At the beginning of a season, everything that happens -- good or bad -- is under a microscope.
A hot streak in June is just a hot streak, but when one arrives right out of the gate, it stands out with no other previous numbers there to obscure it. The question is, does this represent the first step toward a great season, or simply a small-sample blip that just happens to be coming during the opening week?
In 2016, the first-week All-Star was, without question, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story. The rookie whose name already has launched a thousand obvious puns announced his presence with seven home runs through six games, setting records both to start a career and to start a season.
It's been an incredible performance. But over the course of baseball history, many other players also have authored amazing season-opening performances. Here are the best in six major offensive categories over the first week, according to data from Baseball Reference that goes back to 1913. For the purposes of this piece, we're considering the opening week to be a team's first seven games.
Home runs (7)
Mike Schmidt, 1976 Phillies
Final total: 38
Schmidt homered in "only" four of the first seven games, but when one of those is one of the greatest offensive performances ever produced, it helps. On April 17 at a windy Wrigley Field, Schmidt went 5-for-6 with four homers and eight RBIs in an 18-16 Philadelphia victory, with the final blast a go-ahead two-run shot in the 10th inning. It still stands as one of only 16 four-homer games in Major League history. The Hall of Fame third baseman went on to homer in each of the next three games as well and had a total of 12 to his credit through the Phillies' first 15 contests, ultimately finishing at 38 for the second of three consecutive seasons.
Trevor Story, 2016 Rockies (6 games)
Final total: TBD
Regardless of where Story's season winds up, this will be a run to remember. The 23-year-old was playing for the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats at this time last year, and now he has gone deep three more times through the first six games than any other shortstop in history, while batting .364/.391/1.318. Story homered twice on Opening Day at Arizona, twice on Friday in the Rockies' home opener against San Diego and once in three of the team's other four games.
Barry Larkin, 1990 Reds
Final total: 185
When the '90 season began, Larkin was just shy of his 26th birthday but already was a two-time All-Star and Silver Slugger winner who had batted .342 over 97 games the previous season. Larkin picked up a pair of hits in the opener at Houston on April 9, repeated the feat in the final two games of the series, then got even hotter. He had a trio of three-hit games and one four-hit effort after that, going 19-for-32 (.594) overall, with two doubles, a triple and eight RBIs. Larkin didn't stop there, racking up two more knocks the next day to conclude a season-opening streak of eight consecutive multi-hit games. That start helped propel the Hall of Famer to another All-Star nod and a .301 average. He also hit .353 as the Reds defeated the A's in the World Series that October.
Extra-base hits (10)
Dante Bichette, 1994 Rockies
Final total: 62 (strike year)
Bichette had a hitless Opening Day but went 14-for-26 over the next six games, with five doubles, five home runs and 12 RBIs. The last four of those games weren't even at altitude in Denver, but rather Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Unfortunately, the strike put an end to the season in August, leaving Bichette with a league-high 116 games and 484 at-bats, but he still managed 33 doubles and 27 homers. Of course, his home park played a role in that production, as his .882 OPS was good for an adjusted OPS+ of only 111 (last season San Diego's Yonder Alonso had a 111 OPS+ with an unadjusted OPS of .742).
Larry Walker, 1997 Rockies
Final total: 99
Yes, another Rockies player. But like Bichette (and Story), Walker didn't do a lot of his damage in Denver. In fact, only the final day of his seven-game start came there, as the Rox began their season in Cincinnati and Montreal. Following an 0-for-4 Opening Day against the Reds, Walker went 13-for-25 with three doubles, a triple, six homers and 13 RBIs over the next six contests, including a 4-for-5, three-homer effort against his former team, the Expos, on April 5. In what was the best season (9.8 WAR) of a Hall of Fame-caliber career, Walker took National League MVP honors, led the league with 49 homers and a 1.172 OPS (including 1.176 on the road) and was batting better than .400 as late as July 18.
Chris Shelton, 2006 Tigers
Final total: 36
One of baseball's most famous early-season flashes in the pan, Shelton had played in 134 big league games before the '06 season, when he homered twice on Opening Day at Kansas City and twice more two days later at Texas. Shelton, then 25, finished the first seven games 15-for-28 with three doubles, two triples and five homers, and eventually went deep nine times over Detroit's first 13 games, tied for second-most all-time behind Schmidt in 1976. However, Shelton managed only a .663 OPS from that point forward and was back in Triple-A by August. He then spent all of 2007 there and played only 50 more big league games.
Runs batted in (17)
Pat Burrell, 2005 Phillies
Final total: 117
Pat the Bat collected at least one RBI in each of Philly's first seven games, including six multi-RBI efforts. On April 9 at St. Louis, he went 4-for-5 with a career-high-tying five RBIs, including a three-run homer, and finished the first seven games batting .448 with three doubles and four long balls. Burrell went on to set a career high in RBIs while slamming 32 homers and picking up some votes in the MVP balloting. Such was the benefit of batting behind the likes of Jimmy Rollins, Kenny Lofton, Chase Utley and Bobby Abreu.
Chris Davis, 2013 Orioles
Final total: 138
Davis had broken out the year before, in his first full season with Baltimore, but he took it to another level in his All-Star '13 campaign, which included a third-place MVP finish. Davis led the Majors in both homers (53) and RBIs, thanks in part to a blistering start that featured a home run and at least three RBIs in each of the first four games. On April 5 at Minnesota, "Crush" followed Adam Jones' game-tying single in the bottom of the eighth inning with a go-ahead grand slam, after contributing a sacrifice fly earlier in the day. It was one of three five-RBI games for Davis that season.
Mickey Mantle, 1962 Yankees
Final total: 122
Not counting Benny Kauff of the Federal League's 1915 Brooklyn Tip-Tops, Mantle was the first player to rack up so many free passes so quickly, and he went on to lead the league for the fifth and final time in his career. He also took home American League MVP honors for the third time, while batting .321/.486/.605. Mantle walked at least once in each of the first 13 games that season, including back-to-back three-BB efforts on April 14 at Detroit and April 17 at Baltimore.
Gary Sheffield, 1997 Marlins
Final total: 121
Sheffield had walked 142 times the previous season, while leading the league with a .465 OBP, and he picked up right where he left off. He collected a mere 15 official at-bats over the first seven games, racking up a trio of three-walk efforts, plus two more games with a pair of free passes. Despite a .250 average, Sheffield posted a .424 OBP that season, with 42 more walks than strikeouts. He ranks 21st on the all-time walks list, 13 places behind Mantle.
Stolen bases (8)
Johnny Mostil, 1925 White Sox
Final total: 43
Mostil, who according to Baseball Reference had the nickname "Bananas," swiped three bases on Opening Day at Detroit and capped his seven-game run by going 4-for-4 with two walks and two steals on April 20 against the St. Louis Browns. That season, the right-handed-batting center fielder led the AL in plate appearances (715), runs (135), walks (90), hit-by-pitches (12) and steals, but also in getting caught stealing (20 times). Mostil finished his career in '29 with 176 steals but only a 63 percent success rate.
Lee Lacy, 1983 Pirates
Final total: 31
Over his first eight seasons, through age 31, Lacy stole a total of 34 bases in 631 games. Somehow, he discovered his talent for theft at that late stage, racking up 134 steals in 554 games in the next five years for Pittsburgh. That included a career-best 40 in 1982. The following season, he swiped one bag on Opening Day at St. Louis and three more in game two at Houston. Lacy picked up at least one steal in each of the first five games and ultimately began the year 12-for-12 before finishing 31-for-44.
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Andrew Simon is a Sports on Earth contributor and a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.