By In Baseball, Golf

Nicklaus and first baseball games

Here’s a fun one — on the first baseball game Jack Nicklaus ever attended.

OF COURSE this was Nicklaus’ first game. It just perfectly fits the life he would lead.

I suspect you will fill up the comment section with your first baseball game. I would hope so.

From Golf Channel: “Of course Jack’s first baseball game was an all-time great.

68 Responses to Nicklaus and first baseball games

  1. Dale says:

    Joe, I was at that same doubleheader against Baltimore, and I remember very well that Gaylord got crushed, because he was my favorite player. But my first games were actually the prior year, a Bat Day doubleheader. Don’t remember who they played (Detroit?), but I do recall the sight of all those yellow bats.

  2. rjkitch13 says:

    I lived most of my childhood in Omaha, so every year my younger brother and I went to the College World Series. I don’t remember the first time we went, but I do remember becoming a Texas Longhorn fan (for one year, anyway), because some friendly Texas fans kept telling us to “Hook ‘Em Horns” all game long and my brother and I loved that!

    My first Major League game is a much better story. In the sixth grade, my teacher took a few of the boys from her class to a Kansas City Royals game. This would have been in 1976. She didn’t take the whole class, just some boys from her class that liked baseball. Needless to say, this wouldn’t fly today. When we got down there, the game was rained out and so to make it up to us, she took us to a showing of Bad News Bears. My parents had never taken me to a PG movie before and I had never heard such salty language in any movie before. Of course, I loved the movie and still do.

    She then arranged another trip to Kansas City with the few boys in her class that liked baseball and we eventually did get to see a Royals game. I don’t remember anything about it except being amazed by the fountain in the outfield. If I had to guess, it was against the White Sox. It’s funny, I remember Bad News Bears better than I remember the game.

  3. Unvenfurth says:

    My first was Reds vs. Phillies in almost new RIverfront Stadium. I remember getting lost on the way to the game, the fact that when we got to the stadium everything was bright white and sparkling clean. There was a rumor that someone saw Pete Rose and Johnny Bench go into the stadium in thier uniforms. We think the guys in the other car that did not get lost were just busting our chops, as the way the old Riverfront Stadium was set up was that it was surrounded by a parking garage and the entry gates were at the top of the second deck, so it would have been extremely unlikely that the two star players would have wandered out IN UNIFORM to mill around with the fans buying tickets. The Reds won 7-2, The Phillies were horrible that year, and the Reds were in the middle of their Big Red Machine years. I do remember that Johnny Bench played the outfield, much to my 9 year old puzzlement.

  4. Larry says:

    I don’t remember my first baseball game. My dad started taking me to Cardinals’ games when I was five at Sportsman’s Park, then called Busch Stadium. I do have many memories of Sportsman’s Park and the Cardinals playing there. My dad also took me to Stan Musial’s final game in 1963. I remember being there, but don’t remember much of the game. I was seven. I have been to all three Busch Stadia, one of many to do so. I’ve attended a lot of games since then. All this has spawned a lifelong love of the Cardinals. I really thank my dad for taking me to the games. He recently died. But, I have many treasured of him and I going to ballgames.

  5. vertov says:

    As course, I write this following a Cardinal fan! Lifelong Cub fan here, saw first game at 9 yo at Wrigley in September 1969. Cards beat Cubs 4 to 1. Easy to remember the date – the 20th – as it was the same day Bob Moose no-hit the Mets. I knew they were in a pennant race with the Mets, and I still recall how ‘half-hearted” the cheers were when the Mets-Pirates final went up. Cubs weren’t technically eliminated yet, but anyone older than 10 knew it was just too little, too late. I kind of feel like it set me up for the next 45 years.

    But talk about Hall-of-Famers! The Cards played Carlton and Brock, and the Cubs played Williams, Santo and Banks! Add to that Fergie and Gibby on the bench (I assume) and two HOF managers, Leo and Red. That’s 9 HOF’ers in uniform, plus Torre and McCarver (post-playing fame) also played.

  6. vertov says:

    Can’t believe I forgot Torre just went in. So that’s 10 HOFers in uniform for a regular season game. That’s got to rate pretty high, I would think.

  7. It was 1968 and the Mets lost 3-0 to the Pirates. The only memory I have of that game is that I almost got hit on the head by a foul ball. To this day it’s the closest I’ve ever come to catching one. Don Cardwell took the loss. I remember looking at his stats and seeing that in his career he’d hit a lot of home runs for a pitcher—15!—and hoped he might hit one in that game, but no, the Mets got all of 2 hits, a single and a double. I remember how high Matty Alou’s batting average was (.329), which meant that he must have been the best hitter on the Pirates, much better than Roberto Clemente (.282). Hey, I was a little kid, what did I know?

  8. Mike says:

    Mets – Pirates at Shea. Summer of ’72. I was 4 1/2. Mets won 7-3.

    Not a terribly notable game, and the fact that Neither Seaver, Koos, nor Matlack pitched is likely all that I noticed or cared about that day.

    Though thanks to Baseball Reference I now know who started in CF for the Amazins that day: none other than Willie Mays! I KNOW my dad and grandfather must’ve pointed that out to me, but I’m equally as certain that I didn’t care.

    But I’m psyched to know I saw him in my first game.

    Also took my son to his first game at Citi Field on Fathers Day 2014. With my father too. My son was 4 and made it through about an inning before he wanted to wander. But he still remembers that Granderson led off the bottom of the 1st with a homer off the foul pole, or “the orange pole” as my son called it.

    (He paid a lot more attention this past season, when he caught pennant fever.)

