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Opening Day 4-hit games

Posted by Andy on March 9, 2011

Here are the fellas to have at least 4 hits in his team's first game of the year, going back the last 10 seasons:

Rk Player Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS WPA RE24 aLI BOP Pos. Summary
1 Carlos Gonzalez 2010-04-05 COL MIL W 5-3 5 5 2 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 -0.053 -0.359 .687 1 CF LF
2 Carlos Gomez 2010-04-05 MIL COL L 3-5 5 5 2 4 1 0 1 1 0 0 1 0 0.200 1.920 1.030 2 CF
3 Albert Pujols 2010-04-05 STL CIN W 11-6 5 5 4 4 0 0 2 3 0 0 0 0 0.341 4.464 .803 3 1B
4 Adam Lind 2009-04-06 TOR DET W 12-5 5 5 2 4 0 0 1 6 0 0 0 0 0.214 4.701 .512 5 DH
5 Emilio Bonifacio 2009-04-06 FLA WSN W 12-6 5 5 4 4 0 0 1 2 0 0 3 0 0.164 3.224 .619 1 3B
6 Xavier Nady 2008-03-31 PIT ATL W 12-11 7 7 4 4 1 0 2 4 0 2 0 0 0.627 3.558 1.905 5 RF
7 Josh Bard 2007-04-03 SDP SFG W 7-0 5 5 2 4 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.095 2.641 .510 5 C
8 Hanley Ramirez 2007-04-02 FLA WSN W 9-2 6 6 4 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 2 0 0.153 2.049 .734 1 SS
9 Aaron Miles 2006-04-03 STL PHI W 13-5 5 5 2 4 2 1 0 2 0 0 0 0 0.154 2.960 .392 8 2B
10 Xavier Nady 2006-04-03 NYM WSN W 3-2 4 4 1 4 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.233 2.381 .738 7 RF
11 Jose Cruz 2006-04-03 LAD ATL L 10-11 6 6 3 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.163 2.498 .980 2 LF
12 Hideki Matsui 2006-04-03 NYY OAK W 15-2 6 4 2 4 0 0 1 4 2 0 0 0 0.056 4.249 .187 6 LF
13 Carlos Delgado 2005-04-05 FLA ATL W 9-0 5 5 0 4 1 0 0 3 0 1 0 0 0.002 3.057 .498 4 1B
14 Dmitri Young 2005-04-04 DET KCR W 11-2 5 4 4 4 0 0 3 5 0 0 0 0 0.202 5.248 .360 5 DH
15 Derrek Lee 2005-04-04 CHC ARI W 16-6 6 6 2 4 2 0 1 5 0 1 0 0 0.120 4.083 .353 6 1B
16 Clint Barmes 2005-04-04 COL SDP W 12-10 6 6 2 4 1 0 1 3 0 0 0 0 0.548 1.082 1.317 2 SS
17 Aaron Miles 2005-04-04 COL SDP W 12-10 6 6 3 5 3 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0.579 3.119 1.571 1 2B
18 Todd Helton 2004-04-06 COL ARI W 6-2 5 4 2 4 1 0 0 0 1 0 1 0 0.136 1.479 .668 3 1B
19 Ben Broussard 2004-04-05 CLE MIN L 4-7 5 4 1 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.206 2.222 .892 4 1B
20 Corey Patterson 2003-03-31 CHC NYM W 15-2 6 6 2 4 0 0 2 7 0 1 0 1 0.100 4.586 .549 7 CF
21 Craig Biggio 2001-04-03 HOU MIL W 11-3 5 5 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.086 1.869 .383 2 2B
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 3/9/2011.


  • Clint Barmes and Aaron Miles did it for the same team in the same game.
  • Carlos Gonzalez and Carlos Gomez did it for opposing teams in the same game.
  • Overall teams were 17-3 when at least one of their players had 4 hits.
  • Every position except pitcher is represented. The only time since 1920 that a pitcher got 4 hits on Opening Day was in 1932 by Phil Collins. Every batting order position except 9 is also represented on the list above.
  • Gonzalez from last year is the only player to have a negative WPA for his day. That was in part because of his erasure on a CS after leading off the game with a single. The single put the Rockies' odds of winning from 50% up to 54%, only for it to immediately drop to 48% when he was thrown out. He also grounded into a double play in his only at-bat that didn't result in a hit.

28 Responses to “Opening Day 4-hit games”

  1. Chris Reed Says:

    Would not have guessed that Colorado would lead the charge in opening day five hitters over the last ten years.

    Lind the lone Torontonian, and what a precursor of a season to come. Hopefully he can do that again this year.

  2. Tmckelv Says:


  3. Larry R. Says:

    Against all odds.

  4. Andy Says:

    Laugh. Phil Collins just retired, too. Keep 'em coming.

