Babe Ruth made his National League debut on April 16, 1935 at Braves Field in Boston. A band played “Jingle Bells” (I wonder whose idea that was?) as snow fell with near-freezing temperatures enveloping the field. Ruth hit a homer and a single off Giants’ legend Carl Hubbell as the Braves beat New York, 4-2.
The first game ever played at Fenway Park took place on April 9, 1912. In an exhibition contest played in the cold and the snow, Crimson third baseman and captain Dana Wingate became the first batter in the Boston ballpark, being struck out on a fastball by Casey Hageman. 3,000 fans braved the wintery weather to watch the shortened contest.
On April 4, 1978, the Montreal Expos unveiled their new mascot. The mascot, named Souki, wore an Expos uniform below a giant baseball head with antennae. However, after just one season, the Souki’s rights would be sold for a mere $50.00, after proving unpopular with the fans due to his strange looks and quirky behavior.
Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale signed for $130,000 and $105,000, respectively, on March 30, 1966 with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The agreements ended a 32-day holdout in which the two pitchers had refused to report for Spring Training. Their actions would pave the way for other players to be more aggressive when negotiating with team owners.
During an exhibition game against the University of Southern California on March 25, 1951, rookie Mickey Mantle hit a home run that traveled an estimated 650 feet. In addition to the monstrous homer, Mantle also collected a single, triple, and another homer.
The Yankees Entertainment and Sports Network (YES) made its debut on March 19, 2002. As a team-owned network, YES would carry Yankees ball games as well as New Jersey Nets NBA games.
Former minor leaguer Bert Shepard began his tryout with the Washington Senators on March 15, 1945 in spite of only having one leg. Shepard had his right leg amputated during World War II after his fighter plane had been shot down on a mission over Germany. Not only did Shepard have a successful tryout, he would go on to pitch one game for the Senators. In the appearance, which took place in August of that year against the Boston Red Sox, Shepard pitched 5⅓ innings of relief, allowing only three hits and one run, striking out his first batter. It made him the first man with an artificial leg to pitch in a major league baseball game.