4/5 Opening Day facts & figures

* The Cubs are 74-60-2 on Opening Day, including 29-22-2 as the home team, which includes a win in 2000 when they began the season in Japan.

* The earliest season opener was March 29, 2000, in Japan. The latest was May 8, 1877, when they edged Hartford, 6-5.

* The most runs scored in a season opener is 16, set April 5, 2005, against the Diamondbacks. The Cubs have been shutout five times, most recently April 5, 1993, against the Braves.

* The longest season opener was a 13-inning contest, done twice: April 30, 1886, against Kansas City, and April 5, 1988, against the Braves.

* The largest margin of victory was 14 runs in a 15-1 win over Lousville on April 14, 1899.

* On April 17, 1934, Lon Warneke threw a one-hitter in the season opener against Cincinnati. The last Cubs pitcher to toss a complete game (and shutout) on Opening Day was Bill Bonham, who beat the Phillies, 2-0, on April 9, 1974

* The Cubs are opening at Wrigley in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1993-94. In ’93, the Cubs lost to Greg Maddux and the Braves. He was making his first start for Atlanta. In ’94, Tuffy Rhodes hit three home runs against the Mets but the Cubs lost, 12-8.

* Ryan Dempster will try to avoid being the first Cubs pitcher to take back-to-back Opening Day losses since Mike Morgan, who lost the ’93 and ’94 openers.

* The Cubs have played 221 games against the three National League clubs that have represented Washington, D.C., but this will be the first time they will face a club from the nation’s capitol on Opening Day. The Cubs did open the season against the Nationals when they were the Montreal Expos three times, most recently April 2, 2001. The Cubs were to have opened against the Expos in 1972 but the start of the season was delayed because of a players’ strike.  In 1974, the Cubs were scheduled to play at Montreal’s Jarry Park but both games of the series were postponed because of inclement weather.

* Did you know that 1,895 players have appeared in a game for the Cubs? Of them, 316 players made their Cubs debut on Opening Day. Last year, Carlos Pena was the only player to make his Cubs debut on Opening Day.

* Geovany Soto will be making his fifth consecutive Opening Day start behind the plate. The last Cubs catcher with a longer streak was Jody Davis (six times, 1983-1988).

* Ian Stewart will make his first Opening Day start at third as a Cub, ending Aramis Ramirez’ eight-year run. The last time the Cubs had a first baseman and third baseman making their first Opening Day starts together was in 2004 with Derrek Lee and Ramirez.

* Alfonso Soriano will be making his fifth consecutive Opening Day start in left and sixth overall. The last Cubs outfielder with a longer stretch was Hall of Famer Billy Williams, who started seven straight years in left from 1967-1973.

* Dale Sveum is the 42nd person to manage the Cubs on Opening Day. He has 12 games experience as a big league manager, the fewest since 1982 when Lee Elia was making his Major League managerial debut. By comparison, Cap Anson (20 games) and Charlie Grimm (12 games) have managed as many, if not more Opening Days for the Cubs, then games Sveum has managed in the Majors.

P.S. Thanks to Ed Hartig, baseball historian, for the information.

– Carrie Muskat

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