Today In History – First-Pitch Home Run for Rookie LeFebvre

10 June 1938 – On this day seventy years ago, Boston Red Sox rookie pitcher Bill LeFebvre makes his major league debut a memorable one as he hits a home run on the first pitch he sees over the left-field wall at Fenway Park, the only one of his career. LeFebvre, who had just recently graduated from Holy Cross College, is less effective on the mound, however; he goes four innings in relief and gives up six runs on eight hits, including two gopher balls, as Boston is bested by the Chicago White Sox, 15-2. LeFebvre returned to the minors shortly after that and would not be called up again until the following summer. On the mound, he would eventually finish his career with a 5-5 record and a 5.03 ERA over four seasons, two with Boston in 1938 and 1939 and two with the Washington Senators in 1943 and 1944, appearing as a major league replacement player during World War II. His bat proved only slightly more effective, hitting .276 in 87 career at-bats with eight runs scored, 11 RBI, and a .382 OBP.

In Red Sox history, only two other players have hit home runs in their first professional at-bat. On 22 April 1946, Eddie Pellagrini, a 28-year-old rookie shortstop and Boston College alumnus, comes in during the fifth inning to replace an injured Johnny Pesky and then goes deep in the seventh inning to break a 4-4 deadlock as the Red Sox win 5-4 over the Senators. On 19 May 1962 versus the Los Angeles Angels, catcher Bob Tillman also sends one out of Fenway Park in the fourth inning but Boston loses 6-5 in ten innings. Officially, the freshman had appeared as a pinch-hitter four days earlier in Baltimore in the ninth inning and then led off the bottom of the second that day but, in both instances, Tillman had drawn a walk, meaning that he had no official at-bats to that point.