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This Date in Baseball – Hank Aaron breaks Babe Ruth’s career record by hitting his 715th home run

 The Associated Press  |    Apr 7th, 2024 10:24am EDT

April 8

1934 — The Philadelphia Athletics and the Philadelphia Phillies played the first legal Sunday baseball game in Philadelphia. The exhibition game was made possible when the state made Sunday baseball a local option and the city approved it in a referendum ballot.

1963 — Pete Rose has first at-bat with the Cincinnati Reds.

1969 — Four expansion teams make their debuts. The Kansas City Royals, Seattle Pilots, Montreal Expos and San Diego Padres all win their inaugural games.

1974 — In the opener in Atlanta, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s career record by hitting his 715th home run off Los Angeles left-hander Al Downing in the fourth inning. The Braves beat the Dodgers 7-4 before a crowd of nearly 54,000.

1975 — Frank Robinson became the first black manager in major league history by making his debut as player-manager of the Cleveland Indians. He hit a home run in his first at-bat — as a designated hitter — to help beat the New York Yankees, 5-3.

1977 — The Seattle Mariners record their first win by defeating the California Angels, 7-6, at the Kingdome.

1986 — Jim Presley of the Seattle Mariners hit home runs in the ninth and 10th innings for a come-from-behind 8-4 opening day victory over the California Angels.

1986 — Facing Nolan Ryan of the Astros, Giants rookie Will Clark hits a home run in his first major league at-bat.

1987 — Pitchers Phil Niekro and Steve Carlton of the Cleveland Indians teamed up to beat the Toronto Blue Jays 14-3. Niekro recorded his 312th victory and Carlton pitched four shutout innings in relief. It was the first time in modern history that two 300-game winners pitched for the same team in the same game.

1989 — One-handed pitcher Jim Abbott makes his major league debut for the California Angels.

1991 — Major league umpires strike on Opening Day, and amateur umpires are used as replacements.

1993 — Carlos Baerga of the Cleveland Indians became the first player in major league history to hit home runs from both sides of the plate in the same inning. The homers came in the seventh inning of a 15-5 rout of the New York Yankees.

1994 — Kurt Mercker of the Atlanta Braves pitched the season’s first no-hitter, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-0. It was the first complete game of Mercker’s career.

1995 — Free agents signed include outfielder Larry Walker and pitcher Bill Swift by the Rockies, and pitcher Orel Hershiser by the Indians.

2002 — Craig Biggio hit for the cycle and had four RBIs in Houston’s 8-4 win over Colorado.

2003 — At Yankee Stadium’s home opener, Hideki Matsui hits his first major league home run, a grand slam.

2008 — Chase Utley ties a major league record by being hit by pitch three times in a game.

2011 — Slugger Manny Ramirez, who signed with the Tampa Bay Rays in the off-season, announces his retirement after a failure to conform with Major League Baseball’s drug policy.

2016 — Trevor Story became the first major leaguer to homer in each of his first four games, connecting two more times for the Colorado Rockies in a 13-6 loss to the San Diego Padres. Story, who has six home runs since making his debut on opening day, got three hits and drove in four runs while playing for the first time at Coors Field.

2018 — Shohei Ohtani retired the Oakland Athletics’ first 19 batters and yielded one hit over seven shutout innings in his home pitching debut, leading the Los Angeles Angels to a 6-1 victory. Marcus Semien’s clean one-out single to left broke up Ohtani’s bid for a perfect game. Ohtani (2-0) struck out the side twice and finished with 12 strikeouts in all. He won his pitching debut in Oakland last weekend with six strong innings, then homered in three consecutive games in Anaheim between starts in his attempt to become the first regular two-way player in decades.