    I'll go with Turn It On Again

  5. steven Says:

    No (Warmup) Jacket Required

  6. Yippeeyappee Says:

    I Missed Again

  7. Larry R. Says:

    Seriously, Phil "anchored" that '30 Phils staff that, I believe, holds the record for worst staff ERA (6.71). He was the only guy on that staff to have a winning record (16-11) and his ERA+ was 114. Imagine that staff without him.

    The Phils that year hit .315 as a team with 944 runs scored and finished 52-102. Yikes. Phil hit .253 that year with 3 HRs in 87 ABs. Not bad. Now if they only had Peter Gabriel...

  8. Tmckelv Says:

    Aaron Miles and Xavier Nady both accomplished the feat twice (each with 2 different teams).

  9. Andy Says:

    The 93 expansion teams (Rockies and Marlins) account for 1/3rd of the occurrences on the list.

  10. PANRELL Says:

    This list dosen't go back that far,but my personal favorite Tuffy Rhodes againest Doc Gooden in 1994 opening day. 4 for 4 with 3 bombs.Then he went to Japan and become Babe Ruth.

  11. Brett Says:

    Tonight, tonight, tonight.

  12. Tmckelv Says:


    the first person I thought of when reading the headline was Tuffy Rhodes and those 3 HR (I wasn't sure if he got 4 hits, but it didn't matter when I saw the list only went back to 2001).

    Special shout out to Bill(y) "Don't Lose My Number" Skowron for his 4 hits on opening day for the Yanks in 1960.

  13. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    I preferred Phil Collins when he was in Genesis.

    Andy - on Carlos Gonzalez, good of you to point out the "hidden cost" of outs on the basepaths. Practically everyone who saw a 4-for-5 day would think that has to be a good game, no matter what else the batter did.

  14. John Autin Says:

    Whatever the genesis of this topic, Andy seems to have the invisible touch -- just like that 1986 album with 4 hits on its "opening" side (title track; "Tonight, Tonight, Tonight"; "Land of Confusion"; and "In Too Deep").

    Spinning off just a bit ...
    This feat was never achieved by:
    -- Tony "The Mechanic" Fossas (either collected or allowed);
    -- Charlie "The Mechanical Man" Gehringer;
    -- any of the 5 players named Banks.

    Ripper Collins had 4 hits on Opening Day 1938. But as far as the Play Index can determine, none of the other famous Collinses ever achieved this feat -- Eddie Collins (Sr. or Jr.), Rip Collins (P), Shano Collins, Joe Collins or Dave Collins. And Terry Collins never managed a player with 4+ hits on O.D.

    Finally ... Legend has it that, when Tuffy Rhodes went deep for the last time in that '94 opener, Harry Caray declared, "...And then there were three..."

    (You may all kill me now.)

  15. Andy Says:

    Excellent JA 🙂 (I mean the content, not the invitation to kill you)

  16. John Autin Says:

    Re: the negative WPA for Carlos Gonzalez in the first game on the list:

    To deny that Gonzalez had a good game strikes me as a gross misuse of WPA.

    Here are Gonzalez's offensive events, in order:

    -- 1st inning, 1st batter of game: Single, caught stealing. The net result of this is the same as if he had simply made an out at bat.
    -- 3rd inning, man on first, no outs: GIDP.
    -- 5th inning, one out, bases empty: Single; eventually scored from 2nd on a line-drive single to CF. He earns just 1% WPA for these events, because (a) Colorado was ahead 3-0 at the time, so already heavily favored to win -- although the game ended up 5-3; and (b) WPA credits all events on a batting play to the batter -- so Troy Tulowitzki gets 6% WPA for the single that scored CarGo from 2nd, even though an average baserunner might not have scored on that hit.
    -- 7th inning, one out, bases empty, Rox up 4-1: Single; erased on a DP.
    -- 9th inning, two out, bases empty, Rox ahead 4-2: Single; scores from 1st on a double by Spilborghs. CarGo earns virtually zero WPA for these events, because (again) Colorado is already heavily favored to win, plus, a runner on 1st with 2 out is unlikely to score. But he did score, and it turned out to be an important insurance run; without it, there would have been huge pressure on fill-in closer Franklin Morales when Milwaukee got runners to 3rd & 2nd with no out in the bottom of the 9th. Yet Ryan Spilborghs gets all the WPA credit (5%) for this run, even though (again) a slower runner might not have scored from 1st on a double.

    I'm not denying that the CS and GIDP by Gonzalez were detrimental to his team's odds of winning. But I think it's absurd to try to judge a player's game performance simply from his WPA. CarGo had 4 hits and scored 2 runs in a game that his team won, 5-3 -- but he had about the same WPA in that game (-0.053) as did #2 hitter Seth Smith (-0.058), who went 0-4 with 3 Ks and a GIDP, and he scored worse than Clint Barmes (-0.044), who went 0 for 4 with a K.

    Call me stubborn, but I'm just not buying WPA as valid for measuring a player's game performance in anything but the roughest outline. It has too many blind spots: It's mechanistic; a run scored when a team is heavily favored to win means virtually nothing to WPA, even if that run turns out to be the difference in the game. It's too opportunity-dependent; a player who does not come up in key spots has little chance of earning WPA credit. And its attribution of every base advancement that happens on a batted ball to the credit of the batter is just brutal.

