Cubs who homered on Opening Day

853 different batters have hit home runs as a Cub since 1876, first season of the National League.

Only 73 of them, less than 1 of every 12, homered on Opening Day.

The first to do it was King Kelly, in 1880, at Cincinnati.

The most recent was Nico Hoerner, in 2022, at home against the Brewers.


The Cubs have hit a total of 106 home runs in their first games of the year: 70 in their 89 openers on the road and 36 in their 58 at home.

They homered at least once in 65 of their 147 debuts.



Lesser-known players who hit Opening Day home runs include Shane Andrews, Harry Chiti, Freddie Maguire, Joe Marty, Cal Neeman, Bob O'Farrell and Roberto Pena.

Four pitchers homered in openers, too: Bill Hutchison (1894), Grover Cleveland Alexander (1925), Clay Bryant (1938) and Paul Minner (1954).

Among those who never slugged a first-game home run as a Cub: Sammy Sosa, the team's all-time leader in homers, with 545; Ron Santo, who ranks third, with 337; and Ryne Sandberg, fourth, with 282!

Only 2 others who are in the top 25 in career homers did not hit one in a season opener: Hack Wilson, 11th, with 190, and Rick Monday, 24th, with 106.

Ian Happ and Keith Moreland, the 2 other Cubs to reach 100 homers with the team, both homered on Opening Day, for a total of 21 of 26 who did so.



Of the 73 who hit Opening Day homers, 19 did it more than once.

The record of 4 is shared by Gabby Hartnett and Ernie Banks.

Hartnett did it in 4 different openers: 1925 and 1931, at home against the Pirates; 1935, at home against the Cardinals; and 1936, at St. Louis.

Banks played in 8 Opening Day games from 1953-61, without homering in 36 plate appearances. He went 0 for 2 in the Cubs' 1962 opener at Houston, then hit a solo homer in the seventh inning. The Cubs lost the game, the first in Houston's history, 11-2.

Three years later, Banks slammed 3-run shot with 2 out in the bottom of the ninth to tie the Cardinals at 9. The game ended in a deadlock at 10 after 11 innings.

Banks then homered in his first at bats of the 1969 opener, with 2 runners on in the first and 1 on in the third. Those were the Cubs' only runs until Willie Smith smacked a 2-run walk-off homer in the 11th to beat the Phillies, 7-6.



8 other Cubs hit 3 homers on Opening Days.

Tuffy Rhodes hit his 3 in the same game, a 12-8 loss to the Mets at Wrigley Field on April 4, 1994. They came in his first 3 trips to the plate, all off Dwight Gooden, all with the bases empty.

The rest with 3 career homers in openers, in alphabetical order: Mark Grace, Andy Pafko, Keith Moreland, Corey Patterson, Aramis Ramirez, Anthony Rizzo and Jimmy Ryan.

Pafko and Patterson hit 2 homers in 1 game and 1 in another. The rest all homered in 3 games.

Javier Baez, Frank Demaree and Earl Webb hit their only 2 Opening Day homers in 1 game. Gene Baker, Shawon Dunston, Ian Happ, Chuck Klein, Bill Nicholson, Andre Rodgers, Billy Williams and Walt Wilmot homered once in 2 openers.


That makes a total of 2 players with 4 home runs, 8 with 3 and 11 with 2. That adds up to 54 homers, more than half of all 106 Opening Day homers.

21 of the 73 players who homered in openers did so in more than 1 such game.



Here, in chronological order, are all 7 Cubs who homered more than once in an Opening Day game:

Earl Webb, 4/12/1927: 2 vs. St. Louis

Frank Demaree, 4/14/1936: 2 at St. Louis

Andy Pafko, 4/18/1950: 2 at Cincinnati

Ernie Banks, 4/08/1969: 2 vs. Philadelphia

Tuffy Rhodes, 4/04/1994: 3 vs. New York Mets

Corey Patterson, 3/31/2003: 2 at New York Mets

Javier Baez, 3/28/2019: 2 at Texas



And here are all 73 Cubs who have homered on Opening Day, grouped by number of career homers, in alphabetical order by last name:

4: Ernie Banks, Gabby Hartnett

3: Mark Grace, Keith Moreland, Andy Pafko, Corey Patterson, Aramis Ramirez, Tuffy Rhodes, Anthony Rizzo, Jimmy Ryan

2: Javier Baez, Gene Baker, Frank Demaree, Shawon Dunston, Ian Happ, Chuck Klein, Bill Nicholson, Andre Rodgers, Earl Webb, Billy Williams, Walt Wilmot

1: Grover Cleveland Alexander, Shane Andrews, Cap Anson, Glenn Beckert, Dick Bertell, Clay Bryant, Kris Bryant, Marlon Byrd, Phil Cavarretta, Ron Cey, Harry Chiti, Ripper Collins, Willson Contreras

And: Jody Davis, Andre Dawson, George Decker, Leon Durham, Howard Freigau, Kosuke Fukudome, Augie Galan, Charlie Grimm, Stan Hack, Billy Herman, Nico Hoerner, Bill Hutchison, Randy Jackson

And: Hal Jeffcoat, King Kelly, Dave Kingman, Derrek Lee, Freddie Maguire, Joe Marty, Clyde McCullough, Paul Minner, Miguel Montero, Matt Murton, Cal Neeman, Bob O'Farrell, Steve Ontiveros

And: Roberto Pena, Bob Pettit, Henry Rodriguez, Rey Sanchez, Hank Sauer, Frank Schulte, Kyle Schwarber, Scott Servais, Willie Smith, Alfonso Soriano, Ace Stewart, Bump Wills, Don Zimmer

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