4. Tony Batista, Baltimore Orioles Opening Day 2002
April 1, 2002: Yankees, 3, Orioles 10 (Box Score)
Batista’s line: 1-for-4, HR, 4 RBI
Known for having one of the more unusual batting stances in baseball, Tony Batista entered 2002 with one monumental task: takeover third base, a position where Orioles legend Cal Ripken Jr. owned for 2,632 consecutive games.
The Orioles began the season on a windy 62 degree day in Baltimore as the rival New York Yankees came to town. Roger Clemens started for the Yankees after coming off a 20-win season.
In front of record-breaking 48,058 in attendance at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Batista and the Orioles were held to just a hit through three innings.
However, in the fourth inning, Batista blasted a grand slam off Clemens and the Orioles never looked back.
Batista’s grand slam boosted the Orioles chances of winning by 29 percent in one of the worst Yankees Opening Days of all time.
Above all, after Ripken’s 2,632 consecutive games played, Batista’s performance lifted the hopes of Orioles fans in the first year of the post Ripken era. Batista went on to earn his second career All-Star selection and finished the season with 31 home runs and 87 RBIs.