Grand Entrances

Who had the best first games in sports?
October 26, 2008

AFTER BEING ahealthy scratch in Dallas's first two games, rookie left wing Fabian Brunnström(below) made his debut worth the wait by becoming the third NHL player to starthis career with a hat trick in a 6--4 home win over Nashville. "It's goingto be tough to live up to this every night," he said. True. While manybrilliant debuts heralded great careers, a few came from one-hit wonders.

NHL

GOALS: 3 AlexSmart (Montreal, 1943), Real Cloutier (Quebec, 1979), Brunnström

SAVES: 49 MannyLegace (Los Angeles, 1998)

NOTEWORTHY:Cloutier scored 42 goals as an NHL rookie; the year before, when the Nordiqueswere in the WHA, he led the league with 75.... Smart played in only eight NHLgames, scoring more than half of his five career goals in his debut.... Legacewas called up from the IHL's Long Beach Ice Dogs when both Kings goaltenderssuffered groin injuries. Legace stopped 49 of 50 shots in a 1--1 tie withFlorida but was 2-9-2 that season.

MLB

HRs: 2 Fourplayers, most recently Mark Quinn (Kansas City, 1999)

HITS: 5 FredClarke (Louisville, 1894), Cecil Travis (Washington, 1933)

RBIs: 5 Fourplayers, most recently Ben Grieve (Oakland, 1997)

STRIKEOUTS: 15Karl Spooner (Brooklyn, 1954), J.R. Richard (Houston, 1971)

NOTEWORTHY:Travis (right) had a .314 career average in 12 years with the Senators. In 1993Ted Williams called Travis "one of the five best lefthanded hitters I eversaw." ... Spooner set a record by striking out the first six batters hefaced. He made only two starts in '54—both were complete-game shutouts—but armtrouble ended his career after two seasons. Richard twice led the NL in K'sbefore suffering a stroke in 1980.

NFL

TDs: 3 Billy Sims(Detroit, 1980), Marshall Faulk (Indy, 1994)

RUSHING YARDS:193 Ottis Anderson (St. Louis, 1979)

RECEIVING YARDS:217 Anquan Boldin (Arizona, 2003)

PASSING YARDS:334 Ed Rubbert (Washington, 1987)

NOTEWORTHY:Anderson, Boldin, Faulk and Sims were each named offensive rookie of the yearby the AP.... Sims led the NFL with 16 TDs as a rookie.... Rubbert (right) wasa replacement player during the 1987 strike. In his debut he threw three TDs toAnthony Allen, who had 255 receiving yards, which is still a team record.Rubbert was the inspiration for Keanu Reeves's character in the 2000 movie TheReplacements.

NBA

POINTS: 43 WiltChamberlain (Philadelphia, 1959)

REBOUNDS: 28Chamberlain

ASSISTS: 14 ErnieDiGregorio (Buffalo, 1973)

NOTEWORTHY:Chamberlain (right) was NBA Rookie of the Year and MVP for the 1959--60 season.He also holds the Kansas record for most points in a game with 52, which he setin his varsity debut.... DiGregorio was Rookie of the Year in '73--74, leadingthe league in assists (663) and free throw percentage (90.2). He is now acelebrity host at Foxwoods casino.

STATS COURTESY OFELIAS SPORTS BUREAU

PHOTOWALTER IOOSS JR. (CHAMBERLAIN) PHOTONATE FINE/NFL/WIREIMAGE/GETTY IMAGES (RUBBERT) PHOTO© UNDERWOOD AND UNDERWOOD/CORBIS (TRACY) PHOTORONALD MARTINEZ/GETTY IMAGES (BRUNNSTRÖM)
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)