Posted by Andy on April 7, 2010
Covering the years for which we have box scores (1920-1939, 1952-present) here are the games featuring the most different players making their major league debuts.
First, for pitchers:
Most making their debut for one team in the same game:
Wow, four pitchers making their debut for the same team in one game!
Notice that 9 out of 10 of these games came in either April or September, by far the months with the most new player debuts.
And now the most making their debut for either team in the same game:
Interestingly, that 2003 Tigers game holds the record even for both teams combined. I carried the list down to one of the many, many games in which 2 pitchers debuted, the Phillies-Nats game from Monday, which saw the first career appearances by David Herndon and Jesse English. Looking at the minor league numbers for those guys, I'm not sure why either made the big league team this year.
Now for batters, first for one team in the same game:
Whoa, 6. That's a lot. Keep in mind that some of the "batters" are actually pitchers. The most recent time 4 batters debuted for one team was in 2001 for the Giants.
Now here is combined for both teams in the same game:
Every single one of these games came in April, as would be expected. I looked at those 1995 games and was surprised to see that they were in late April, but then I remembered that the season started late due to the lockout. Those two games (#6 and #7 on the list above) were indeed the first games of the year for those teams.