Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

MLB News

Who has longest OD streak at each position?

Players who have started the most consecutive openers for one team
March 28, 2019

The 2019 season is officially underway, and with the latest season openers in the books, several streaks of consecutive Opening Day starts were extended. With that in mind, here is a look at the players at each defensive position who have the longest active streaks of Opening Day starts --

The 2019 season is officially underway, and with the latest season openers in the books, several streaks of consecutive Opening Day starts were extended.

With that in mind, here is a look at the players at each defensive position who have the longest active streaks of Opening Day starts -- for the same team -- through '19.

All data is since 1908, the first season for which it is available.

Catcher: Yadier Molina (Cardinals)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with STL: 15

The last Cardinals catcher not named Molina to start on Opening Day was the team's previous manager, Mike Matheny, in 2004. Molina's current string of 15 consecutive season-opening starts is the longest active streak at any position with one team, and tied with Ray Schalk for the all-time record among catchers. With his contract running through '20, Molina has a great chance to set the all-time mark.

The only other active backstop with a single-team streak even half as long as Molina's is San Francisco's Buster Posey, who has been behind the dish for the past nine Opening Days. Russell Martin had made 12 consecutive starts that ended Thursday, but with four different teams (Dodgers, Yankees, Pirates, Blue Jays).

Longest all-time streak: 15 -- Molina, Cardinals (2005-present); Schalk, White Sox (1913-27)

First base: Joey Votto (Reds)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with CIN: 11

Other longtime Reds such as Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton have departed over the past few years, but Votto remains. He first took over the gig from Scott Hatteberg in 2009, and with a contract that runs through '23 (with a '24 club option), he may not be leaving any time soon.

Longest all-time streak: 17 -- Joe Judge, Washington Senators (1916-32)

Second base: José Altuve (Astros)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with HOU: Eight

Last season was the first since 2006 in which Boston's Dustin Pedroia didn't start on Opening Day, as he recovered from left knee surgery that kept him out for nearly the entire year. That made Altuve the active leader, fresh off signing an extension that is set to keep him in Houston through '24. The 2017 AL MVP has gotten the nod in each of his first eight full seasons.

Robinson Canó still leads all active second basemen with 14 consecutive Opening Day starts, but those have been split between the Yankees, Mariners and Mets.

Longest all-time streak: 17 -- Lou Whitaker, Tigers (1978-94)

Third base: Nolan Arenado (Rockies)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with COL: Six

Evan Longoria has started 11 straight openers, but was traded from Tampa Bay to San Francisco last year. With Mike Moustakas also moving on from Kansas City and Kyle Seager beginning 2019 on the injured list for Seattle, the title falls to Arenado. Drafted by Colorado in 2009, Arenado debuted after Opening Day in '13 but has manned the hot corner in every Rockies opener since.

While Arenado went 0-for-3 to begin 2014, he since has become a force on Opening Day. The Gold Glover has gone a combined 10-for-21 with three homers and eight RBIs. Arenado could keep the streak going for a long while, after signing an extension that is set to keep him in Colorado through 2025.

Longest all-time streak: 20 -- Brooks Robinson, Orioles (1957-76)

Shortstop: Elvis Andrus (Rangers)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with TEX: 11

Andrus took over from Michael Young in 2009, and his streak is showing no signs of ending soon. Still just 30 years old, Andrus is signed with Texas through '22, with a vesting option for '23. That gives him a shot to tie or even break the record for shortstops.

Andrus' closest active challenger was Alcides Escobar, who made eight straight Opening Day starts for the Royals but signed with the Orioles for 2019. That leaves Brandon Crawford in second place, as his streak with the Giants stretches back to '12.

Longest all-time streak: 14 -- Cal Ripken Jr., Orioles (1983-96); Jimmy Rollins, Phillies (2001-14)

Left field: Alex Gordon (Royals)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with KC: Eight*

This gets an asterisk because Gordon actually started in center field for the Royals in their 2018 opener, even though the now-34-year-old had made just four previous Major League starts in that spot. He was back in left field for Thursday's season opener, however. Gordon keeps his place on this list, given that no other left fielder has started for the same team on Opening Day for more than three years in a row.

The Royals enjoyed a remarkably stable core during their recent run, which included a World Series championship in 2015. Every year from 2013-17, Kansas City had catcher Salvador Perez, first baseman Eric Hosmer, third baseman Moustakas, shortstop Escobar, center fielder Lorenzo Cain and Gordon take the field on Opening Day. Now only Gordon and Perez remain (Perez missed the opener this year, and will miss the entire season after undergoing Tommy John surgery).

Longest all-time streak: 13 -- Lou Brock, Cardinals (1967-79)

Center field: Mike Trout (Angels)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with LAA: Seven

Adam Jones started 11 straight openers for the Orioles, but was the starting right fielder for the D-backs this year, which means Trout steps into the top spot. Following a subpar 40-game debut in 2011, Trout began '12 at Triple-A before returning to Anaheim in late April and becoming the Trout we all know now.

The two-time AL MVP has started each opener since, and figures to be penciled in for the season opener for many years to come, having recently signed a 12-year, $426.5 million deal to remain an Angel.

Longest all-time streak: 19 -- Willie Mays, Giants (1954-72)

Right field: Jason Heyward (Cubs)_
Consecutive Opening Day starts with CHC: Four_

This could end up being veteran right fielder Nick Markakis (five straight starts in right field for the Braves), but that's only likely if he has to take the place of an injured Ronald Acuña Jr. now that Acuña has moved to right field after Atlanta signed free agent Marcell Ozuna this offseason. Heyward has had his ups and downs during a 10-year career, but he remains a great defensive right fielder, having won five Gold Glove Awards. He launched 21 homers last season, his most since 2012 with the Braves.

Longest all-time streak: 15 -- Roberto Clemente, Pirates (1958-72)

Starting pitcher: Jon Lester (Cubs)
Consecutive Opening Day starts with CHC: Three

Until he signed with the Angels as a free agent this offseason, Julio Teheran was at the top of this list, with six consecutive Opening Day starts for the Braves. But now the mantle belongs to Lester, the veteran left-hander who will likely make his fourth consecutive Opening Day start for the Cubs. Lester has made four Opening Day starts for Chicago overall (not taking the mound for the opener in 2016), tossing six strong innings in the Cubs' 12-4 victory over the Rangers last year, giving up two runs on four hits. He's looking to bounce back after posting a 4.46 ERA and giving up a league-high 205 hits in 2018.

Longest all-time streak: 12 -- Robin Roberts, Phillies (1950-61)

Andrew Simon is a research analyst for Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.