  9. Matt Sullivan says:

    I had only one real memory of my first baseball game- it was at Fenway Park and Clemens was the starter, I asked my Dad what the K signs meant and he explained that they meant strikeouts and that Clemens had just set a record for K’s in a single game with 20.I found this incredibly exciting and to this day I still love seeing the K signs in deep center and thinking about the moment my Dad taught me this little bit of baseball nuance that makes almost no logical and is all the more wonderful for it. Recently, my parents were moving and found a calendar from in my brother’s baby book that had the date of the game in it – August 30, 1986 Clemens Vs Niekro, the Rocket’s 20th win of season. His line- 7 IP, 3 R, 4H, 1 BB, 11 K. Tony Armas HR. Not exactly dramatic, but a pretty good first game for a Sox fan

    I can vaguely remember being incredibly excited and that feeling of awe at first seeing the Green Monster and the beauty of a big league field stretched out in front of it, but I still feel that today on the rare occasions when I make back there. I know from family lore that I was mildly obsessed with the thick accents of the “pawpcawhn” and “pehnaughts” vendors (I grew up in Rhode Island so this was basically a foreign language). I am sure that Armas home run must have been very exciting, but really, the memory I still have today is just asking my dad about the signs and being impressed by the answer, feeling let in on some great bit of mythology and feeling like that guy who brought me here knew just about everything I would ever want to know.

    • Tim Day says:

      Not my first game, but I attended this same game in ’86. Had seats four rows behind the catcher. Still my favorite game. Watching two magical pitchers with completely different styles. BTW, my first game was a Mets-Pirates game at Shea in the late 60’s. I remember three things. One guy in our section was mercilessly heckling Ron Swoboda. And Clemente hit two homers. Enough said.

      • I believe your first game was the day before my first game, 9/14/68. I was trying to find my game on Baseball-Reference and caught the box score for yours. Clemente hit two homers—off of Tom Seaver! And Swoboda went 0-4 with a K and a GIDP, so he deserved what heckling he got.

  10. Brad says:

    August 9th, 1973 – Red Sox vs. Royals, first year Royals stadium opened. Royals won 3-2. Steve Busby pitched for KC and new Royal Hal McRae hit one of the longest HR’s in stadium history off of Spaceman Lee, a shot that hit the upper back wall of the left field bullpen. Another five feet and it would have cleared the bullpen. This was before the stadium renovation, old timers will remember the layout. After the game I asked Carl Yaztremski for his autograph, only to have him blow me off. For a twelve year old baseball diehard, that was a rude awakening to athletes. Yaz has since been known in our family as Carl F-in Yaztremski, or that c*cksucker Carl Yaztremski. Even my 75 year old mother still calls him that. Good times.

  11. OLD Twins fan says:

    July 3, 1961, Twins vs White Sox at old Metropolitan Stadium. My aunt and uncle were visiting from Chicago and decided, what with major league baseball being new to Minnesota, we had to go the game. I have only 2 distinct memories: First, walking out of the concourse into the second deck: the bright white lights, the greenest grass I’d ever seen: a magic atmosphere that I still feel at night games. Second, as it was a night game, I was not yet 10, my brother only 8, and my sister only 6, my parents decided after 6 innings that we needed to get home so that my sister could get to bed. Game had been fairly quiet, and as I look back at the box score, the Twins were up 3-1, so no big deal, right? Top of 7, the Sox score 2 to tie. Bottom of the 7th, Bob Allison hits a grand slam to make the score 7-3. And all this happens WHILE WE WERE STILL IN THE PARKING LOT, trying to get out with the crowd. The the White Sox score 2 more in the 8th, and 1 in the 9th before the Twins escaped with a 7-6 win. To this day, I still find it very difficult to leave a game early, and have never lost my feeling of wonder at a night game.

  12. hardy callcott says:

    June 26, 1970, RFK Stadium, Orioles at Senators. I’d just turned nine. Frank Robinson hit two grand slams – never had been done before. And in the top of the ninth, he was on deck, with the bases loaded again, when Paul Blair got the third out of the inning. (I had remembered it as pitcher Dave McNally getting the last out, but of course that didn’t make sense – actually McNally was on base at the time.)

  13. invitro says:

    I’ll keep mine short as it’s dull. I grew up many hours from the nearest MLB city, and my parents weren’t much into attending pro sporting events anyway, so I had to wait until college for my first game. It was the Braves near the beginning of their run, in either late 1991 or early 1992. I don’t remember anything that happened in that game, or the many other Braves games I traveled to in the 1990’s. I think I may have been either paying more attention to my girlfriend, or trying to find one.

  14. Not quite my first game (which I can’t remember other than a vague image in my head of those awful old Mariners jerseys), but the first one I have clear and specific memories of: opening day 1989. I was visiting Oakland where my dad had just come back from six months on an aircraft carrier. He took us to see the Mariners face the A’s. It was Ken Griffey Jr.’s first game (he doubled in his first at bat), but the A’s won on a McGwire home run out to left. We were sitting in the VERY top row of the Coliseum. Where if you turned around you could look straight down to the ground far below. It was terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

    I was already a big baseball fan. But that’s the moment when I became a lifer.

  15. KHAZAD says:

    June 23rd 1973. Rangers at the Royals in what was then a brand new stadium. I remember being upset that Freddie Patek was not in the lineup. My Uncle took me to the game, which had a great ending. The Rangers were up 3-2, and the Royals scored twice in the bottom of the eighth to go one run up. Unfortunately, Gene Garber (who would pitch another 15 years) completely blew up and allowed 4 runs in the top of the ninth to put the Rangers up 7-4.

