The four players to homer each of the last 2 opening days

Four players have homered in their team’s first game in both 2011 and 2012:

J.P. Arencibia made the most of his homers, especially with that 16th-inning 3-run job last night.

Going back to 1918, here are the guys with the most Opening Day homers:

Scott Rolen is the active leader, with Adam Dunn right behind him.

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Neil L.
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Now if Adam Dunn only didn’t have to bat for the rest of the season! I had no idea he was such a productive opening day batter.

Surprising that George Bell didn’t slip on to the bottom of the list what with his three opening day home runs in KC in 1988 off of Saberhagen.

How many players have ever hit three opening day homers?

Ken
Guest

I am sure Jason Heyward for Atlanta would have been on these lists if he had homered Opening Day. But his claim to fame is that he homered on his first career AB (on Opening Day), and repeated the process the following year with his first AB on Opening Day. Is there any way to research homers on the first AB of Opening Day? Where would Jason fall in comparison?

birtelcom
Editor

Actually Andy, your second list is of games in which Opening Day homers are hit, not a list of the homers themselves — your list will miss the extra homers hit in multiple-homer games (for example, Ken Griffey Jr. has eight O.D. homers.

Hartvig
Guest
Seeing Hundley and Carter on the list got me thinking about how much catchers hitting might drop off as the season progresses so I checked the splits for a few recent catching icons- Bench, Carter, Simmons, Fisk, Piazza & Rodriguez. Rodriguez probably had the biggest difference between his first and second halves of the season- maybe because of catching in the Texas heat?- and Piazza showed a little as well but the other 4 put up pretty consistent numbers in both halves of the season for the most part. It’s hardly conclusive evidence but I did find it a little… Read more »
birtelcom
Editor
124 catchers have hit 183 homers on Opening Day, led by Hundley, Carter and Roy Campanella, who all have 5 O.D. home runs. I took the list of these 124 guys and ran their career home run totals. Who hit the most career homers among guys who hit an Opening Day homer as a catcher? Jimmie Foxx (534 career homers), who started 24 games (including Opening Day) at catcher in 1935, his age 27 year, after not having caught in the majors since he was 20. Foxx over his full career started 89 games at catcher. Two guys who hit… Read more »
Neil L.
Guest

Birtel,

A lot to digest in your post. Thanks.

Incredible in a way that Carter hit O.D. taters in four consecutive years(1977-80). Todd Hundley(1994-7) was the only other one on Andy’s list to do so.

Orlando Cepeda’s first-game power spanned three decades(barely).

Of the four current opening day HR streaks, which one is most likely to continue in 2013? Bautista?

Doug
Editor

One other player to homer in 4 straight OD games – Yogi Berra, 1955-58.

This factoid is courtesy of Richard Chester who, if I interpreted his post correctly, was present for each of those games.

Neil L.
Guest

Doug, er, Richard

Very nice catch on Yogi. And, of course he didn’t have enough first-game long balls to make it on to Andy’s list.

Richard Chester
Guest

I was present just for his first homer.

John Autin
Editor

Barry Bonds had a 2-HR O.D., so he had 6 O.D. HRs.

John Autin
Guest

Leaders in total HRs hit in Opening Day games (since 1918):

8 – F.Robinson, Griffey Jr.
7 – Ruth, Mays, Mathews, Dunn
6 – Winfield, Rolen, G.Carter, Yaz, B.Robinson, Hebner, Bonds

Mathews & Dunn are the only ones from the list who had two 2-HR ODs. Others who did that: Joe Torre, Pujols, Nady, Mondesi, JuanGon.

Neil L.
Guest

Dunn certainly is in elite company as a hitter when you consider the multi-homer Opening Day games!

However, first-game hitting prowess likely correlates with absolutely nothing in terms of the rest of their season. It is merely a curiousity, and nothing else.

An interesting discussion starter might be who is the most unlikely name on Andy’s list? Brooks Robinson? Dwight Evans?

In an unrelated matter, John, I notive you have just cracked the 700 mark in comments made. 🙂

Your lead atop the top commenters board appears safe!

Neil L.
Guest

Dunn does it again. He is Mr. Opening Day! He just moved up near the top of Andy’s list and ties for the most first-game home runs all-time. How about that.

John Autin
Editor

Gotta love Dunn’s first 3 PAs of 2012: Walk … Strikeout … Home Run.

Interesting that Ventura has Dunn batting 3rd. I like it. Just pretend that last year never happened.

John Autin
Editor

Did CC really intentionally walk someone in the FIRST INNING to go after Carlos Pena? For shame! 🙂

John Autin
Editor

Pena hit just the 2nd grand slam ever off CC. The other was hit by … Edgar Renteria?!?
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE200804160.shtml

Nadig
Guest

Shane Victorino also hit one off CC in the 2008 NLDS.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/PHI/PHI200810020.shtml

John Autin
Editor

Thanks for the correction, Nadig.

Neil L.
Guest

Hindsight is 20/20, JA. If the Bombers go on to lose, I’d like to see what the NY ink-stained wretches will have to say about Girardi’s strategy.

John Autin
Editor
Neil — I don’t expect you to remember my entire baseball belief system, especially after months away. But my hatred of the bases-filling IBB (especially early in the game) is practically a mantra by now … and it ain’t hindsight. Walking Sean Rodriguez is a gift. I’m well aware that Rodriguez hits lefties better than he does righties, and that Pena really struggles against lefties. It’s still flat-out stupid, and I’ll say that unto my dying day. There were men on 3rd and 2nd with 2 out. Rodriguez is neither especially dangerous nor especially patient. Even if there’s some reason… Read more »
Neil L.
Guest

John – Absolutely true. I had forgotten about your abhorrence of the IBB!

