It was a debut Donnels' new manager with the Mets, Bud Harrelson, stood in awe of, according to The Times.
"What memories to have of your first game," Harrelson told The Times. "That's something they can never take away. He appreciated the shot he was getting, he took advantage and he had an outstanding game."
Donnels took his shot to a career that spanned more than a decade and saw him play in eight major league seasons and three in Japan.
But it was another kind of shot that would mar Donnels' career, the steroid and HGH kind of shots. Donnels would later admit to using both and be named in the Mitchell Report.
Donnels' career began in 1987, taken by the Mets in the first round of the draft, out of Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.
"This is very exciting. I've been jumping around since I heard," Donnels told The Times after the Mets selected him. "It's exciting to meet all the guys. I'm real interested in getting out and playing."
Donnels started between rookie Kingsport and single-A Columbia. He hit .275 between them. He made AA Jackson in 1990, then AAA Tidewater and Queens in 1991.
Donnels got into 37 games for the Mets that first season. He hit .225. He then returned for 45 games in 1992 and arrived with the Astros for 1993 by way of the Marlins.
He played 88 games for Houston in 1993, then 54 games in 1994. He hit .257 and .267. He moved to the Red Sox in mid-1995 and got into 59 total games that year.
Donnels arrived in Japan in 1996. He played for Osaka his first year there and then Orix in 1997 and 1998.
He then returned stateside in 2000, with the Dodgers. It was then that he reunited with someone he had met with the Mets in 1991 and 1992, Kirk Radomski, according to the Mitchell Report. Radomski then sold Donnels steroids and HGH.
Donnels spoke with baseball investigators and his account of his own performance enhancing drug use is contained in the report. He said he started taking it to get back from shoulder surgery faster.
Donnels explained later to The Los Angeles Daily News that the injuries got to him. Those were why he turned to the substances.
"I was not trying to improve my performance," Donnels told The Daily News said. "I wanted to be able to perform."
Donnels played 27 games with the Dodgers in 2000, then 66 in 2001. He hit .170 in 2001. Donnels then played one more season with the Diamondbacks. He hit .238 over 74 games to end his career.
- Los Angeles Times, June 11, 1987: Loyola's Chris Donnels Hopes for Replay of N.Y. Mets History
- Los Angeles Times, May 17, 1991: Is He a Sure-Bet Met?
- Los Angeles Daily News, Sept. 11, 2009: Commentary: Donnels comes clean on visit to the dark side
- Mitchell Report: Pages 190-194
Made the Majors:1,153-36.4%-X
Never Made Majors:2,018-63.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 478-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:283