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Red Sox Top 5 Opening Day Performances

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Happy Opening Day Red Sox Fans!

What a long, cold, lonely, winter it has been. While it may not be warm in the Northeast just yet, baseball has returned and down in Texas this afternoon, our 2011 Red Sox take the field for the first time. Opening day is wonderful thing. It is a day of hope for the new season; a day when every team stands dead even in the race. To make the time before that first pitch go by just a little bit faster, I thought I would take a look back at the best individual opening day performances in Red Sox history.

 

Hitters:

 

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

PA

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

WPA

Manny Ramirez

3/25/2008

BOS

OAK

W 6-5

5

1

2

2

0

0

4

0

0.611

Rico Petrocelli

4/12/1967

BOS

CHW

W 5-4

4

1

3

0

0

1

4

1

0.317

Kevin Youkilis

4/4/2010

BOS

NYY

W 9-7

4

3

3

2

1

0

2

0

0.501

 

 

Manny leads all Red Sox in Win Probablity Added with his 2008 10th inning double, two run double. His four RBI, two double day is good, but without the late inning dramatics, this opening day outing doesn’t measure up to the best. Youk just misses out as well, despite three runs on three hits, all for extra bases on opening day 21010. We go back a bit further for the last honorable mention hitter. To kick off the Impossible Dream season, Rico Petrocelli managed three hits, including a home run, driving four runs in, scouring one and walking as well. Impressive outings all, but they miss the cut.

 

Pitchers:

 

Player

Date

Tm

Opp

Rslt

IP

H

R

BB

SO

WPA

Mel Parnell

4/15/1952

BOS

WSH

W 3-0

9

3

0

6

2

0.491

 

Another blast from the past here, kicking off 1952, Mel Parnell threw a three hit, complete game shutout. Parnell only managed to whiff two hitters that game, while walking six, however, making this one look less than dominant.

5) George Kell, 4/16/1953, 5 PA, 4 H (1 2B) 4 RBI, 2 R

Batting 5th for the Sox, third baseman George Kell had an excellent opening day way back in 1952. Kell struck often and early as the Sox won there first game on road against the Kansas City A’s. He drove in the game’s first run in the first inning on a single, then went on drive in another and score in the fifth and knock in two more with his seventh inning double, putting the Sox well ahead of the A’s, the driving force in the 11-6 win that kicked off 1952.

4) Dennis Eckersley, 4/10/1982, 9IP, 6H 0R, 0BB, 6K

Eck went the distance in this 2-0 Sox victory and helped to compensate for a punch-less day from Yaz, Dewey and Co. He allowed a few scattered hits, but he didn’t issue any few passes and he struck out six, including a key 7th inning punch-out of Cal Ripken Jr to end the Orioles biggest threat that day.

3) Pedro Martinez, 4/1/1998, 7IP, 3H, 0R, 2BB, 11K

2) Pedro Martinez, 4/4/2000, 7IP, 2H, 0R, 2BB, 11K

No Red Sox player owns Opening Day the way Pedro does. He was incredible in his first opening day start in 1998, shutting out the A’s through seven while striking out eleven as the Sox squeaked out a 2-0 victory. Two years later, he was even better as he once again pitched seven shutout innings and K’d eleven, this time allowing only two hits and throwing eight fewer pitches. Pedro owned opening day back them, because he owned every game he pitched. He was more a force of nature, than a pitcher.

1) Carlton Fisk, 4/6/1973, 5PA, 4R, 3H (1 2B), 2HR, 6 RBI, HBP

Want to impress Sox fans, try starting the season with a monster two home run, six RBI game against the Yankees. The Sox started the 1973 season with an old fashion whopping of their hated rival with Fisk leading the offense to a 15-5 win at Fenway. Sox Ace Luis Tiant got off to a rough start, allowing three runs in the top of the first. In his first at bat, Fisk evened the score with a two run home run in the second. In his second at bat, Fisk doubled, and it was the beginning of the end for Mel Stottlemyre.In his third time to the plate, Fisk took Lindy McDaniel deep for a Grand Slam and the Sox never looked back. The Yankees might have had enough of Fisk by that point as he was hit by a pitch the next time up with the lead up to twelve to five.

Will Jon Lester channel his inner 1998-2000 Pedro this afternoon? Will Kevin Youkilis be angered with his mere honorable mention and hit three home runs? We cannot know, so we will watch. Baseball is back, anything is possible. Happy Opening Day Everybody!

 

If I missed any of your favorite games, feel free to make your case below. Also, I have only included Retrosheet era games here (post 1950) so feel free to dig up the best pre-1950 opening day games as well.