Atlanta Braves: MLB’s best Opening Day team in the last 20 years

Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves

Chipper Jones of the Atlanta Braves (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.

Although Oakland and Seattle began the 2012 Major League Baseball season with a pair of games in Japan this past weekend, many baseball purists look at today as the start of the 2012 campaign with the defending World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals facing the Miami Marlins in Miami tonight.

Looking at the last 20 MLB seasons, the Atlanta Braves top the 30 teams with the best Opening Day record at 14-6. Following is a look at each team’s Opening Day wins and losses from 1992-2011. (Note: Oakland and Seattle’s 2012 Opening Day is not included in the records below).

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Opening day record in last 20 years, Teams

14-6: Atlanta

13-7: Florida

12-8: Pittsburgh, San Francisco

8-6: Arizona

10-9: Miami

10-9-1: Milwaukee

10-10: Colorado, LA Dodgers

9-11: Philadelphia, Chicago Cubs, St. Louis

8-12: Houston, San Diego

7-13: Washington

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Opening day record in last 20 years, Teams

13-7: Baltimore, NY Yankees, Toronto

12-8: Chicago White Sox

11-9: Boston, LA Angels, Seattle

10-10: Minnesota

7-7: Tampa Bay

9-11: Texas

8-12: Cleveland, Detroit

6-14: Kansas City, Oakland

Note: In looking at current winning and losing streaks on Opening Day, three teams entered the 2012 season with five straight wins on Opening Day: Pittsburgh, Arizona and Seattle (the Mariners with their win over the A’s in Japan have now won six straight on Opening Day). In the loss column, Oakland has now lost eight straight with their loss to Seattle in Japan, and Houston tops the National League with five straight Opening Day losses.

A quick historical scan of the Opening Day starting line-ups for each team revealed 24 players who have a current streak as Opening Day starter at a particular position for six or more consecutive Opening Days. How many will extend those streaks? For some, those streaks have already ended before the first pitch of Opening Day. For example, Albert Pujols streak of eight straight Opening Days as the Cardinals first baseman ends as he has taken his talents to the LA Angels. The same with Prince Fielder, who had been the Brewers Opening Day first baseman for six straight years but will now patrol first base with the Tigers.

Following are the players who entered the 2012 season with the longest active streaks as a team’s Opening Day starter at a particular position.

Current streak as Opening Day starter at position, Player, Position, Team

14: Todd Helton, 1B, Colorado

11: Jimmy Rollins, SS, Philadelphia; Paul Konerko, 1B, Chicago White Sox

10: Derek Jeter, SS, NY Yankees

8: Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Chicago Cubs; Albert Pujols, 1B, St. Louis; Brian Roberts, 2B, Baltimore; David Ortiz, DH, Boston; Travis Hafner, DH, Cleveland

7: Chipper Jones, 3B, Atlanta; David Wright, 3B, NY Mets; Yadier Molina, C, St. Louis; A.J. Pierzynski, C, Chicago White Sox; Magglio Ordonez, RF, Detroit; Justin Morneau, 1B, Minnesota; Mark Ellis, 2B, Oakland.

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