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Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Opening Day

The baseball season began in earnest yesterday and hearing announcers talk about the now big deal of being named the Opening Day starter for a team got me wondering if native Delawareans have fared well in that department.

The results are inconclusive. I do not have readily available information for the 19th century, thereby making the count of two of the pitchingest Delawarean pitchers difficult to determine. Sadie McMahon was the starting pitcher in at least two Opening Day games, Bert Cunningham one.

In the twentieth century, Chris Short has been the only native Delawarean to start an Opening Day game, pitching on six Opening Days. The Phillies were 4-2 in those games. Five games were on the road, one at home.

Astonishingly, three of the games Short pitched were shutouts. On April 7, 1970, short blanked Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins and the Chicago Cubs on five hits, defeating them 2-0 in Short's only home Opening Day start. On April 10, 1968, the Dodgers and Claude Osteen went down on just four hits. Short struck out ten in the 2-0 victory.

Short threw his third 2-0 Opening Day shutout against the Houston Astros on April 12, 1965, earning the first win in a regular season game at the newly constructed Houston Astrodome. Short allowed just four hits, striking out eleven and walking three as he outpitched Bob Bruce.


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