Michael Taylor made things look easy in his major league debut Tuesday at Citi Field. After joining Ian Desmond and Brandon Watson as the only players in Nationals history with at least two hits and a home run in their first career game, Taylor finally exhaled.
I think I just took my first breathe since 7:10. #GodisGreat
— Michael A Taylor (@Taylor_Michael3) August 13, 2014
MASN’s Dan Kolko asked Taylor, who singled in his first at-bat, what he”ll remember about his debut 20 years down the road.
“It’s funny,” Taylor said. “[Nationals first base coach] Tony Tarasco told me, after that hit, every time I see that first knock, he’s going to be in the picture and I thought that was pretty funny.”
Here’s a reverse chronological look at how other current Nationals position players have fared in their first big league at-bats, and, for those less fortunate than Taylor, when they registered their first major league hits. The videos are of the hits.
Steven Souza Jr. (with Nationals)
First At-Bat: April 13, 2014. Struck out against Braves reliever Jordan Walden.
First Hit: Singled off Marlins reliever Dan Jennings two nights later in this third career at-bat. While standing on first base, Souza makes sure the Marlins know he wants to keep the baseball.
Anthony Rendon (with Nationals)
First At-Bat: April 21, 2013. Flied out to left field against Mets starter Dillon Gee.
First Hit: Rendon went 0 for 4 with two strikeouts in his major league debut, but doubled off Cardinals starter Shelby Miller in his second at-bat the following night.
Bryce Harper (with Nationals)
First At-Bat: April 28, 2012. Grounded out to Dodgers pitcher Chad Billingsley.
First Hit: After flying out to left in his second at-bat, Harper doubled to center field in his third appearance against Billingsley. Harper’s first hit also marked the first time his helmet came off while running the bases. Dodgers fans booed. Loudly.
Danny Espinosa (with Nationals)
First At-Bat: Sept. 1, 2010. Credited with an RBI double off Marlins reliever Burke Badenhop when his chopper toward second took a bad hop over the head of Florida’s Emilio Bonifacio. Espinosa finished 1 for 2 in Washington’s 16-10 loss to the Marlins. “How ’bout that? That’s Pete Rose-like right here now,” Ray Knight said of Espinosa’s hustle-double. “That’s Pete Rose-like. It would be Ray Knight-like, but I couldn’t run like that. That is a hustling play, and that is why they call him a ballplayer.” (Every player should be so lucky to have Knight narrate his first hit.)
Wilson Ramos (with Twins)
First At-Bat: May 2, 2010. Singled to left field against Cleveland’s David Huff. Ramos singled in his first three at-bats before flying out in his fourth trip. He added a double in his fifth at-bat to finish 4 for 5, becoming the first Twins player with four hits in his major league debut since Kirby Puckett in 1984.
Ian Desmond (with Nationals)
First At-Bat: Sept. 10, 2009. Flied out to center against Phillies’ Joe Blanton.
First Hit: Desmond hit a double (to score Elijah Dukes!) in his next at-bat and a three-run homer in his third appearance against Blanton. He finished 2 for 4 with four RBI in an 8-7 win over the Phillies. (Don’t miss you, Rob Dibble.)
Jose Lobaton (with Padres)
First At-Bat: July 8, 2009. Flied to center against Diamondbacks’ Max Scherzer.
First Hit: Lobaton singled off Rockies’ Jason Marquis in his ninth career at-bat and made sure that the ball was saved for his personal collection.
Now we enter the realm of players whose first hits are not in the MLB.com video collection, because, you know, they’re sorta old by baseball standards. Sad.
Denard Span (with Twins)
First At-Bat: April 6, 2008. Grounded out to Royals pitcher Brett Tomko.
First Hit: Span went 0 for 2 with a walk in debut and singled to left off White Sox starter Javier Vazquez in his second at-bat the following night.
Asdrubal Cabrera (with Indians)
First At-Bat: August 8, 2007. Grounded out to second base against White Sox starter Jon Garland.
First Hit: Cabrera went 0 for 3 with a hit by pitch and a sacrifice in his debut. Three days later, he doubled to left off Yankees starter Mike Mussina in his fourth career at-bat.
Kevin Frandsen (with Giants)
First At-Bat: April 28, 2006. Grounded into a double play against Diamondbacks starter Miguel Batista.
First Hit: Frandsen was hit by a pitch in his next plate appearance before singling in his final three at-bats of the game. His first career hit came off Batista.
Ryan Zimmerman (with Nationals)
First At-Bat: Sept. 1, 2005. Struck out in a pinch-hit appearance against Atlanta’s Jim Brower in an 8-7 loss.
First Hit: Zimmerman doubled to center in first at-bat the following game against Phillies starter Vicente Padilla.
Nate McLouth (with Pirates)
First At-Bat: June 29, 2005. Lined out to center against Nationals reliever Gary Majewski.
First Hit: McLouth’s fourth career at-bat was a pinch-hit double off Houston’s Roy Oswalt.
Scott Hairston (with Diamondbacks)
First At-Bat: May 7, 2004. Struck out against Phillies closer Billy Wagner.
First Hit: Hairston homered off Marlins starter Carl Pavano in his seventh career at-bat.
Adam LaRoche (with Braves)
First At-Bat: April 7, 2004. Grounded out to second against Mets starter Steve Trachsel.
First Hit: LaRoched singled in his next at-bat against Trachsel and finished 2 for 5 in an 18-10 Braves win.
Jayson Werth (with Blue Jays)
First At-Bat: Sept. 1, 2002. Grounded into a double play against Yankees starter David Wells.
First Hit: Werth singled in his third at-bat against Wells and finished 2 for 4 in his debut.
Cumulative First At-Bat Line for Players Above: 3 for 16 with three strikeouts and two double plays.