Getting off to a good start in a new season is always a plus, and what better way is there for a hitter than launching a home run?
• Photos: Opening the season with a bang
Here are the players with the longest streaks of going deep to begin a season:
Christian Yelich, MIL, 2019
Yelich won National League MVP honors in 2018 and quickly showed he would have no problem authoring a worthy followup. He homered in the third inning on Opening Day and in the eighth in the Brewers' second game of the season. But he wasted no time extending the streak in games three and four -- going yard in his first at-bat, in the first inning, in both cases. He was already the first reigning MVP to hit a home run in his team’s first three games of a season and had set the franchise record. Yelich went on to blast a career-high 44 dingers in just 130 games.
Trevor Story, COL, 2016
Story introduced himself to the Majors in a big way by becoming the first player to homer in each of his first four career games. His first two home runs came off Zack Greinke, and he also went deep off Shelby Miller and Patrick Corbin within that first four-game stretch. Story didn’t homer in five straight games, as nobody has, but he did end up with seven home runs in six games total -- the most home runs through through a player’s first six Major League games and the most through a team’s first six games of a season. Story went on to hit 27 home runs on the season in 97 games, his season ending prematurely due to a torn ligament in his left thumb.
Chris Davis, BAL, 2013
Davis started his 2013 season by hitting home runs in each of the Orioles’ first four games and did not look back. He totaled 53 home runs that season, which led the Majors, and made his first All-Star Game. He finished third in AL MVP voting that year. In the bottom of the eighth inning of the Orioles’ fourth game, it looked like perhaps Davis’ streak would end. But he came to bat with one out and the bases loaded and hit the first pitch from the Twins’ Tyler Robertson for a go-ahead grand slam in what had been a 5-5 game to extend the streak to tie the record of four.
Nelson Cruz, TEX, 2011
Cruz started his season with a solo home run off Jon Lester in the second inning of the Rangers’ Opening Day game against the Red Sox, tying the game at two apiece. The Rangers won that game to begin their defense of the American League pennant, which they’d go on to win again in 2011. They started the season with six straight wins, and Cruz homered in each of those first four to tie the record. Each of those homers was a solo shot. Cruz, limited to 124 games with quad and hamstring injuries, finished the season with 29 home runs.
Mark McGwire, STL, 1998
McGwire’s record-setting 1998 campaign began with home runs in each of the Cardinals’ first four games of the season. He got started with a fifth-inning grand slam off the Dodgers’ Ramon Martinez on Opening Day. He almost didn’t homer in the second game -- it took until a 12th-inning three-run home run for him to make it a streak. McGwire went on to set a single-season record with 70 on the season, later broken by Barry Bonds.
Willie Mays, SF, 1971
The Hall of Famer was the first to homer in each of his team’s first four games of a season. Those four home runs were numbers 629-632 of his career. Mays went yard in his first plate appearance of that season, with two out in the first inning in San Diego. He went on to hit 18 homers that season, despite turning 40 in May. It was the last time in his career that he would reach double digits.