Cleveland’s Bob Feller no-hit the White Sox on Opening Day, 1-0 — the only no-hitter in Opening Day history.
The fireballer gave up five walks (facing 33 batters total) but struck out eight for a 90 game score, on a chilly, 47° day at Comiskey Park in front of 14,000. Feller defeated Eddie Smith, who didn’t have a bad game himself, throwing eight innings of one-run ball, with six hits and two walks against five Ks.
In one at-bat, Luke Appling fouled off 15 consecutive pitches, before being retired. He also was the center of controversy, however, when one of those fouls was shot down the line and apparently kicked up the chalk as fair.
When Appling argued the call, he was supposedly told by umpire Harry Geisel that “Feller is going to be a credit to the game.” Incredulous, Appling replied, “What am I, chopped liver?”
The only run of the game scored in the fourth inning, when catcher Rollie Hemsley tripled home Jeff Heath, who had singled.
With Jack Brickhouse behind the microphone, the White Sox beat the Cubs, 4-1, in the first baseball game ever televised by WGN-TV. It was an exhibition game from Wrigley Field, with fewer than 10,000 fans attending on a frigid afternoon. WGN used three cameras: one stationed outside the foul line in left field, one near third base/Cubs dugout, and one on a ramp next to the press box.
In the second game of the season, White Sox starter Billy Pierce fired a one-hitter in beating St. Louis, 1-0. It was the first of four one-hitters in Billy’s career. The no-hitter was broken up with two outs in the seventh inning, when second baseman Bobby Young doubled into right field. The Sox had scored their first run in the top of the seventh inning, when Sherm Lollar hit a sacrifice fly to score Jim Rivera.
Future Hall-of-Famer Rich Gossage made his major-league debut just shy of his 21st birthday, throwing an inning of relief in a 2-1 loss at Kansas City.
Gossage entered in for starter Stan Bahnsen, who gave up a single and double to put ducks on the pond. Gossage walked Lou Piniella to pack the sacks, and then threw three straight possible double-play balls: a grounder to short that only got Piniella at second, scoring a run; an E-5 grounder that re-packed the sacks; and a tapper in front of the mound for a double play.
After Gossage’s relative heroics in his first game, he then sat for 11 days before seeing action again, on April 28. He threw 35 games of relief in his rookie year, carrying a 7-0 record and 3.39 ERA into the season finale; in that game, however, he was given the start and was rocked for nine earned runs in three innings, pushing his final season ERA up to 4.28.
Gossage would jockey somewhat between the rotation and the pen before being traded away from the White Sox after the 1976 season and embarking fully on his HOF closer career.