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Schwei By The Numbers: 50 Years Of Mets Openers

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Casey Stengel (AP Photo), Gil Hodges and Davey Johnson (Getty Images)

Casey Stengel (AP Photo), Gil Hodges and Davey Johnson (Getty Images)

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By John Schweibacher
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The 50th season of New York Mets baseball begins Friday night in Florida against the Marlins. Terry Collins will make his debut as Mets manager becoming the 10th skipper in club history to begin his stint as Mets manager at the start of a season. Only four of the previous Mets skippers picked up a win in those openers:

· 1962 Lost 11-4 at STL Casey Stengel
· 1968 Lost 5-4 at SF Gil Hodges
· 1972 Won 4-0 vs. PIT Yogi Berra
· 1976 Won 3-2 vs. MTL Joe Frazier
· 1982 Won 7-2 at PHI George Bamberger
· 1984 Lost 8-1 at CIN Davey Johnson
· 1992 Won 4-2(10) at STL Jeff Torborg
· 2003 Lost 15-2 vs. CHI Art Howe
· 2005 Lost 7-6 at CIN Willie Randolph

Brad Emaus is expected to be the Mets’ opening night second baseman. The Rule 5 draft choice would be the first player to make his major-league debut in the Mets starting lineup in an opener in seven years. If reliever Pedro Beato (another Rule 5 pick but more on that later) appears as well, the Mets could have multiple rookies debuting in a season opener for the first time since back in 1995:

Players who made MLB debuts with Mets on opening day (*=started game):

· 2007: Joe Smith RP
· 2005: Dae-Sung Koo RP
· 2004: Kaz Matsui SS*
· 2001: Tsuyoshi Shinjo PR,LF
· 1997: Steve Bieser PH
· 1996: Rey Ordonez SS*
· 1995: Edgardo Alfonzo PH; Brook Fordyce PR; Ricky Otero LF
· 1984: Ross Jones PH
· 1979: Kelvin Chapman 2B*; Jesse Orosco RP
· 1969: Rod Gaspar RF*
· 1967: Don Shaw RP
· 1966: Billy Murphy PR
· 1965: Ron Swoboda PH; Jim Bethke RP
· 1964: John Stephenson PH
· 1963: Al Moran SS*; Don Rowe RP
· 1962: Bob Moorehead RP

Both Brad Emaus (Toronto Blue Jays) and Pedro Beato (Baltimore Orioles) were claimed by the Mets in last December’s Rule 5 draft. According to Retrosheet.org, only 14 players selected by the Mets in a Rule 5 draft have made their season opening roster:

· 1962 Bob Moorehead P (Cin)
· 1963 Don Rowe P (Pit), Ted Schreiber IF (Bos)
· 1966 Bill Hepler P (Was), Billy Murphy OF (NYY)
· 1967 Tommie Reynolds OF (KC), Bart Shirley IF (LA), John Sullivan C (Det)
· 1969 Wayne Garrett IF (Atl)
· 1991 Doug Simons P (Min)
· 1993 Mike Draper P (NYY)
· 1994 Kelly Stinnett C (Clv)
· 1995 Kevin Loman P (Atl)
· 2009 Darren O’Day P (LAA)

Since Jason Bay is on the disabled list, David Wright figures to be the only player who appeared in last year’s opening day lineup that will be in this season’s opener:

2010 Mets Opening Day Lineup:

· Alex Cora SS
· Luis Castillo 2B
· David Wright 3B
· Mike Jacobs 1B
· Jason Bay LF
· Gary Matthews, Jr. CF
· Jeff Francoeur RF
· Rod Barajas C
· Johan Santana P

The last and only time the Mets had just one player start on opening day who also appeared in the preceding season’s opening day starting lineup was back in 1966 when Roy McMillan was the lone holdover from opening day 1965.

Assuming he stays healthy, Wright will be making his 7th straight opening day start for the Mets, tying Darryl Strawberry for the 4th-longest streak in club history:

Consecutive Opening Day Starts for Mets:

· 11 Bud Harrelson 1967-77
· 10 Tom Seaver 1968-77
· 9 Howard Johnson 1985-93
· 7 Darryl Strawberry 1984-90

Whoever does play for the Mets on opening night, hopefully they avoid this list; Player whose final game in major leagues was for the Mets on opening day:

· 1983: Mike Howard (started in RF, went 1-for-3 with RBI in 2-0 win)

Only four players who were born on a Mets opening day later played for the Mets (but two of them were born at the start of seasons that turned out pretty well):

· Pete Walker (4/8/69) Mets lost to Expos 11-10 at Shea.
· Ricky Otero (4/15/72) Mets beat Pirates 4-0 at Shea.
· Timo Perez (4/8/75) Mets beat Phillies 2-1 at Shea.
· Eddie Kunz (4/8/86) Mets beat Pirates 4-2 in Pittsburgh.

Player who was born on day of a Mets home opener (not season opener) and later played for Mets:

· D.J. Carrasco (4/12/77) Mets beat Cardinals 4-0 at Shea.

Mets will be playing for the 6th time on April 1st in club history, including four previous April Fools season openers:

· 2008: Lost 5-4 (10) at Florida
· 2007: Won 6-1 at St. Louis (season opener)
· 2002: Won 6-2 vs. Pittsburgh (season opener)
· 1997: Lost 12-5 at San Diego (season opener)
· 1996: Won 7-6 vs. St. Louis (season opener)

The Mets went just 6 and 12 against the Marlins in 2010, going 1 and 8 on the road vs. Florida and that lone win came in the three-game series in Puerto Rico. The last Mets win over the Marlins in Florida was on September 27th, 2009 when Pat Misch shut out the Marlins, 4-0.

Have a prediction for the Mets’ 2011 season? Add your thoughts to the fray below…

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