    My Uncle’s friend wanted to leave then, but my Uncle insisted on staying for the bottom of the inning. The Royals had 7 straight men reach base without making an out, (I remember it as all singles and walks, station to station, but BR tells me that John Mayberry had a double.) with Paul Schaal getting the walk off bases loaded single to win it 8-7. (Paul was second only to Freddie in the list of my favorites that year, but he was traded at the beginning of the next season to make room for a young whippersnapper named George Brett.)

    My Uncle turned to me and said “That’s why you never leave a game early”, and I never have since.

  16. Greg says:

    Oakland A’s vs. Detroit Tigers, June 1975. I was 4, and all I remember about the game was the Tigers won, but it was bat day, and I got a bat of my favorite player — Reggie!

  17. Chuck Nichols says:

    August 18th, 1983 (thanks Retrosheet).
    Family vacation to St. Louis, including a game at Busch between the Cardinals and Astros, Niekro vs. Andujar, but it wasn’t much of a pitcher’s duel. The game went to extra innings, and we discussed leaving, but decided to stay. Andy Van Slyke walked it off with a home run in the bottom of the 10th.

  18. George says:

    Cleveland Indians v. Milwaukee Brewers in 1971 (I think)

    We sat in reserved seats down the first baseline in old Cleveland Stadium. It was Bat Day. They gave every kid a baseball bat. I still have mine.

    Steve Dunning made his major league debut. Eddie Leon hid a HR to right field for the Tribe.

  19. emptyshirt says:

    My first game was at Cincinnati’s Crosley Field on Sept 15, 1967, Cardinals at Reds. We lived 60 miles away and I had been wanting to go to a game and my father finally decided he and I would make the trip. I think he chose the Cardinals as the opponents because they were very good that year (as we now know:-)) even though they would likely beat the Reds. Steve Carlton was the winning pitcher over Gary Nolan with a 2H, 8K performance. Current Cards broadcaster Mike Shannon hit a homer. I still have the tickets, scorecard and program from the game. What I remember: being surprised there were pillars blocking your view from some seat and a foul ball coming relatively close. Most sharply in memory was the discovery that (apparently) the visitors’ clubhouse was outside the main stadium; as we were walking to the car I heard voices and the entire Cardinals team was walking along behind us. No, unfortunately I did not stop for autographs — another folly of youth.

  20. Vince says:

    Mets-Pirates on a Sunday afternoon at Three Rivers in June 1989. It was really, REALLY laid-back and my recollection of it is fuzzy. Two months later, I saw the Indians and Yankees at Cleveland Stadium. There was twice the noise from half the crowd of the Pirates game, I saw Herb Score walking the concourse and the Indians scored two in the eighth to win it. I was hooked.

  21. Don Bashline says:

    September 30, 1956 – my uncle George took me to Ebbets Field to celebrate my 8th birthday. The Dodgers clinched the pennant that day against the Pirates – it was Jackie Robinson’s last regular season game with the Dodgers, and he hit a home run, as did Roy Campanella. We sat next to two women who tried to teach me how to keep score, but my head was on a swivel for the whole game. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing – no color TV in those days, folks, and I was looking at the greenest grass, the whitest uniforms, the brownest dirt, the biggest crowd I’d ever seen. I’ve never gotten over it, I don’t think.

    Thanks for asking.

  22. Todd Leabo says:

    My first game was late in 1973 at the brand new Royals Stadium. I have no memories of the game because I was only 3 1/2 years old. There are photos to prove I was there. I do remember taking my son to his first game… he’ll never remember because he was less than a year old, but once again there are photos and a pennant I purchased (and wrote details of the game on the back). The game was the first regular season inter-league game at Kauffman Stadium. Houston (now in the AL) at KC. Jose Rosado pitched a CG (a Royals’ pitcher throwing a CG?!?!?!). The Royals basically spent the entirety of my son’s youth being horrible so he never really cared about baseball. Fortunately the past few years have brought thousands of KC kids back to baseball, and I was happy to be able to get my kids to several postseason games. They were are the 2014 WC game (12 innings) and Game 1 of the 2015 WS (14 innings). Safe to say they’ll NEVER forget those nights.

  23. MJ Connolly says:

    Red Sox-Orioles double-header in Baltimore, April, 1982. Eckersley shut out the Orioles in game one; Dennis martinez beat the Red Sox in game two, though gave up a homer to a seemingly fossilizing Carl Yastrzemski. Wade Boggs’s major league debut (at first base!). Seven hall of famers on the field: Yaz, Rice, Boggs, Eck, Tony Perez (DHing for Sox), Eddie Murray, and Ripken, plus Palmer in the bullpen on his day off.

  24. Richard says:

    I don’t know exactly when my first game was; I went to Yankee Stadium (the old one, even before the rebuilding in 1973-74) on a Cub Scout field trip. I remember they hosted Kansas City, and the pillars….

    The first game I remember anything about was when my uncle, a die-hard Mets fan, took me to a game at Shea. I’m almost positive it was August 9, 1975 – it was an NBC Game of The Week (I recall seeing Tony Kubek interviewing a player on the sidelines before the game), the Mets hosted the Dodgers, and it was the game when Davey Lopes either tied or set the record for the most consecutive stolen bases without getting caught.

  25. danielazdkc says:

    August 24, 2002. Twins at Royals. I was 15. Growing up in nw Arkansas there’s no teams around, but one of my youth leaders decided to take a group from the church up to kc for the day. It was awesome. A baseball field is one of the prettiest things you can see. I remember being blown away watching the twins bullpen before the game seeing Brad radke and aj pierzynski warming up, two people I’d only ever seen on tv, now 20-30 feet away from me. Paul Byrd was pitching for the royals, and he was having a random really good season. My other takeaway was seeing how big David Ortiz was. This was before he was well known in Boston. I don’t remember who won but traffic was bad leaving because Florida state and Iowa state were playing at arrowhead that night to start college football season.

