Top Opening Day moments in Phils history

March 31st, 2021

PHILADELPHIA -- The Phillies are scheduled to play the Braves on Opening Day on April 1 at Citizens Bank Park.

Here are five of the most memorable moments in Phillies’ Opening Day history:

1. April 5, 2010: Halladay’s debut
In perhaps the most highly anticipated Opening Day in franchise history, Roy Halladay, whom the Phillies acquired in a trade the previous December, allowed one run in seven innings against the Nationals at Nationals Park. Halladay struck out nine in the 11-1 victory. Ryan Howard and Placido Polanco each homered and Jimmy Rollins tripled as the Phillies started their march toward the fourth of five consecutive National League East titles.

2. April 6, 1974: Michael Jack’s walk-off
Mike Schmidt hit a two-run walk-off home run against Mets closer and future teammate Tug McGraw in a 4-3 win at Veterans Stadium. It was the second of Schmidt’s 10 career walk-off hits. His first came in 1973, when he hit a walk-off homer off Bob Gibson.

3. April 1, 2011: A walk-off thriller
Halladay allowed one run in six innings when the Phillies went to the bullpen in the seventh. The Astros scored three runs against J.C. Romero and David Herndon to take a 4-0 lead, but the Phillies scored twice against Brett Myers in the seventh to make it 4-2. The Phillies rallied for three runs in the ninth against Astros closer Brandon Lyon for a walk-off win, capped by Wilson Valdez’s game-tying single and pinch-hitter John Mayberry Jr.’s game-winning hit.

4. April 12, 1916: Stock’s scamper seals it
The defending NL-champion Phillies enjoyed a 5-4 walk-off victory over the Giants at Baker Bowl. With the game tied in the ninth, 4-4, Giants pitcher Sailor Stroud walked Milt Stock with two outs. The “piano-legged” Stock, as described by The Philadelphia Inquirer, stole second when Giants catcher Bill Rariden dropped the pitch. Stock reached third on a wild pitch and scored the game-winner when Stroud uncorked another wild pitch that “soared four feet above Rariden’s onion.”

5. March 28, 2019: A rare moment of hope
How to round out this top five? There were several candidates. Curt Schilling struck out 11 in eight scoreless innings in an Opening Day win over the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium in 1997. The Phillies scored an Opening Day-best 14 runs in a 14-10 victory over the Rangers in 2014. The Whiz Kids set the tone with a 9-1 victory over the Dodgers in 1950. Pete Rose and Co. set the tone in a 6-3 victory over the Expos in 1980.

But we’re choosing something more recent, if only because of the excitement it represented at the time -- and the Phillies have offered few of those moments over the past several years. It’s their 10-4 victory over the Braves on March 28, 2019. It was Bryce Harper’s first game with the Phillies. Andrew McCutchen hit a leadoff homer on the first pitch he saw. Maikel Franco homered and Rhys Hoskins hit a grand slam. Oh, and Aaron Nola threw 99 pitches in six strong innings after being pulled after throwing only 68 pitches on Opening Day 2018. Come to think of it, that loss to the Braves probably could have earned the No. 5 spot, too.