Do you think Joe Girardi had statistics like the ones you’ve mentioned at his disposal or did he just override themn in favor of a gut-fell?

How on Earth did you know about Pena ramping it up with the bases drunk?

John Autin
Editor
Neil – I feel certain that Joe had every piece of data that I have, and more. Perhaps he was looking at the batter-vs-pitcher data – Rodriguez was 6 for 21 with 1 HR, while Pena was just 4-35 with 4 walks and 19 Ks (but 2 HRs and a double). But those are still pretty small samples. I got the Pena bases-full split from B-R, natch: http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/split.cgi?id=penaca01&year=Career&t=b Before today, he had a .316 BA, .424 OBP and .663 SLG. Obviously, giving up a salami in the 1st isn’t devastating to a team as potent as the Yanks (as subsequent… Read more »
Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Joe Girardi should have been fired in the first inning and replaced with this blog.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Not related, but very interesting, this is a long interview on Fresh Air of Brad Ausmus:

http://www.npr.org/2011/08/18/139649031/covering-the-plate-a-baseball-catcher-tells-all

Neil L.
Guest

But Voomo you only have your tongue firmly planted in your cheek about Girardi with the benefit of having seen today’s Rays-Yanks 9th inning.

Will the “Rivera-is-done” whispers start today?

John Autin
Editor

Voomo @33 — Nah, this blog could never handle the clubhouse. Maybe it could be a bench blog, though.

John Autin
Editor

Neil a.k.a. Agent Provocateur @34 – Can a rhetorical question about a whispering campaign set off a whispering campaign?

(Of course, I only meant that rhetorically….)

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Why? Would I have thought Girardi was a genius if the greatest relief pitcher of all time was able to get three outs?

Load the bases with an intentional walk with two outs in the first inning of game one, with your ace pitching?

Against a utility player with a career 87 ops+?

Girardi would have managed that situation better if he had been in the clubhouse bathroom trying to manage the browns to the super bowl.

Neil L.
Guest

JA @37, you give me way too much credit. I would never stir the pot that is the NY baseball market, would I? 🙂

Voomo @38, I detect a little anti-Girardi venom in your posts. All kidding aside, is he really held in such low regard by the Yankees’ faithful?

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Neil I have no idea.
I live deep in the woods 3000 miles away.

I thought Billy Martin was a genius.
Nobody has measured up for me since.

Hartvig
Guest
Voomo- Thanks for the link to that great interview with Asmus. He’s been a favorite of mine going way back. I have never seen a catcher who was his equal at calling pitches, only Mike Matheny & Yadier Molina rivaled him at framing pitches and just a handful were as good at keeping the pitchers head in the game. I am firmly convinced that he took half a run off of a teams ERA when he was behind the plate and no amount of statistical evidence to the contrary will ever change that. His description of how much of a… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

By the way, I’ve stopped into Reedy’s for a beer many times before or after a Tigers game. The guy who owned the place was who was driving the truck in which Martin was killed.

Never did meet Billy however.

Neil L.
Guest

Voomo, echoing Hartvig @41, thanks for the link on Ausmus. I read the article that you linked.

Voomo, I know the taboo on giving personal information out in a public place, but your “3000 miles from New York” has me thinking either Alaska or the mountain forests of California.

Anyway, don’t reply to that, but I had you pegged for a Yankess watcher/fan living in metropolitan.

Neil L.
Guest

@43 should have New York on the end of it. Sorry.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Neil, click on my name and you get more personal information than I could give by telling you my city.

…And maybe I live in Iceland.

Neil L.
Guest

Voomo @45. Wow, so is this your alter-ego or the YouTube performer your alter-ego. 🙂

You are an astute baeball observer and commentator.

Voomo Zanzibar
Guest

Neil, my alter ego is the person who goes to work, pays bills, and pretends to be a civilized person.

The characters that i take on in performance and prose (almost ready to publish a book) are my actual personalities.

John Autin
Editor

Bravo, Voomo! – if only CC or Mo had been as adept as you at wriggling out of peril! 🙂

bstar
Guest
I was looking at Richie Hebner’s opening HR games and noticed he hit three of them specifically off Bob Gibson, one on April 5 ’73 and two on April 6 ’74. I haven’t finished my search of Andy’s links above, but this might be the most opening day HR by a batter against a specific pitcher in MLB history. Another something I found: On 4-9-63 against Houston, the SF Giants had three different Hall of Famers homer for them on Opening Day. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/HOU/HOU196304090.shtml No idea if this one is a record, but it seems unlikely any team had four HOF’ers… Read more »
Hartvig
Guest

Besides the Giants of the Mays/McCovey/Cepeda era I would look first at the Reds of the early 70’s, the A’s & Yankees of the late 20’s/early 30’s and the Cards of the 40’s. Not only do all of those teams have at least 3 HOF offensive players, 3 also have HOF pitchers that were batting as well. I’m sure I’m overlooking some obvious teams but those were the first to spring to mind.

Geez, how could I forget?!!? The Cochran/Greenberg/Gehringer Tigers of the 30’s!

Richard Chester
Guest

Thanks for the hint, Hartvig. On 6/3/34 Goslin, Cochrane, Gehringer and Greenberg homered for the Tigers.

Neil L.
Guest

bstar, just off the top of my head, you are talking about off the same pitcher in different games.

George Bell did it in the same game against Bret Saberhagen in 1988.

But to do it against the same pitcher in different seasons is truly remarkable. Thanks.

bstar
Guest

Thanks Neil, and nice to meet you. I figured somebody out there may have equaled that, and I forgot to look at G Bell as an obvious possibility.

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