Opening Day is Finally Here! (Fun Facts & Figures)

28 March 2019
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All 30 Major League Baseball teams will play today, which marks the 140th Opening Day and the earliest Opening Day in history (excluding international openers). The previous earliest opening day was March 29, 2018. Exhibition games played during spring training prior to Opening Day are ignored.

Just for fun (and because we love numbers and sports), we compiled a few stats, milestones, and fun facts about the big day and some of the MLB stadia that have hosted it:

1st Opening Day  /  April 22, 1876. Also the first game played in the National League. The Boston Red Stockings defeated the Philadelphia Athletics 6-5.

1st Professional Baseball Team  /  Cincinnati Red Stockings, who played their first Opening Day against the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1882.

Hooky Day  /  Opening Day is a state of mind as well, with countless baseball fans known to recognize this unofficial holiday as a good reason to call in sick at work or be truant from school (as most teams typically play their home opener in the afternoon).

Official Holiday?  /  Baseball fans consider Opening Day a holiday. Movements have been made — so far, unsuccessfully — to make Opening Day an official city holiday in Cincinnati.

We the People  /  In 2014, Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith, with the support of Anheuser-Busch, began a campaign using the We the People program to petition the U.S. government to make Opening Day an official national holiday.

Home Opener  /  A team’s first game of the season on their home field.

Full Rosters  /  Teams’ home openers serve as the only regular season games in which the entire rosters of both teams as well as coaches and clubhouse staff are introduced to the crowd prior to the games; for the rest of the year, ballparks only introduce the starting lineups (including the designated hitter in American League ballparks) and the team’s manager.

Longest Game  /  16 Innings. The longest Opening Day game in major league history was April 5, 2012 — Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians. The Blue Jays beat the Indians 7–4 in 16 innings.

Best Hitter  /  Ted Williams. The last man to hit .400 in a full-season, Williams was a .449 hitter in Opening Day games, with three home runs and 14 RBIs in 14 games. Williams had at least one hit in every Opening Day game he played.

Oldest Starting Pitcher  /  Nolan Ryan. In 1993, he was 46 years old when he toed the rubber for the Texas Rangers.

Most Home Runs  /  Frank Robinson. The Hall of Fame outfielder belted eight career home runs on the first day of the season. In addition to his record for most Opening Day homers, no other batter has equaled Robinson’s feat of hitting Opening Day homers for four different teams.

103  /  Number of Opening Days celebrated at Walter P Moore-engineered stadia.

  • Astrodome (1965) / 36 Opening Days
  • Globe Life Park (1994) / 26 Opening Days (having its last opening day this year)
  • Minute Maid Park (2000) / 20 Opening Days
  • Target Field (2010) / 10 Opening Days
  • Marlins Park (2012) / 8 Opening Days
  • Truist Park (formerly SunTrust Park) (2017) / 3 Opening Days
  • Globe Life Field will host its first Opening Day in 2020.

Largest Canopy in Open-Air MLB Stadium / Truist Park. It’s 80,000-sf canopy will shade 60% of the seats on Opening Day.

1st (only) Hurricane-Ready Field / Marlins Park. Though Opening Day falls outside of Florida’s typical hurricane season, Marlins Park is the first and only retractable roof stadium designed to be partially open, or in “hurricane position” during major storm events.

Leading Structural Engineer for Opening Day / Walter P Moore. With seven major league ballparks completed or under construction, Walter P Moore has been the structural engineer for the four most recently designed or completed parks — Globe Life Field (2020), Truist Park, Marlins Park, and Target Field.

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