  17. DavidRF Says:

    "To deny that Gonzalez had a good game strikes me as a gross misuse of WPA."
    Nobody said that. There's not much point refuting a strawman.

    As far as I'm concerned, WPA is a "fun" metric that simply measures the in-game timeliness of certain events. Its only potential usage that I can see is to refute the common criticism that people have often had about stats in general. "Sure he's got a high OPS (or RBI or whatever) but he never gets a hit when it *matters*". Well, WPA provides a cross-check against that critique.

  18. Andy Says:

    JA, your criticisms of WPA are valid, I think. I wonder, though, whether some of those effects tend to average out. Maybe not..maybe a better baserunner is always losing credit for his baserunning feats on plays like first-to-third, and a batter after him is continually getting credit for things he doesn't deserve.

  19. John Autin Says:

    @16, DavidRF -- You must have overlooked post #12, which read (in part):

    "...on Carlos Gonzalez ... Practically everyone who saw a 4-for-5 day would think that has to be a good game, no matter what else the batter did." (emphasis added)

  20. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #15/... John Autin Says: "Re: the negative WPA for Carlos Gonzalez in the first game on the list: To deny that Gonzalez had a good game strikes me as a gross misuse of WPA..."

    John, I bow to your superior research. I admit, I phrased that wrong: instead of saying:
    "...on Carlos Gonzalez ... Practically everyone who saw a 4-for-5 day would think that has to be a good game, no matter what else the batter did."

    I _should_ have said:
    "...on Carlos Gonzalez ... Practically everyone who saw a 4-for-5 day would think that has to be a {REALLY} good game, BUT IT WASN'T QUITE as GOOD AS YOU MIGHT THINK, DUE to the TWO OUTS MADE ON the BASEPATHS."

    WPA exaggerates greatly the cost of those outs. As you say, WPA is a fun little tool, but not meant to be taken as a literal judgement on a player's performance.

    Hope this calms everyone down...

  21. DavidRF Says:

    They will average out in the long run, but there will always be quirky cases where a string of "unclutchiness" might linger for extended periods of time. Fans have always claimed that's the case for some players. A few years ago when A-Rod was winning MVP's but the Yankees weren't winning pennants, it was quite common for Yankees fans to complain that A-Rod only got big hits when it didn't matter. Well, those arguments can turn to the clutch tables here and see if A-Rod did have a "clutch-slump" or if it was just selective memories.

    As far as single games go. Weird blips always happen with those. A "4-0-4-0" line in an old fashioned box score (no runs or rbi) is not that uncommon. In that same game, the winning run might be a guy who reached on a fielders choice and was driven in by a groundout to second. (I realize WPA does better with those, just using an old-fashioned example)

  22. Andrew Says:

    A very interesting list as it evoked a memory from 1982. I remember looking at an opening day boxscore that year from a Twins' game and seeing that a player I had never heard of had gone 4 for 4 with a pair of home runs. The player was Gary Gaetti, and his whose 350+ home runs thereafter proved it was not a fluke.

  23. DavidRF Says:

    I remember that game! Gaetti got thrown out at the plate going for an IPHR, too... so close to having three HRs.

    That was the first game in the Metrodome. The Twins had any power hitters in a few seasons (team lead in HR: 1981:7, 1980:13) so the influx of young 20-HR players was welcome.

  24. Dr. Doom Says:

    Carlos Gomez, one-day wonder.

    First game as a Met: 2/4 with a 2B.
    First game as a Twin: 2/3 with a 2B, a BB, and 2 SB.
    First game as a Brewer: Mentioned above, 4/5 with a 2B, HR, SB, and a GDP (unfortunately).

    My new idea is for the Brewers to cut him every single day, re-sign him the next day, and to watch him become the first player in history to bat .700 with 200 SB and 160 2B. I don't see any reason this *wouldn't* work.

  25. BobBobson Says:

    There's no Mike Rutherfords or Steve Hacketts, but there were two minor leaguers named Tony Banks.

  26. Andrew Says:

    Dave, thanks for the further info. I had no idea that Gaetti nearly had three home runs that day. And I had also forgotten (if I ever actually knew) that it was the first game at the Metrodome. And as you indicate, they had quite an influx of power hitters with the likes of Gaetti, Hrbek, Brunansky, Puckett, etc. (enough offensive talent, coupled with some fine pitching, to win a couple of championships within a decade of moving to the Metrodome).

  27. DaveKingman Says:

    I think Corey Patterson peaked in that particular game.

  28. 2003:Inexperienced Opening Day Starters » Baseball-Reference Blog » Blog Archive Says:

    [...] Andy's post on Tuesday and the ensuing discussion in the comments, made me wonder about recent inexperienced Opening Day starters.  Here are the Opening Day starters with the least prior major league experience from 2001-2010: [...]