4 to Philadelphia, as Steve Carlton wins his first game of the season after 4 straight defeats.
At Toronto, Jesse Barfield hits the first pinch grand slam in Blue Jay history, connecting in the 8th inning off Boston’s Tom Burgmeier. But Yastrzemski’s 3-run HR in the 5th off Dave Stieb helps to power the Red Sox to an 8–7 win.
25th Just 14 games into the season, George Steinbrenner fires manager Bob Lemon and replaces him with Gene Michael, the man Lemon had replaced last September.
Down 3-1, the Giants score 5 in the 8th to defeat the Dodgers, 6-3. Jeffrey Leonard has a grand slam for SF.
27th Todd Cruz, the Mariners’ number-9 hitter, hits an 11th-inning home run for the 2nd straight game, helping Seattle to a 7–4 win over Cleveland. On April 25th, Cruz’s solo home run in the bottom of the 11th capped a 4-for-4 day and gave the Mariners a 5–4 win over the Twins.
The White Sox stake LaMarr Hoyt (4-0) to a 9-0 lead in the first two innings and roll to an 11-2 thrashing of the Royals. Ron LeFlore has a grand slam in the Sox’ 7-run 2nd.
Jason Thompson belts a pair of homer and Tony Pena adds a grand slam as the Pirates beat the host Braves, 10-4.
28th At Wrigley, the Cubs Dickie Noles pitches his first career complete game, a 6–0 one-hitter over Tom Seaver (0-3)and the Reds. The only hit off Noles is Eddie Milner’s single leading off the 4th inning.
Bob Bailor’s sacrifice ﬂy in the top of the 15th inning scores Mookie Wilson with the winning run as the Mets beat the Padres 5–4, ending San Diego’s winning streak at 11 games. It is the 3rd winning streak of 10 or more games in the NL this year.
Pete Rose goes 5-for-5 to tie Max Carey for the NL record with 9 career 5-hit games, as Philadelphia scores 6 times in the top of the 9th to beat Los Angeles 9–3.
30th Brian Fisher of Durham strikes out 20 Salem batters, including the first 9 in a row, tying 2 Carolina League records. Durham wins, 5–3.