Happy Opening Day, everyone! Opening Day is glorious in its possibilities. First place is within grasp. The season could unfold in almost any way you can imagine, and so many other ways that you can't. Within that matrix, there are surely some scenarios that lead to a thoroughly satisfying baseball season. And, as of right now, they are all still within reach. The key is getting off to a good start. It's like running your local 5-k. If you want to win, you just follow an easy two part strategy:
a) Get out in front
b) Don't let anybody pass you
Unfortunately, this strategy, simple in its presentation, generally proves much more difficult and painful in its execution.
Nonetheless, the key is to get off to a good start. If you get off to a good start, everything else is a little bit easier. In a baseball game, the key is a good starting pitcher. That leads us to the first of the two trivia questions for opening day...
Probably the best way to get off to a good start is to have a dominant starting pitcher on the mound, a Hall of Fame type of talent. It seems like a lot to ask for, like it should be a fairly uncommon circumstance.
Consider the 30 franchises. Some have been around since 1876, like the Braves - they've moved from Boston to Milwaukee to Atlanta, but that's been the same franchise the whole time. Name the four franchises that have the highest percentage of games started by a pitcher who is currently in the Hall of Fame, and what that percentage is (within 1% either way). (Edit for clarity: That is, add up all games started for that franchise by any and all pitchers who are in the Hall of Fame, and divide by the total games played by that franchise.)
1. Giants (NY-SF): 16.9%
2. Yankees (BAL-NY): 13.2%
3. Braves (BSN-MIL-ATL): 12.7%
4. Indians (CLE): 12.6%
If you can't get that dominant starting pitcher on the mound, the next most heartening thing to happen for a fan is to have the 'next big thing' on the team. Someone young, immensely talented, and full of possibilities and potential that makes you dream of the good things to come. Since 1970, there have been 8 players who have had a season at the major league level where they were 20 or younger (seasonal age - that is, they didn't turn 21 until after June 30 of the season) and amassed at least 200 total bases. They were going to be the next big thing. Who were they?
1. Jason Heyward, 2010, 237
2. Alex Rodriguez, 1996, 379
3. Ken Griffey Jr, 1990, 287
4. Robin Yount, 1975, 205
5. Roberto Alomar, 1988, 208
6. Adrian Beltre, 1999, 230
7. Cesar Cedeno, 1971, 243
8. Claudell Washington, 1975, 250