Detroit Tigers Top 10 Opening Day Facts


One of the hardest parts of being a Tiger ex-pat in Connecticut is being away from the Detroit Tigers opening day celebration.  Sure every team has great opening days, but

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, A Healthier Michigan

There’s something just really special about a Detroit opening day.

Questions go unanswered as the Tigers take the field and begin their campaign. I think it’s safe to say for the first time in a few years, our fan base isn’t quite as confident as we have been in the past.

There’s nothing like being in Detroit the first week of April. The crisp spring air hitting you as you sometimes watched snow flurries fall.  The special taste of the beer as you tailgate or hung out in the parking lots or bars around Tiger Stadium or now Comerica Park. The roar of the crowd as the first pitch is thrown and the magic of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch.

The Tigers open next Monday against the Minnesota Twins in Detroit.  A new face takes the mound in David Price. We have our beasts in Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and now Yoenis Cespedes; we have our sleek with Jose Iglesias, Anthony Gose and Rajai Davis; we have our steady eddies with Ian Kinsler and J.D. Martinez; and we have our question marks with Alfredo Simon, Joba Chamberlain, Joakim Soria, and Joe Nathan.

But we’ll put that all aside as Tiger fans come together from all over to celebrate opening day no matter how bad the weather might be.  Let’s share some special opening day facts about the Tigers.

The Tigers have won the past six straight opening days since 2009 beating the Texas Rangers, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals twice, Boston Red Sox, and the New York Yankees

Detroit is .552 with a 63-50-1 all time record.  The lone tie came in 1904 against the St. Louis Browns when the game was called after 12 innings.

Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Don The Upnorth Memory

  • “Wabash” George Mullin has been one of the greatest opening day starters for the Detroit Tigers.  Pitching 9 of 10 openers from 1903 through 1912, Mullin went 5 of 8 in decisions, pitched every game as a complete game with four extra inning games in that mix, and in 1909 he pitched a one hitter against Cleveland in a game that lasted all of 82 minutes.  In 1911, he pitched the opener at brand new Navin Field and in the bottom of the 11th inning he hit the walk off single to beat Cleveland 6-5.
  • Our new mix in the broadcast booth, Jack Morris started 11 straight opening days from 1980 to 1900 going 7-4.
  • The last time we faced the Twins in the opener was in 2004 where we won 10-6, but we are 2-3 overall against the Twins in opening days.  Statistically speaking the Bengals have a pretty good chance of winning the 2015 opener especially with David Price throwing.
  • Al Kaline has played in the most opening days of any other Tiger – starting in 20 consecutive opening days from 1954 to 1973 with his lone center field start in 1960.
  • The first opening day for the Tigers was on April 25, 1901 when the newly formed Detroit Tigers played at Bennett Park against the Milwaukee Brewers and rallied from a 13-4 deficit in the bottom of the ninth to win 14-13.  The Tigers replaced the defunct Detroit Wolverines who folded after the 1888 season.

    The first opening day at Tiger Stadium was in 1912 when the Tigers beat the Cleveland Indians 6-5 with

    Ty Cobb

    stealing home during the game.  (The Red Sox

    Credit: Flickr Creative Commons, Andrew McFarlane

    opened Fenway the same year).  The last opening day at Tiger Stadium was 87 years later in 1999 when the Tigers beat the Kansas City Royals 8-4 off a Robert Fick grand slam in the bottom of the 8th.  Tiger greats, led by Mark Fidrych, took the field after the game in a procession to honor the 87 seasons

    The most runs the Tigers have scored in an opening day event has been 20 in 1993 when they beat the Oakland A’s 20-3 and the most that they have given up was 13 when they had that 14-13 come from behind victory in their opening season of 1901 against the Indians.

  • David Price is the first pitcher other than Justin Verlander to pitch opening day since 2007 when it was Jeremy Bonderman‘s turn.
  • Maybe 2015 will bring another great opening day memory for all of us.  What are some of your favorite opening day memories?


    Next: Tigers to ditch Comerica Park for new stadium in 2020