  26. Patrick Bohn says:

    I don’t actually remember my first baseball game. I know it was a Twins game, and that I ate one of those ropes of giant licorice. But that’s it. I went to a Pirates-Reds game on May 4, 1992, which I remember because of the 11-run inning the Pirates had. But for me, going to baseball games *officially* started on July 30, 1992 when my Dad took me to my first Yankees game. I was nine. He got dugout passes, so I’m walking up the tunnel, and a player yells out “Hey kid, you got a pass?” It was Mel Hall, who was nice, and gave me a baseball. (Which is really creepy now). I had my picture taken with several players, including Pat Kelly—nicest player ever—who let me hold his glove, and Matt Nokes, who let me hold his bat. I later got the Nokes picture autographed. The big prize was a picture with Don Mattingly, my favorite player. Unfortunately, my dad accidentally exposed the film and lost that photo, but it was still the one of the best days ever.

    The Yankees won 6-3, behind Curt Young. When I got married this past summer, I framed the box score from the game and gave it to my father as a gift. He loved it.

  27. ajnrules says:

    I’m a young’un so my first game wasn’t until July 5, 1993. It was the Royals vs the Orioles and I went with my dad and my sister as well as a few of my dad’s friends. My memories from the game itself was a bit fuzzy other than the 7-1 score. For example it had completely left my mind that Kevin Appier left after only four batters and that Rico Rossy hit the first home run I ever saw and that the Royals scored all seven of their runs in the eighth until I looked the game up on Baseball Reference later.

    I do remember being fairly terrified of the upper deck seating. The most prominent memory was that I had looked forward to getting to see George Brett play in what was likely his final season, but he ended up taking the day off, one of only 17 games he took off in that final season. I did get to see Cal Ripken Jr, who went 0 for 4 and grounded into two double plays*.

    *the interesting thing is that eight years later I went to watch an Orioles game in Camden during Ripken’s farewell tour. He got his 3,154th hit that day which tied him with none other than George Brett.

  28. Gareth Owen says:

    May 1, 2000 – Mets v. Giants at Pacific Bell Park. Shawn Estes gave up 1 run in 7 IP; Jeff Kent made a great play on a line-drive for a 3-4 double play in the top of the 2nd, then hit a lead off homer in the bottom of the 2nd.

    Oh, and in the bottom of the 6th, Barry Bonds absolutely crushed a Rich Rodriguez pitch that sailed almost directly over our heads on the wall in right field and into McCovey Cove, rolling the the Splash Hit counter from “000” to “001”.

    The place went so mental, my friend Jane looked up briefly from her book

  29. murr2825 says:

    Not a major league game, but a triple A game in Syracuse. The Chiefs were still the top farm team for the Yanks and there was a pop up behind home plate. The Chiefs’ catcher went back for it and tripped on his face mask. I told my friend, with all the certainty of a 12 year old, “that guy’s going far.” The catcher was Thurman Munson.

  30. Sam says:

    Aug. 3, 1970 at Shea Stadium. Cubs 6, Mets 1. Dad tells me to grab my glove – we’re going for a ride. The background is that we live in Queens and forever are driving to the Bronx to visit relatives. Well if you were on the Grand Central Parkway on the way to the Whitestone Bridge, you’d pass Shea. Just seeing it used to be my favorite part of that drive. This time – I was 7 – he surprised me by taking the exit and going in for the game.

    The particulars that I remember: that it was against the Cubs; sitting in the upper deck; that the Mets lost; and that Johnny Callison hit a homer to left. But mostly it’s the excitement that rose up in me when I realized we were going to the game and not just driving past the stadium again. And the excitement of actually being in the crowd.

    (Post Script #1): It’s about 12 years later and I’m in college in Florida. I’m at the library, but instead of studying like I should be, I’m using the fragments that I remember to dig through the microfilm and print out the page from The New York Times (Aug. 4, 1970) that contains the game story. This was well before Hell, this was well before the internet. Anyway, somehow my young mind did not remember that it was Jerry Koosman vs. Ferguson Jenkins that night. Fergie threw a three-hitter at the Mets. I’ve still got that yellowed copy of the game story framed at my house.

    (Post Script #2): It’s about 10 years ago, and I’ve got my son with me for a ballgame at Tropicana Field. Just off the rotunda at the Trop, an MLBPA alumni group is staging an autograph event. So I have the opportunity to relate the tale of my first game to my 11-year-old boy as we meet Fergie Jenkins. As I extend my hand I notice how calloused – and large – his right hand is. The baseball must have seemed the size of a tangerine in his grip. He is genial and gracious. Couldn’t have been kinder. His response to this young Mets fan’s first game: a smile, and as he turns from me to shake my son’s hand he says, “Yeah, I used to do that to them a lot.”

    There isn’t a single detail of this entire story that I don’t cherish.

  31. Chris S says:

    I went to two games before I turned two, and even though I know which games they were because my parents saved the ticket stubs, I think my real first game should be the one I actually remember.

    July 1, 1994 – Toronto at Kansas City. Interesting mostly because the Blue Jays were the two time defending champs and this was the strike season. My main memories are watching Kevin Appier warmup before the game and deciding that he was my favorite player (this only lasted until the next season when I started watching Cubs games on WGN and decided Sammy Sosa was my favorite player) and that a giant thunderstorm rolled in just minutes after the game ended (the Royals won on a Brian McRae walkoff single in the bottom of the 12th).

