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Opening Day Walk-Off Home Runs

To hit a walk-off World Series winning home run is what baseball dreams are made of. Tom Cheek was right on when he said: “Touch ‘em all Joe, you’ll never hit a bigger home run in your life.” Very rarely does a player find himself in the position Joe Carter was in. A rare opportunity and an even more scarce result has vaulted Joe Carter into baseball immortality. Never can that moment be taken from him.

Opening day, besides a World Series game seven, is the most exciting day on the baseball calendar. Hope springs eternal. Every team, at least until we see them play, has hopes of World Series glory. A walk-off home run on opening day in front of hometown fans can set the stage for the coming summer.

Last year Mark Trumbo of the Baltimore Orioles hit a walk-off homer off of Blue Jays Jason Grili. Before that, it had been three years since Neil Walker took Carlos Villenueva deep sending Pittsburgh’s opening day crowd into a frenzy.

All total there has been 44 opening day walk-off home runs. None bigger than when future Hall of Famer and Cubs outfielder Billy Williams took Cardinals future Hall of Famer Bob Gibson yard for the opening day game winner at Wrigley in 1971.

Below is a list of opening day walk-off home runs sorted by league and listed oldest to most recent. Who will be next to add their name to this list?

American League Opening Day Walk-Off Home Runs
Player Team Year Opposing Pitcher Team
Bill Knickerbocker Philadelphia Athletics 1942 Bill Zuber Washington Senators
Tommy Henrich New York Yankees 1949 Sid Hudson Washington Senators
Mickey Vernon Washington Senators 1954 Allie Reynolds New York Yankees
Minnie Minoso Chicago White Sox 1960 John Tsitouris Oakland Athletics
Leon Wagner Cleveland Indians 1965 Ron Piche Los Angeles Angels
Toby Harrah Texas Rangers 1977 Dave LaRoche Cleveland Indians
Richie Zisk Texas Rangers 1978 Goose Gossage New York Yankees
Sixto Lezcano Milwaukee Brewers 1980 Dick Drago Boston Red Sox
Don Baylor New York Yankees 1985 Dan Spillner Chicago White Sox
Jim Pressley Seattle Mariners 1986 Ken Forsch Los Angeles Angels
Mo Vaughn Boston Red Sox 1998 Paul Spoljaric Seattle Mariners
Jim Thome Cleveland Indians 1998 Troy Percival Anaheim Angels
Travis Fryman Cleveland Indians 1999 Jose Santiago Kansas City Royals
Tony Bautista Toronto Blue Jays 2000 Jerry Spradin Kansas City Royals
Carl Crawford Tampa Bay Rays 2003 Chad Fox Boston Red Sox
Shannon Stewart Minnesota Twins 2004 Chad Durbin Cleveland Indians
Carlos Beltran Kansas City Royals 2004 Damaso Marte Chicago White Sox
Mark Trumbo Baltimore Orioles 2017 Jason Grilli Toronto Blue Jays
National League Opening Day Walk-Off Home Runs
Player Team Year Opposing Pitcher Team
Mike Donlin New York Giants 1908 Harry McIntire Los Angeles Dodgers
Jimmy Sheckard Chicago Cubs 1912 George Suggs Cincinnati Reds
Freddie Lindstrom Pittsburgh Pirates 1934 Jesse Haines St. Louis Cardinals
Andy Pafko ZZLINKPULL::100049 1952 George Spencer New York Giants
Bill Bruton Milwaukee Braves 1953 Gerry Staley St. Louis Cardinals
Bill Virdon St. Louis Cardinals 1955 Dave Koslo Milwaukee Braves
Chuck Essegian Los Angeles Dodgers 1960 Don Elston Chicago Cubs
Sammy Taylor Chicago Cubs 1961 Bob Buhl Milwaukee Braves
Bob Bailey Pittsburgh Pirates 1965 Juan Marichal San Francisco Giants
Willie Smith Chicago Cubs 1969 Barry Lersch Philadelphia Phillies
Billy Williams Chicago Cubs 1971 Bob Gibson St. Louis Cardinals
Mike Schmidt Philadelphia Phillies 1974 Tug McGraw New York Mets
Joe Ferguson Houston Astros 1977 Bob Johnson Atlanta Braves
Larry Bittner Chicago Cubs 1978 Jim Bibby Pittsburgh Pirates
John Tamargo San Francisco Giants 1979 John D’Acquisto San Diego Padres
Bill Robinson Pittsburgh Pirates 1980 Bruce Sutter Chicago Cubs
Gary Carter New York Mets 1985 Neil Allen St. Louis Cardinals
Dante Bichette Colorado Rockies 1995 Mike Remlinger New York Mets
Willie McGee St. Louis Cardinals 1997 Ugueth Urbina Montreal Expos
Raul Mondesi Los Angeles Dodgers 1999 John Frascatore Arizona Diamondbacks
Joe Randa Cincinnati Reds 2005 Braden Looper New York Mets
Clint Barmes Colorado Rockies 2005 Trevor Hoffman San Diego Padres
Ryan Zimmerman Washington Nationals 2008 Peter Moylan Atlanta Braves
Miguel Tejada Houston Astros 2008 Kyle McClellan St. Louis Cardinals
Ramon Hernandez Cincinnati Reds 2011 John Axford Milwaukee Brewers
Neil Walker Pittsburgh Pirates 2014 Carlos Villanueva Chicago Cubs

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