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Digits: Opening Day

Ten fast numbers to brighten our South Side holiday

Don’t Stop Now Boys: Billy Pierce was all smiles as the beneficiary of a 17-run offensive outburst on Opening Day 1951.
John G. Zimmerman /Sports Illustrated/Getty Images
Brett Ballantini started at South Side Sox in 2018 after 20 years of writing on basketball, baseball and hockey, including time on the Blackhawks and White Sox beats. Follow him on Twitter @BrettBallantini and email your site feedback to


The Chicago White Sox are 4-4 (.500) all time vs. the Kansas City Royals in Opening Day games.


The fewest Opening Day games the White Sox have played against pre-expansion teams is just one, against the New York Yankees. The White Sox edged the Yankees 7-6 on April 11, 1982, in the first game of a doubleheader. Kevin Hickey got the win, and Jim Morrison knocked a homer.


When James Shields takes the mound today, it will give him an Opening Day start with four different teams: the White Sox, San Diego Padres, Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays.


Five White Sox will make their first career Opening Day start today: Nicky Delmonico, Adam Engel, Yoán Moncada, Matt Davidson, and Yolmer Sánchez. The last time five or more Sox players made their first start in a season opener was 2014, when José Abreu, Adam Eaton, Avisaíl García, Conor Gillaspie and Marcus Semien debuted vs. the Minnesota Twins.


Just nine pitchers in the last 100 seasons have started on Opening Day for at least four different teams: Bert Blyleven (five teams), Gaylord Perry (five), Kevin Brown (four), John Burkett (four), Livan Hernandez (four), Sad Sam Jones (four), Bobo Newsom (four), Mike Torrez (four), and Edison Volquez. (STATS)


The White Sox have more Opening Day wins against the Cleveland Indians (14) than any other team. Chicago’s overall record on Opening Day vs. the Indians is 14-15.


The most runs the White Sox have ever scored on Opening Day came in a 17-3 win over the St. Louis Browns on April 17, 1951. Billy Pierce scored the victory.


Chicago’s 61 Opening Day wins are the third-most in the American League. The Baltimore Orioles (69) and Yankees (63) are the only teams with more. (Elias)


The warmest temperature for a home opener in White Sox history came at Comiskey Park on April 12, 1977, in a 5-2 win over the Boston Red Sox. Ken Brett got the victory, Dave Hamilton the save, Jorge Orta doubled and tripled, Oscar Gamble stole second base, and Richie Zisk was caught stealing — for the second time of the young season! Zisk also gunned down Boomer Scott at third base.


The second-to-last time the White Sox defeated Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium on Opening Day was April 9, 1976 — when the ballpark was still named Royals Stadium, and sported artificial grass! Wilbur Wood tossed a complete game, 4-0 shutout. First baseman Jim Spencer went 3-for 3 with a home run and three RBI, and second baseman Jack Brohamer went 2-for-3.


The last time the White Sox defeated Kansas City at Kauffman Stadium (still named Royals, still with fake grass) on Opening Day was April 6, 1987. The 5-4 win was pocketed by Richard Dotson, saved by Bob James, and set up by future White Sox saves leader Bobby Thigpen. Harold Baines, Tim Hulett and Ozzie Guillen all went 2-for-4.

Source material provided by the White Sox except where noted, with supplemental research by the Chimpanzees Typing Shakespeare Research Wing of South Side Sox. Corrective research by John Kellbach.