  32. TS says:

    My first game was a Royals-Brewers game in KC, 1973. I remembered that Amos Otis hit a game winning 3 run homer in the bottom of the ninth. I had worried that maybe I didn’t remember it correctly but found the box score on line and there it was. I would have guessed the score at 9-8 but it was 7-5 instead. Steve Busby pitched for the Royals, which I disappointingly don’t remember. Either way, all very cool.

    • TS says:

      I did also see an MLB exhibition game in 1969 (I think) at the old Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha. Montreal and Cleveland. I believe both Sam McDowell and Luis Tiant pitched for Cleveland. Can’t remember anything else. ’69 would have been the Expos expansion year.

  33. DjangoZ says:

    Wausau Timbers vs Beloit Brewers (I think) in my hometown of Wausau.

    Our little league coaches took us to the game and paid for root beers and hot dogs for everyone – we were in heaven. The Timbers were a Seattle Mariners minor league team and Jim Presley was on the team (I got autographs from everyone on the team on a program that night and I looked up the players years later).

    I don’t remember much from the game except that a relief pitcher was warming up just to the left of the stands before going into the game and one of his pitches flew up and over the metal fence behind the catcher and sailed into the stands and beaned a woman in the side of the head. She was laid out flat and paramedics came up and attended to her. We were alot more careful at our next practice.

  34. EnzoHernandez11 says:

    Red Sox at Angels, August, 1967. The impossible dream was still more than a month away and Tony C. was still a week or so away from that horrible beaning that occurred when the two teams went back to Boston. First Angels hitter, Jose Cardenal, gets an ITP home run when Yaz crashes into the wall (he was ok). Halos held on to win 3-2 despite a 9th inning HR by Petrocelli. Angels were still in the race at that point, but faded shortly thereafter. Two years later, expansion came and I switched my loyalty to the Padres.

  35. Sass says:

    It was a Sunday afternoon game at Connie Mack Stadium against the St. Louis Cardinals. Third base line. 1958, The Phillies were bad but I loved them nonetheless. I saw the great Stan Musial that day. The thing I will always remember though was the annoying guy behind us yelling, ‘Hit the ball Stanley Frank!’ every time Stan the man batted.
    God I love baseball.

  36. My first baseball game happened on some local yard, an unknown time ago. My first planned MLB game was when we lived in Syracuse (so sometime before 1968) when my dad was going to take us to a Yankee game, but it was rained out. My first actual MLB game wasn’t until 1974-ish, when we’d moved to Vermont. Biggest memories? The Prudential Center appearing above the trees lining I93 as we drove into Boston, and how green Fenway was from our right field seats, dominated by the enormous outfield. Oh, and how much I wanted an official jersey, but knew it would never happen.

  37. PJS says:

    July, 1965, Crosley Field. 10 years old. My family lived near Columbus, but we were visiting relatives in Huntington WV and took the train from Huntington to Cincinnati.

    Joe Nuxhall vs. Vernon Law. Tommy Harper homered leading off the bottom of the 1st for the Reds, but that’s all they got as they lost 3-1 to the Pirates. Saw Pete Rose (and got his autograph before the game), Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Tony Perez, Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell, and Bill Mazeroski. Still have the scorecard with Rose’s autograph.

  38. Austin says:

    I don’t really have strong memories about my first game. I was in college and went with some friends….the Phillies lost….that was about it.

    What I do remember is the first game I went to with my dad. He was always a baseball fan but never really liked going to games so we didn’t go to any growing up. I managed to get tickets to the Phillies first playoff game in 2010 and he was free that afternoon so I took him. We sat literally touching the foul pole and proceeded to watch Roy Halladay no hit the Reds. Definitely one I’ll never forget.

  39. My first game was Cubs/Phillies at Wrigley Field August 5th, 1988. This was the first game of the 4 game series that culminated in the ill fated 8/8/88 game where God expressed his displeasure with the demise of daytime only baseball in Chicago. I bought a Wrigley first lights T Shirt that I still had into the 2000’s.

    The Cubs, of course, lost. I got to see Mike Schmidt hit his 541st career home run. (I thought it was cool that I had remembered he ended 1987 on 530.) The family friend we stayed with in Chicago ahead of the game noted that Greg Maddux was starting and that was going to be a treat. He didn’t have the greatest game, though. (He was 15-3 at the All Star Break, but “only” won 3 more the rest of the year. Hey, it was 1988. Wins mattered.) The best part, though, was Andre Dawson homered in the 2nd. He was my favorite player and had a pretty solid game in the loss.

  40. Dan says:

    Well, I saw the Hamilton (Ontario) Cardinals when I was very young. I always assumed they were a St. Louis farm team until I Google’d them just now – turns out it’s an amateur Inter-County Baseball League team. I won a bat, I remember that. It wasn’t bat give-away day or anything; my actual ticket stub was drawn, and it was a pretty good bat (small, but so was I). Don’t think I had every won anything before, and I was pretty excited.

    First MLB game: Toronto Blue Jays, 1977, Exhibition Stadium, sometime in the spring, it was cold but no snow. The artificial turf was green but not especially so. The outfield fence that curved around to cut off half the football field was pretty funky. I think Dave Lemanczyk pitched. You could get these big family-size cartons of Coke. No idea who the opponents were, or anything else about it.

    • Chris H says:

      I had forgotten they used to sell the cartons of coke. Nowadays, the individual cups are about the same size, I think.

  41. drpaulsem says:

    May 7, 1977

    Yankee Stadium.

    Yankees vs Oakland A’s.

    Dad took me and two neighbors, slightly older than me, who I looked up to as the epitome of cool, to the game. We sat out in left field.

    We kept score. Dad doing most of that, but teaching me how…a tradition I kept for decades. I still have the scorecard.

    I had a hot dog and a soda.

    The Yankees won 11-2.

