History

Phillies and Braves will make history on Opening Day



When the Phillies host the Atlanta Braves on March 28 it will mark the earliest season opener in Phillies history. (Brian Michael/Phillies Nation)

Opening Days for the Phillies have included a defeat in their very first one 136 years ago, two tie games, 12 that went extra innings, a rare doubleheader sweep, a victory in the highest scoring opener, a snowball forfeit win and a bad streak against the Braves. Soon the earliest opener ever.

The earliest the Phillies ever opened a season was March 29, a year ago in Atlanta. That claim to fame will have a one-year run as the Phillies and Braves will open this season in Philadelphia on March 28.

Overall, the Phillies are 61-73 on Opening Day, 8-11 this century. They have also played two tie games, 5-5, 14 innings (1923) and 6-6, 11 innings (1924). It is assumed both were called because of darkness as there were no lights.

Twelve openers have gone extra innings. The last one was in 2007, a 5-3 loss in 10 innings vs. Atlanta at Citizens Bank Park.

Braves jinx
The two teams have opened the season against each other five times this century. Atlanta is 5-0. Two of those losses came at Citizens Bank Park, in 2007 and 2009.

The last Phillies opener win vs. the Braves was on April 5, 1999, 7-4, at Atlanta. The last win at home against them was on April 18, 1949, a 4-0, five-hitter by Ken Heintzelman at Shibe Park. The Braves were then in Boston. Since that year, the Braves are 12-2 vs. the Phillies on Opening Day.

Notable wins vs. Braves
April 19, 1900: Phillies win at Boston, 19-17, in 10 innings in the highest scoring opener in baseball history. Boston tied the game by scoring nine in the last of the ninth.

April 14, 1915: Phillies win at Boston, 3-0, as Grover Cleveland Alexander blanks the defending world champions. The Phillies go on to win their first National League pennant.

April 19, 1937: Phillies win a doubleheader, beating Boston, 2-1, in 11 innings and 1-0 at Braves Field. Time of second game, 1 hour, 40 minutes. It is the only time the Phillies started the season with a twin bill.

First opener
May 1, 1883: The Phillies lost their initial opener, 4-3, to Providence at Recreation Park, 24th and Columbia Avenues, when the Grays scored four runs in the eighth to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Attendance: an estimated 1,200.

Forfeit win
April 11, 1907: The New York Giants opened against the Phillies following a heavy snowstorm. In preparation for the game, groundskeepers were forced to shovel large drifts of snow onto the outer edges of the field in foul territory. After falling behind 3-0, the disappointed fans at the Polo Grounds began hurling snowballs on to the playing field, disrupting play. As the melee progressed, chaos ensued, and fans began rushing onto the field to continue the snowball fight. After being pelted, home-plate umpire Bill Klem had enough and called a forfeit in favor of the Phillies. (Baseballalmanac.com)

Club records
Most home runs: 5, Mike Schmidt; 3, Scott Rolen and Jimmy Rollins
Most wins: 5, Robin Roberts
Most losses: 9, Steve Carlton
Most shutouts: 3, Chris Short

 

Larry Shenk is author/editor of the Phillies.com Alumni section. Articles re-printed at Phillies Nation by permission of Major League Baseball and the Philadelphia Phillies.

 

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