(This post was written by long-time friend of the Nation Michael Howes.)

Reprinted from yesterday’s comments…

HITTING

Here are some odd opening day records/stats/numbers; all of these numbers are from the last 50 years. In the last 50 years, who has:

The most opening day Reds games scoring at least 1 run? Barry Larkin; 13 opening day games with a run (that is AMAZING! Think about it, in 13 different seasons, Larkin scored at least one run for the Reds on opening day!). No player in the last 50 years has more.

In the last 50 years, who has gotten at least one hit in the most consecutive Reds opening day games? Dave Concepcion, with 14.

Most opening day triples? Pete Rose, 2 (1970 and 1976 opening days).

Most opening day homers? Frank Robinson, Tony Perez, Barry Larkin, and Adam Dunn, with 3.

And maybe the biggest surprise…

In the last 50 years, which Red would you think had the most opening day games with at least 1 RBI? Dave Concepcion (9 games)!?!?!?!?! (Second was Larkin, with 8). What about all the sluggers?

Most opening day games with a BB? Larkin, 10.

Most opening day games reaching base? Larkin, 17 (WOW!). In the last 50 years, only 6 players had more opening day games reaching base. Yaz, Henderson (duh), Bonds, Pete Rose (not all with the Reds), Murray, and Joe Morgan

Most opening day games with a SB? Larkin, 5

PITCHING

Which Reds pitcher in the last 50 years had the most:

Opening Day starts with a game score greater than 65? Mario Soto, 3.

Opening Day starts with a game score lower than 40? Tom Seaver, Jose Rijo, Tom Browning, with 3.

Opening Day wins? Soto, 4 (Reds pitching in the last 50 years, well, has sucked, so nobody is even close for opening day wins. Jim O’Toole and Danny Graves each have 2 opening day wins in the same span and no other pitcher has more than 1.)

Opening Day losses in the last 50 years? Rijo, 3 (he never pitched great on opening day; even in his opening day complete game, he was just okay).

Opening Day saves? Dibble, with two.

Even more fun stuff, below the fold…

I’ll expand it a little to the last 55 years. That’s what I have access to. How many GREAT opening day starts have the Reds had in the last 55 years (defined by a game score >=70)?

Seven:
–Rijo in 1993 (8 shutout innings, 5 K 0 BB), the best opening day start by a Red in 55 years. Game score = 77
–Soto in 1984
–Frank Pastore in 1980 (he got lucky)
Don Gullett Jim Merritt in 1970
–O’Toole in 1961
–Bob Purkey in 1959

Note: the Reds were 7-0 in these 7 opening day starts.

Only seven great starts, but 29 Reds opening day starters have had a game score of 45 and below. The team is 14-15 on those opening days. OF those 29 opening days, they include real stinkers like:

–Jimmy Haynes (he was our opening day starter? I had stricken that from my memory!?) allowing 8 base runners and 6 runs in 4 IP in 2003.
–Brett Tomko allowing 11 base runners, 6 ER, while striking out 1 in 3 1/3 IP in 1999.
–Tom Browning allowing 9 base runners and 5 ER in 3 IP in 1987.
–Tom Seaver allowing 7 base runners and 4 ER while not striking out ANY in 1.2 IP in 1979, clearly signaling the end of the BRM.

Honestly, to be more detailed, from 2001-2008 only 3 teams have had a worse team ERA than the Reds: Colorado, Texas and KC. Since the last time the Reds won the division, 1995, only 5 teams have a worse ERA: Colorado, KC, Texas, Tampa, and Detroit.

And when we adjust the numbers for home park? Since 2001, only two teams have pitched worse than the Reds:

RSAA
1 Devil Rays -673
2 Orioles -545
3 Reds -509
4 Pirates -471
5 Padres -459

The GREAT NEWS? The Reds will likely have one of the 6 best rotations in the NL this season.

3 Responses

  1. Cary Loughman


    How many GREAT opening day starts have the Reds had in the last 55 years (defined by a game score >=70)?

    Seven:
    –Rijo in 1993 (8 shutout innings, 5 K 0 BB), the best opening day start by a Red in 55 years. Game score = 77
    –Soto in 1984
    –Frank Pastore in 1980 (he got lucky)
    –Don Gullett in 1970
    –O’Toole in 1961
    –Bob Purkey in 1959

    Do you mean Jim Merritt in 1970? He gave up 1 run on 3 hits in a complete game OD effort.

  2. Michael Howes

    Cary is correct I made a mistake it was Merritt in 70. Gullett had a pretty good opening day start in 75.

    I decided to get a bit more detailed and make the correction.
    Here are the 10 best opening day starts for the Reds in the last 50 years

    **GmSc** Player Date Opp IP H R ER BB SO
    86 Frank Pastore 4/9/1980 ATL 9 3 0 0 0 5
    83 Jim Merritt 4/6/1970 MON 9 3 1 1 2 8
    77 Jose Rijo 4/5/1993 MON 8 5 0 0 0 5
    77 Jim O'Toole 4/11/1961 CHC 9 4 1 1 1 3
    76 Mario Soto 4/2/1984 NYM 9 7 1 1 1 8
    74 Don Gullett 4/7/1975 LAD 9.2 5 1 1 5 4
    73 Bob Purkey 4/9/1959 PIT 9 6 1 1 1 3
    68 Tom Browning 4/8/1991 HOU 8.1 5 2 2 1 4
    68 Mario Soto 4/8/1985 MON 7 4 1 1 2 5
    67 Tom Seaver 4/8/1981 PHI 8 6 1 1 3 4

  3. Michael Howes

    another fun opening day stat I just stumbled onto

    oldest Reds position player to start opening day?
    Pete Rose at 43.4 years old started 1B on opening day in 1985 going 2 for 3

    youngest Reds position player to start opening day?
    Vada Pinson at 20.2 years old started CF in 1959 going 2 for 4

    oldest Reds opening day starting pitcher?
    Woodie Fryman was 36.4 and started opening day in 1977. He pitched poorly but the Reds won which was a VERY common occurrence in 77

    youngest Reds opening day starting pitcher?
    Gary Nolan was 20.3 years old and started opening day in 1969. He struck out 12 in 7 IP but lost 3-2 to the Dodgers