    Don Gullett went the distance for the Yankees.

    Mickey Rivers homered. Roy White homered. But, best of all, Graig Nettles, my hero, homered.

    I miss the Yankee Stadium of my youth…

  42. hds says:

    My first baseball game was at the brand-spanking new Riverfront Stadium in August, 1970. Reds played the Giants. Bench, Perez and Rose (managed by Sparky) got beat by Mays, McCovey, Perry and Marichal. Seven hall of famers, with another who has the statistics, but not the morals.

  43. NevadaMark says:

    The first game I remember was Senators vs Yankees on the last day of the season in 1971. The Senators ended up forfeiting the game. That was pretty weird.

  44. Cuban X Senators says:

    I was a babe in arms at the newly rechristened RFK Stadium. If the Indians were visiting (and since my mom was from an Indians minor-league town and would have wanted to see the familiar players, that would make sense), it’s entirely possible that there were zero Hall of Famers playing that day.

    My first memory of visiting a ballpark was a Red Sox @ Orioles double-header that was rained out. But we got Rick Dempsey dashing around the tarp and the Spaceman went out into the outfield and hit massive pop-ups after which he’d drop his bat, grab a glove and go catch his own pops. Plus we walked away with the raincheck. Not bad really.

  45. Brent says:

    Not sure exactly what year my first game was, but since I was born the same year as the Royals and my first memory was of Royals Stadium, not Municipal Stadium, it had to be 1973 or later I recall being pretty young, so I would guess it was 1973 or 1974. The first real memory of a game that I was at in person is Game 4 of the 1977 ALCS (the Mayberry “toothache” game).

  46. Chris H says:

    I don’t remember much about my real first game – my dad took my brother and me to Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. I think we still lived in Columbus at the time, and one of the things I remember was driving past the Kings Island amusement park with its replica of the Eiffel Tower. Which would make the year 1972, and would have made me 6. I remember the opponent was the Phillies. I remember the enormousness of Riverfront, the animated scoreboard (just white lights, of course), and what the field looked like from where we were sitting, maybe on the second deck. I remember riding home in the back seat of our Volkswagen. I would have seen three HOFers, plus Pete Rose, so that’s pretty good – or would be if I could remember anything they did. I wasn’t a big baseball fan at the time; the Big Red Machine changed that.

    Later, to be contrarian in Central Ohio, I became an Indians fan, and I think of my real first game as the time my dad took me to Cleveland Stadium. My dad was the sort of guy who knew people, and he managed to get us a tour of the press box where I met, briefly, Herb Score and his then-partner Nev Chandler.

    (*Side note about Nev: he was a terrific baseball announcer and one of the best partners Herb Score had in his long career – they were a great pair. And then, maybe because the travel was wearing on him, he moved over to the Browns and became one of the best football announcers I’ve heard. He developed cancer young – Doug Dieken said Nev climbing up to the booth every week was braver than anything he saw on a football field. His was the voice of my childhood, late nights reporting all the scores after a game from the west coast, and I still miss hearing it.)

    But my second first game: It was October 1, 1980, and the Indians were playing the Yankees. When we were in the press box, Herb Score said, “let me see your tickets,” and had someone upgrade us to box seats directly behind the plate. Cleveland Stadium was enormous, of course, and empty in October, and the Yankees thrashed the Indians thoroughly. Len Barker was on the hill, trying to win his 20th, and failing miserably – the box score says he lasted one and two-thirds. He would have been the first 20-game winner for the Tribe since Gaylord Perry – who, it turns out, came in relief of Tommy John and took the win. I hadn’t been aware of that little coincidence until looking it up just now. Anyway, the Yankees were clobbering the ball all over the ballpark, including Reggie who mashed one that went directly away from us, getting tinier and tinier until it disappeared right behind the 400 foot sign in center field. We stayed until then end, which meant I got to see my hero Joe Charboneau pinch hit – he’d pulled a hamstring late in the year – and bloop one into right center for a base hit. The crowd – such as it was – gave him a standing O, which puzzled my dad a bit, but I explained he’d probably win rookie of the year, which he did of course.

    And I remember curling up to sleep in the back of our giant blue station wagon on the way home. Time of the game, Baseball Almanac reports, was 3:13, and if I recall they were starting games at 8:00 back then, so we would have arrived back home around 1:30 or so. The things our fathers did for us.

  47. birtelcom says:

    If you are curious, Bob Feller gave up six grand slams in his MLB career.. In addition to Joe D., the guys who hit slams off Feller were: Bob Johnson, Bobby Doerr, Sam Chapman, Aaron Robinson and Clyde Vollmer. That Vollmer slam was a 16th inning walk off grand slam, the latest grand slam in MLB history. Feller had entered in relief in the 15th inning.

  48. invitro says:

    I’m wondering if Joe is going to share his thoughts on Springsteen cancelling his Charlotte concert in order to stand in solidarity with the men who wish to use the girls’ restroom.

  49. Lorne Vinish says:

    August 1980 – Afternoon game -Texas Rangers v Toronto Blue Jays at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. A friend and I were 22 and we rode our motorcyles 1700 miles from western Canada to Toronto. Exhibition Stadium was on the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and that week was the annual Exhibition. Buy a ticket to the game and you got onto the grounds for free. Don’t remember much about the game other than there weren’t many folks there. Later that evening the Doobie Brothers were playing in the Stadium and we tried to get in using our baseball game stubs – no dice.

  50. J Hench says:

    I have no recollection of my first major league game, except that it would have been a Yankees game in (probably) 1985-87. Family lore has it that while walking through the loge level concourse on our way to the seats, I could see the field at a slightly different angle through each entryway, so that by the time we got to our seats (we usually sat up along the third-base line) I thought that there were 20 different fields, each one with a different game, that we had passed by.

