If it weren’t for the coronavirus, the 2020 MLB season would have started on March 26. All 30 teams would have played on this day. Opening Day is almost like a holiday, and people take this it very seriously. With baseball being America’s pastime, the first day of the season draws a large number of fans at ballparks all across the country.
With the season being pushed back, fans are left wondering what to do with no baseball. Many people are watching highlights from previous seasons to stay in the baseball spirit. There have been home runs hit by a lot of players on Opening Day, but only four can say that they hit three homers in an Opening Day game. Let’s take a look at those players.
George Bell, Blue Jays vs. Royals on April 4, 1988
Bell came into the 1988 season as the reigning American League MVP. He hit 47 home runs the year before. During the game against the Royals, Bell was placed as the designated hitter. He would go on to hit three long balls off of Royals ace pitcher, Bret Saberhagen. Saberhagen was a two-time Cy Young Award winner.
That day Bell owned Saberhagen and was utterly dialed in at the plate. Bell drove in four of the five Blue Jays’ runs as the team won the game 5-3.
Karl (Tuffy) Rhodes, Cubs vs. Mets on April 4, 1994
The second player to hit three home runs in an Opening Day game didn’t come until six years after Bell did. Tuffy Rhodes of the Chicago Cubs decided to join that list. Rhodes only hit a total of 13 home runs in his MLB career, but three of those came in one game. In the game against the Mets, he had a total of four hits in four at-bats all off Dwight Gooden. Going 4-for-4 in a game is an accomplishment in itself, but hitting three home runs as well is not easy to do.
Rhodes was not known to be a home run hitter, but fans got a glimpse of his power that day. He also had another three-home run performance that April. He finished the 1994 season with eight home runs and a .387 slugging percentage over 95 games.
Dmitri Young, Tigers vs. Royals on April 4, 2005
The Royals found themselves victims, to another three-home run performance on Opening Day. This time it was in Detroit at Comerica Park. Eleven years after Rhodes hit his three home runs, Dmitri Young joined the party. Not only did Young hit three homers that game, but he reached base in all five of his at-bats as the Tigers rolled past the Royals 11-2. Young was able to retrieve his third home run ball that he hit and sent it to his mother in California.
Matt Davidson, White Sox vs. Royals on March 29, 2018
Once again, the Royals find themselves on the short end of the stick on this Opening Day. Two years ago, Matt Davidson became the fourth MLB player to hit three home runs on an Opening Day game, and he is currently the last player to do so. During that game, he became the first player with three 110-plus-mph home runs in the same game since Statcast began tracking in 2015.
Each home run he hit that game came off a different pitcher. Danny Duffy, Blaine Boyer, and Brian Flynn were the three pitchers that Davidson won the battle against. That season Davidson finished with 20 long balls.