Saturday, April 4, 2015

Most Consecutive Seasons with a Different Opening Day Starter: Designated Hitter

The series finishes today (SPC1B2BSS, 3B, LF, CF, RF, DH) as we look at teams that had long stretches with a different Opening Day designated hitter:

X different Opening Day Starting Designated Hitter in X Seasons (since 1914)

Tigers 13 1992-2004
Orioles 12 2003-2014
Angels             (11?) 10 2003-12 **
Devil Rays 10 2000-09
Blue Jays 10 1984-93
Rangers 9 2003-11
Tigers 9 1983-91
Rangers 9 1977-85
White Sox 9 1973-81

Baseball-Reference takes us back until 1914 and while Retrosheet provides starting pitchers in their game logs, it doesn't have that for other positions.

The final names on the top two lists are the Young brothers, Dmitri and Delmon. Baltimore's streak is still active, hopefully someone other than Young or Steve Pearce starts at DH this week to extend it to 13.

The 10-year streak by the Angels is unusual and could still be considered active. From 2003-12, they ran out Brad Fullmer, Tim Salmon, Jeff DaVanon, Garret Anderson, Shea Hillenbrand, Gary Matthews, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu and Kendrys Morales. With the 2013 realignment that forced year-round interleague play, the Halos opened the season in Cincinnati and did not use a DH. Playing under A.L. rules once again in the 2014 opener, they started Raul Ibanez for an 11th straight different starter. So they had a 10-year streak interrupted by a game at a National League park, but they still picked up where they left off last year. If you want to consider the streak an active one, go right ahead. 

Here's the full list of DH's from the teams shown above. Some interesting names here include a not-your-typical-DH Bip Roberts, the delightfully-named John Wockenfuss and the post-1933 player with the highest WAR that never made an All-Star team, Tony Phillips.

Tigers 13 1992-2004 Tony Phillips, Kirk Gibson, Junior Felix, Juan Samuel, Eddie Williams, Bubba Trammell, Bip Roberts, Gregg Jefferies, Juan Gonzalez
Billy McMillon, Robert Fick, Dean Palmer, Dmitri Young
Orioles 12 2003-2014 Marty Cordova, David Segui, Jay Gibbons, Javy Lopez, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff, Ty Wigginton, Luke Scott, Vladimir Guerrero
Wilson Betemit, Steve Pearce, Delmon Young
Angels 10 2003-12 ** Brad Fullmer, Tim Salmon, Jeff DaVanon, Garret Anderson, Shea Hillenbrand, Gary Matthews, Vladimir Guerrero, Hideki Matsui, Bobby Abreu, Kendrys Morales
Devil Rays 10 2000-09 Jose Canseco, Steve Cox, Greg Vaughn, Al Martin, Aubrey Huff, Josh Phelps, Jonny Gomes, Rocco Baldelli, Cliff Floyd, Pat Burrell
Blue Jays 10 1984-93 Cliff Johnson, Jeff Burroughs, Cecil Fielder, Fred McGriff, George Bell, Nelson Liriano, John Olerud, Rance Mulliniks, Dave Winfield, Paul Molitor
Rangers 9 2003-11 Ruben Sierra, Brad Fullmer, David Dellucci, Phil Nevin, Frank Catalanotto, Milton Bradley, Hank Blalock, Vladimir Guerrero, Michael Young
Tigers 9 1983-91 John Wockenfuss, Darrell Evans, Johnny Grubb, Dave Collins, Terry Harper, Matt Nokes, Pat Sheridan, Dave Bergman, Tony Phillips
Rangers 9 1977-85 Tom Grieve, Kurt Bevacqua, Oscar Gamble, Richie Zisk, Al Oliver, Mike Richardt, Dave Hostetler, Larry Parrish, Cliff Johnson
White Sox 9 1973-81 Mike Andrews, Ron Santo, Deron Johnson, Cleon Jones, Oscar Gamble, Ron Blomberg, Jorge Orta, Bob Molinaro, Greg Luzinski

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