1929 | DETROIT, MICHIGAN – What a way to start a career. On this date in 1929 Cleveland Indians outfielder Earl Averill hit a home run in his first major league at bat. He hit an 0-2 pitch off Detroit’s Earl Whitehill to help the Indians beat the Detroit Tigers 5 to 4 in 11 innings.
That first at-bat turned out to be an indicator of a stellar career for Averill. He had 18 home runs and 96 RBIs that first year, ended up with 238 career home runs, was elected to the all-star games six times, and ended up in the Hall of Fame.
As spectacular as it is to hit a home run in your first major league at-bat, it has not been a great omen for everyone who’s done it.
As spectacular as it is to hit a home run in your first major league at-bat, it has not been a great omen for everyone who’s done it. According to Baseball-Almanac, 91 rookies got the ultimate hit in their first at bat (21 of them on the first pitch), but 17 never hit another major league home run. For example, the first American League player to hit a home run in his first at bat, Luke Stuart of the St. Louis Browns, not only never hit another, he only had two more major league at bats.
The first at-bat home run hitter with the most career home runs is Gary Gaetti who finished with 360. Second is Jermaine Dye who has 300 and, as of this writing (April 16, 2009), is still active.
First at-bat HRs