Charles Parks and Leon Day (COURTESY OF LARRY LESTER)

SABR celebrates Opening Day 2021 with new collection of Games Project stories

2021 MLB Opening Day

Seventy-five years ago, Newark Eagles right-hander Leon Day joined Bob Feller as the only major-league pitchers to throw a no-hitter on Opening Day. The future Hall of Famer shut out the Philadelphia Stars 2-0 on May 5, 1946, to begin play in the Negro National League season.

Charles Parks and Leon Day (COURTESY OF LARRY LESTER)Day’s no-hitter was so filled with excitement that it makes Feller’s 1940 gem seem almost mundane. Though it was a shining moment for Day on the mound, a near-riot in the sixth inning — precipitated by a controversial call at home plate — and the concern about the impact that the event might have on the progress of baseball’s integration received equal attention. In light of the attention the game received at the time, one might think the game would be well-remembered, but like much of Negro Leagues history it fell into obscurity for many baseball aficionados.

Click here to read Rick Bush’s full account of Leon Day’s no-hitter at the SABR Games Project.

As we celebrate the start of a new baseball season in 2021, the SABR Games Project has published a variety of new stories on memorable Opening Day games, including articles featuring Hall of Famers Babe Ruth, Roy Halladay, and Derek Jeter; the first steps in pennant-winning seasons; the aftermath of one of the most infamous trades in baseball history; and openers that were played far away from “home”:

To find dozens of other SABR Games Project stories about Opening Day, click here.

Originally published: March 29, 2021. Last Updated: April 2, 2021.