  51. John says:

    Reading all of these remembrances of readers’ first games is awesome.

    My first professional baseball game was undoubtedly a Columbus Clippers (Yankees AAA at the time, now the Indians AAA, with a brief affiliation with the Nats in between) game sometime early in the 1984 season. The Clippers at that time were led by Butch Hobson and Dan Briggs. Beyond that, I can’t remember anything about it except that I took home pennants from both the Yankees and the Clippers. (Remember pennants? They hung on my walls as a child until both were yellow.)

    But my first Major League baseball game is burned indelibly in my memory… August 17, 1984. Riverfront Stadium. Cincinnati, Ohio. Pete Rose returns to the Reds as Player-Manager. We were either high in the blue seats or low in the green (I have a ticket stub somewhere but don’t feel like digging through boxes to find it) right around the bag on the first base side behind the Reds dugout. I remember the single, then the error, and then Pete’s headfirst slide into third as he took two bases on the play. My parents had bought those tickets months earlier. As luck would have it, it was Pete’s first game back and my first game ever. I was 8 years old.

    My second major league game was almost 13 months later. September 11, 1985. Again, my parents had bought those tickets months earlier (Dad was on the road for work and missed the game… only Mom and I went. He’s always regretted it). We were in the green seats, down the left field line, almost to the corner. As luck would have it I was, once again, there for history. In the bottom of the first, Pete singles to left center and breaks Ty Cobb’s record. Play stops for an unbelievably long amount of time as an entire city loses its collective mind. (Yes, I realize that the stats would eventually say that he actually broke the record a few days earlier in Chicago. But no one who was there that night cares… at all.)

    No further explanation is needed for why I do, and will always, bleed Cincinnati Red.

    My Dad and I also got to see the ’88 All-Star game in-person from way up in the red seats below the Winston sign in right-center.

    And in 1990, my father and I must have attended close to 15 games and never saw that wire-to-wire team win once. We were on vacation at Disney World in Florida as the World Series played out. He caught a nasty bug and was as sick on that vacation as I have ever seen him. (Thankfully.)

    So sick, in fact, that he made me turn off the tv in the hotel room in the 2nd inning of game 4 so he could get some much-needed rest. “They’re not going to sweep the A’s,” he said. They did. And I missed it. And I’ve been waiting for another moment of Cincinnati sports triumph ever since.

    And yes, my father gets reminded of that fact frequently. Still. And forever.

    As a footnote, FSOhio showed that 1990 Game 4 a couple of years ago as part of their Reds Rewind series, so I finally got to see it. It only mildly reduced the amount of teasing I throw my Dad’s way for making me shut off the tv in that Orlando hotel room back in 1990.

    I’ll second the sentiment above… the things our parents did for us.

  52. Roberto says:

    Pirates versus Giants, Forbes Field, early 1960’s. I remember a pop fly, a great throw, and a lesson. I was 11 years old and already an avid Pirates fan. We walked into the stadium with the first inning underway and I remember being amazed at how impossibly green the grass was and how bright the lights were. A “routine” major league pop fly to Bob Bailey at 3d base ended the inning and I couldn’t imagine how a baseball could be propelled that high into the air. At some point mid-game, my favorite player of all time, Roberto Clemente, threw a rope from right field to home plate. I can’t remember if the throw resulted in an out, a score, or a stopped runner, I just remember the throw was the most amazing athletic feat I ever saw. With the Pirates leading in the 6th or 7th inning, Willie Mays came to the plate with runners on base and I joined in with the fans around us who let out a chorus of boos. My Grandfather, the greatest man I ever knew, told me to knock it off and show some respect for the player and for the game. And, I never booed a great player just for being great ever again. Mays delivered with a single and the Giants won the game, but that hardly mattered at all.

  53. shagster says:

    Braves. Atlanta Fulton County Stadium. Post Aaron. Pre Dale. Chief Knockahoma and his aluminum teepee was starring attraction. Think team best player may have been ‘Blob’ Horner. Place so empty, home run balls rattled around under the rows of outfield stands. A kid could be 4 – 5 sections over. See a ball role to a stop. And have a chance of claiming it as their own. No ball for me that trip but I still came home a success, having scavenged a tower of plastic logo’d cups at game’s end for mom to make like new with a run through the dishwasher. The team was miserable. The place was absolutely magic.

  54. Nick says:

    September 1986. Toronto at Boston, the day the Sox clinched the division in a laugher of a game. I remember Oil Can Boyd throwing a gem (I was 5 and loved his nickname) and my favorite player Jim Rice made out after out after out after out (a harbinger for 1987 and beyond). I think everyone else in the lineup got a hit or two though, it was a slugfest. My mom kept trying to point out ‘the Green Monster’ and I had no clue what she was talking about. I kept looking for a literal monster somewhere in the stands and then finally just pretended I saw it to get her off my back. In the ninth inning, they lined the foul lines with cops on horseback because a couple days before the NYC crowds had torn up Shea Stadium in celebration. A neighboring fan jumped the fence to get a foul ball and the police took it away from him and gave it to my sister. They let the guy stay in the park though… because how often did you get to see the Sox clinch at home? It spoiled me for baseball games for sure, but then two weeks later Game 6 happened and I got to learn what it was really like to be a Sox fan.

  55. TexasTim says:

    Growing up in Canada I didn’t get into Baseball until my early teens (hockey and fast pitch softball was what I played). So mine was Sept 14th 1980 Jays/Orioles at Exhibition Stadium in Toronto. I was 14 at the time and the only thing I recalled about the game was Eddie Murray hit 3 solo home runs in a 4-3 loss to the Jays. That memory allowed me to quickly find it on Baseball Reference and then see it was a 13 inning game (didn’t recall that) and that Palmer started for the Orioles (didn’t recall that either).

