On April 6, 1992, the Baltimore Orioles opened Camden Yards with a 2-0 win over the Cleveland Indians. The next day, the Washington Post wrote:
On a cloudless afternoon in the club’s impeccable new home, Rick Sutcliffe made his pitching debut with the Orioles one to remember. He left the Cleveland Indians flailing, holding them to five harmless singles and winning 2-0.
Sutcliffe was so efficient that the game took only 2 hours 2 minutes, matching the shortest Opening Day game in franchise history. He threw 110 pitches, moving the ball in and out, up and down, and changing speeds.
Indians starter Charles Nagy was almost as good, giving up six hits and a walk. The walk, to designated hitter Sam Horn, hurt Hagy. It came with the game scoreless and one out in the fifth inning. Leo Gomez then yanked a single into left field, and Chris Hoiles pulled a sinkerball that didn’t sink into the gap in left-center field for a ground-rule double. Horn scored for a 1-0 lead, and Bill Ripken’s squeeze bunt brought Gomez home for a 2-0 advantage. Sutcliffe made that slim edge stand up.
When Oates walked by Sutcliffe’s locker a few hours before game time to see how his pitcher was feeling, Sutcliffe had on a set of headphones – and Oates knew not to disturb him. When President Bush, who was on hand to throw out the first ball, walked through the Orioles’ clubhouse, Sutcliffe didn’t so much as flinch.
“Anybody in his right mind would have shook his hand, shined his shoes, whatever,” Sutcliffe said. “I just turned up my country music a little louder and tried to pretend like I was focusing in on the game. I would have wanted to take one of those pictures with him like everyone else was. One day, I’ll probably regret that I didn’t. But I had other things to do today.”
Said Johnny Oates: “I’d be lying if I said this was what I expected, but this is the type of ballgame we got Rick Sutcliffe to pitch. . . . It’s exciting, no matter whether it’s a new ballpark or an old ballpark. It’s gratifying.
“But we have to keep it in perspective. It’s just one of 162 games. But boy, it feels good to win that first one.”
(Read about the last game at Memorial Stadium here.)