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Through the years: Phillies' season openers

A look back at historic first games dating back 132 years ago

The Phillies' 132nd season opener this year is a historic one; the first against an American League club as they face the Texas Rangers in Globe Life Park in Arlington. It also means the Phils will use the designated hitter on Opening Day for the first time. 

History, in this case, is tied in to Interleague Play, which has been around since 1997.

Early openers

The March 31 opener marks the fourth time the Phillies have started a season this early. They lost, 1-0, in 14 innings in 1998 in New York against the Mets; won, 8-5, at Florida in 2003; and lost, 11-6, against the Nationals in 2008.

Texas openers

The Phillies are 2-0 in season openers played in the state of Texas. In 1965, they played the first regular-season game in Houston's Astrodome and won, 2-0. They returned to the Astrodome to start the 1993 season and won again, 3-1. In each case, a left-handed starter tossed a complete-game four-hitter (Chris Short and Terry Mulholland). Lefty Cliff Lee starts this year.

Noteworthy season openers in Phillies history

May 1, 1883

The Phillies lost their initial opener, 4-3, to Providence at Recreation Park when the Grays scored four runs in the eighth inning to overcome a 3-0 deficit. Attendance was an estimated 1,200. Future Hall of Famer Charles (Old Hoss) Radbourne earned the win, the first of 48 victories for him that season. John Coleman was tagged with the loss, the first of his 48 defeats (13 wins). 

May 2, 1885

The Phils bowed to Providence, 8-2, in the latest season opener in franchise history.

April 19, 1890

Kid Gleason tossed Phillies' first Opening Day shutout, 4-0, over the Giants in New York.

April 19, 1900

The Phils beat the Braves in Boston, 19-17, in 10 innings. This was the highest-scoring opener in National League history. The Braves scored nine in the ninth to send the game into extra innings.

April 11, 1907

Following a heavy snowstorm, the Phillies opened the season against the Giants in New York's Polo Grounds. Groundskeepers shoveled large drifts of snow onto the outer edges of the field in foul territory. After falling behind by three, disappointed Giants fans began hurling snowballs onto the playing field, disrupting play. Fans began rushing the field to continue the snowball fight. After home-plate umpire Bill Klem was hit by a snowball, he called a forfeit in favor of the Phils, 3-0.

April 9, 1913 

In the first NL game played in Brooklyn's Ebbets Field, the Phillies blanked the Dodgers, 1-0, behind Tom Seaton.

April 14, 1914

Center fielder Sherry Magee became first Phils player to homer twice on Opening Day in a 10-1 win over the New York Giants at Baker Bowl. He finished with six RBIs.

April 17, 1923

The Phillies and Dodgers tied in 14 innings, 5-5, in Brooklyn. Two other season openers would go 14 innings -- 1988 and '98.

April 19, 1937

The Phils won two games, 2-1 and 1-0, at Braves Field in Boston, the only time they have played two games on Opening Day. Attendance for the first game was listed as 8,127, while a reported 24,936 were on hand for the second game. Both were day games, as baseball hadn't started playing night games in 1937.

April 19, 1938

Emmett Mueller of the Phillies and Ernie Koy of Brooklyn each hit a home run in their first Major League at-bat in the first inning of a 12-5 Brooklyn victory, the last season opener at Baker Bowl. Attendance was 1,000. The Phils moved permanently to Shibe Park in July.

April 13, 1955

Robin Roberts lost a no-hitter at Connie Mack Stadium when Alvin Dark singled with one out in the ninth inning.

April 8, 1969

Rookie shortstop Don Money went yard twice and drove in five runs, but the Phillies lost their season opener, 7-6, in 11 innings in Chicago's Wrigley Field.

April 7, 1970

Short tied a Major League record with his third Opening Day shutout, 2-0 over the Chicago Cubs in the final Connie Mack Stadium opener. All three of Short's shutouts were 2-0 scores.

April 15, 1972

Steve Carlton made his first start for the Phils and beat the Chicago Cubs, 4-2, at Wrigley Field.

April 6, 1974

Mike Schmidt, batting eighth in the order, hit a walk-off homer off Tug McGraw in a 5-4 win over the New York Mets at Veterans Stadium.

April 7, 1986

Carlton lost, 7-4, to Cincinnati in his club record 14th Opening Day start.

April 4, 2005 

Charlie Manuel made his Phillies managerial debut in an 8-4 win at Citizens Bank Park, the first game for the Washington Nationals, formerly the Montreal Expos.

April 5, 2010

Placido Polanco drove in six runs as Roy Halladay won his Phils debut, 11-1, at Washington.

April 1, 2011

John Mayberry's RBI single capped a three-run ninth as the Phillies rallied for a 5-4 win over the Houston Astros.

April 5, 2012 

Halladay spun a shutout against the Pirates, 1-0, in Pittsburgh. This was the third 1-0 Opening Day win in franchise history.

Larry Shenk is a contributor to
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