    Best game I ever saw live was Aug 25th 1990 Red Sox/Jays. Clemens went the distance to beat David Wells 1-0 on a solo home run by Dwight Evans. My Dad had gotten 2 tickets 5 rows directly behind the plate and my best friend and I attended the game. The speed of Clemens fastball and the sound it made when hitting the catchers mitt was something neither of us has ever forgotten. The Sox made 3 errors and the Jays had men on base in the 7th through 9th innings and yet there was never a guy up in the Bullpen. When the game ended the Stadium played Elton John’s ‘Rocket Man’ in tribute to Clemen’s effort which both my friend and I thought was very cool. Regardless of what he did in his later career he was such an absolute beast in his prime.

    A few years later I moved to Texas and was snagged tickets to the first ever inter league game (Giants/Rangers) that I still have the program and commemorative pin from and was excited to sit in the bleachers and watch Bonds up close (I was and remain a huge fan of 90’s era Barry Bonds).

    • otistaylor89 says:

      I met my wife at a party the night of the 1990 game (well, at 2:00 am 8/26/90). One of the best games, I believe, Roger ever pitched as his team did nothing to help (except the HR). I’ll never forget the date of that game!

  56. Jeremy T says:

    I’m way down at the bottom at this point, so I don’t expect anyone will actually read this, but my first MLB game was Father’s Day 1996, CLE @ NYY. In my memory the Yankees won 5-4, but I looked it up more recently and it turns out it was actually 4-3 (or maybe the other way around, the memories of the game and the subsequent BaseballReference lookup have melded a bit). I remember walking down to the edge of the balcony to watch the final outs. The home team won, it was Bat Day, so me and my brother both got free bats, and the Yankees went on to win their first World Series of many. Great way to start an expected lifelong love of the sport!

  57. otistaylor89 says:

    5 1/2 years old, no Hall of Famers or future HOFs. Sick Stadium, 2nd game of a doubleheader, Seattle Pilots vs. KC, 6/20/1969. I remember how few people there were, that foul balls were raining down on us, but my dad didn’t want my older brother and myself to get hurt casing after them. Quick, a little over 2 hour game and we were home just in time for the 10:00 news.
    My family moved to Boston in 1972 and my 2nd game was BOS vs. OAK , sold out with Reggie playing CF for the soon-to-be World Champs A’s and the Boston fans were throwing hot dogs onto the field next to Reggie.

  58. BSChief says:

    August 9, 1977, Tribe at Orioles. I was 24 (I grew up in Alabama, so only had major league football until I moved North). Duane Kuiper batting lead-off for the Indians. Ross Grimsley pitched a 3-1 compete game 4-hitter win for the Birds. My main memories are the incredible junk that Grimsley threw, and the comical off-balance cuts that Cleveland batters took. Also, my Ballmer hosts directed my attention to the rookie DH, Eddie Murray, who was viewed as a big prospect. He had some impressive cuts as I recall, but went 0-fer. Lee May was the first baseman that season. As an O’s fan ever since, I recall the combination of confidence in the stands that of course the Birds would be contenders that season (finished in second place, with 97 wins), and the paltry number of fans in attendance — fewer than 9,000 for a muggy Tuesday night game. Great times for O’s fans.

  59. denopac says:

    June 8, 1967. Senators 0 @ Yankees 6. My best friend’s father took us. After the Senators were out in the top of the ninth (complete game 4-hitter by Joe Verbanic) and everyone got up to leave I asked my friend’s father if we could stay and watch the Yankees hit in the bottom of the ninth. He had to explain to me that the game was over.

    PS – The time of the game was 2:05 (that’s the length, not the starting time). These days it would have clocked in at about 3:10 and I probably wouldn’t have been so eager to stay for more.

    PPS – Attendance for a Thursday night in June (I don’t recall it raining) was 7,296.

  60. Mike from Pittsburgh says:

    While I can recall specifics from a lot of games I’ve attended, I’m oddly uncertain if I can recall the first one, exactly. I’m sure it was with my dad, and sure it was at Shea. It might have been a Yankee game at Shea; I do remember seeing them play there once. It was relatively early in the ’74 season; a night game. It was chilly; and the Yanks lost to Detroit. I don’t remember much else, except that I was there with my dad. Maybe that’s enough.

  61. ben says:

    First game was 6.2.76 at Wrigley. Mets beat the Cubs 10-2, with Dave Kingman hitting a grand slam. Attendance on this beautiful June afternoon was only 19,766.

  62. Squawks McGrew says:

    Vague memories of my first game. Recall only it was Braves-Mets at Atlanta Stadium (1968-1970). Remember Felix Millan played. He was somehow a favorite — I wasn’t a big fan yet and only knew any of the players because Coca Cola had player pictures under bottle caps. The Braves were losing and Dad wanted to leave early to beat traffic. As we made our way to the car, we heard roars from the crowd several times. As a kid, I speculated that the Braves scored. Always believed the Braves won in extra innings. Have not left a baseball game early since.

    Will have to ask my Dad what he remembers and try to track the exact down for memory’s sake. The ones I guess it might be had either Seaver, Gentry or Ryan facing Niekro, Reed or Jarvis.

    Guessing it was 1969 because I wasn’t in love with baseball yet. Barely was into collecting cards until the following year. That year, we went to New York and at Radio City Music Hall, they showed a highlight film of the Amazin’s. Saw all these great catches and big hits and fell in love. That one trip gave me a lifetime attraction to good looking legs and baseball.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *