Opening Day… finally!
Really, is there any better day of the year? There is a buzz around PNC Park this morning that you won’t see any other day of the season… that is, unless the Pirates find a way to stay in the race late.
But for now, everything is even. Heck, the Yankees are the only team with a blemish on their record, so for the next few hours all 29 other clubs can claim superiority.
The Pirates could not have ordered better weather, that’s for sure. At this time last year, I remember walking to Busch Stadium in the snow. Today, we’re supposed to get into the 70s.
While I wait for the clubhouse to open to what will be the largest media horde all of us “regulars” will see all season, let’s take a look back at some of the more memorable Opening Days in team history…
- April 12, 1911: The Pirates have never had as many offensive fireworks as they did in this season opener, which was against the Reds. Pittsburgh won the game, 14-0. Those 14 runs are the most the Pirates have ever scored in an Opening Day game. Two other offensive records were set in that game that still stand: 17 hits by the team (matched in 1990 and 2008) and most hits by a player on Opening Day (five, by Bob Byrne)
- April 18, 1950: The Pirates and Cardinals played (in St. Louis) the
first night opener in Major League history. Pittsburgh lost the game,
4-2. Right-hander Bob Chesnes started the game for the Pirates, who
finished with just 57 wins that season.
- April 12, 1965: Starters Bob Veale (Pittsburgh) and Juan Marichal (Giants) both took shutouts into the 10th before the Pirates managed to score on a walk-off home run by Bob Bailey to lead off the 10th inning. Veal pitched all 10 innings for Pittsburgh and allowed three hits and one walk. He struck out 10.
- April 6, 1971: The Pirates began a 30-year stay at Three Rivers Stadium
with a 4-2 win against the Phillies. Dock Ellis pitched a complete game
for the win, which was his only victory as an Opening Day starter for
the Pirates. Pittsburgh went on to finish 97-65 and of course, they won a World Series
- April 6, 2009: The Pirates became just the second National League team since the ’62 league expansion to win a season opener on the road after trailing by two or more runs in the ninth. Pittsburgh claimed the comeback win by scoring four runs with two outs in the ninth in St. Louis. Jack Wilson was the hero.
We’ll see if Monday’s opener has the credentials to be added to the list…
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