Atlanta Braves Matt Olson celebrates 30th birthday by having a historic Opening Day

On opening day, the Atlanta Braves staged a seventh-inning comeback topped by Matt Olson’s third double of the game with the bases loaded. The double that tied the game also put Olson in the record books.

Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson had a field day against Phillies Pitching.
Atlanta Braves first baseman Matt Olson had a field day against Phillies Pitching. / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

How rare is a three-double game?

Hitting three double games happened in only 0.82% of all games played in the National and American Leagues since 1901. That makes it statistically rare, but going into today, that 0.82% covers 2002 games. So, Matt Olson doing it for the 2003rd time is cool, but it isn’t the first it's been done before. Okay, it’s opening day, maybe that’s it; the indomitable Sara Langs tweeted about it.

Andy Pafko was the first Braves to do it and Olson the second Brave since 1901. I searched StatHead and found that before today, baseball had seen 13 players have opening-day three-double games once and one player (Gerardo Parra) do it twice, making Olson’s game the 16th since 1901.   

Detroit first baseman Frank Dillon was the first to do it on April 25, 1901. Dillon is also the only other first baseman to have a three-double opening day game. Being the 15th player is cooler than being the 2003rd, or even the Braves’ 74th to achieve it.  But still…

Braves birthday basher

The Atlanta Braves let us know that today was Olson’s 30th birthday.

So, I went back to Stathead and found that before today, five players doubled three times on their natal anniversary: Lou Gehrig, Deron Johnson, Randy Winn (he also homered), Ben Broussard, and Greg Vaughn.

A quick look at the list of opening-day players shows Olson as the first player to hit three doubles in a game on Opening Day, which was also his birthday.

That’s a wrap

I know that seems like a long way to go for the payoff, but I could have added that it was done 308 times (now 309)  by cleanup hitters and 284 times (now 285) by first baseman.

When this comes up in trivia night while having an adult beverage at your local, you’ll than me. Most importantly, those doubles helped stage a Braves comeback victory over the Phillies. Olson will probably point to that being the thing he'll take away from Opening Day 2024.

More from House That Hank Built