When an major leaguer stays at the top of his game in the MLB long enough to blow past 400, 500...and even 600 home runs, he sees more than his share of Opening Days! But it's what he made of them that really matters. Three members of the 600 Home Run Club always did their best to keep opposing pitchers fearful and adoring fans hollering for more:
Slammin’ Sammy Knocked Out Two On Opening Day
After so many years and amazing achievements playing for
Chicago’s northside team, The Cubs, many people forget that “Slammin’ Sammy
Sosa also played for the Windy City’s southside squad from 1989-1992.
It was during his first stint in America’s second city
that Sosa achieved the amazing feat of hitting two home runs on the same
Opening Day on March 31, 1991. Sammy and his White Sox teammates spoiled what should have been a
festive final Home Opener at Baltimore’s nostalgic Memorial Stadium by clipping
the Oriole’s wings 9-1.
Willie Mays Opens in Style
Just one month shy of his 40th birthday, Willie Mays hit
homer number 629 on the first pitch he saw on Opening Day April 6, 1971, to
lead the Giants over the Padres 4–0 Giants.
Mays hit seven Opening Day home runs, but this one late
in his Hall-of-Fame career was perhaps the most memorable because it marked the
start of a historic streak. Following the Opener, Mays went on to hit home runs
in each of the Giants’ next three games, setting a MLB record of homering in
four straight games to open a season.
Teenage Ken Griffey, Jr. Rocks Spring Training, Opening
When 19 year-old Ken Griffey, Jr. reported to Seattle’s
spring training camp in 1989, conventional logic said he had little-or-no
chance of making the team. But after 20 pre-season games it became evident that
he wasn't just the best player on the Mariners’ team, he was the best player in
the league that spring.
After making the opening day roster, he continued to
impress…especially on Opening Day 1989, when on his first at-bat at the Seattle
Kingdome, he hit a home run on the first pitch he saw from the White Sox's Eric
King. Griffey went on to hit 16 home runs that season -- in baseball history,
only Tony Conigliaro and Mel Ott hit more homers as teenagers.