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Opening Day Duels

Posted by Steve Lombardi on February 25, 2011

I was just messing around with Play Index' Game Finder and found these two great "Opening Day" pitcher's duels.

Rk Player Date 5 Tm Opp Rslt App,Dec IP H R ER BB SO HR Pit Str GSc IR IS BF AB 2B 3B IBB HBP SH SF GDP SB CS PO BK WP ERA WPA RE24 aLI
4 Eddie Rommel 1926-04-13 PHA WSH L 0-1   14.1 9 1 1 6 1 0     86     58 49 1 0   0 3           0 0 0.63      
5 Walter Johnson 1926-04-13 WSH PHA W 1-0   15.0 6 0 0 3 9 0     111     54 47 1 0   0 4           0 0 0.00      
39 Jon Matlack 1980-04-10 TEX NYY W 1-0 GS-9 9.0 3 0 0 0 5 0     86     30 30 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.677 4.379 1.129
40 Ron Guidry 1980-04-10 NYY TEX L 0-1 GS-9 9.0 2 0 0 0 4 0     87     29 29 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0.00 0.677 4.379 1.212
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/25/2011.


Has it really been since 1980 that we last saw one of these? Then again, the one before that came in 1926...

So, file these two games under: You don't see that every "Opening Day."

25 Responses to “Opening Day Duels”

  1. jnolan33177 Says:

    Thats insane!! The Philadelpia A's and Washington game they both pitched into the 14th - 15th innings!!! Thats unreal, and its the way it should be done. Rarely do you see a pitcher, that does this anymore. What a shame that sports are going so soft, and so much about the dollar!! Football used to have two way players, baseball had iron men. Now we have agents in the way and greed. Thank god for the ones who still play it the right way!! Roy Halladay. Cliff Lee, Chase Utley Placido Polanco are a few from my team that do!!! Who does on your team???

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    If the guys on my team won't pitch into the 15th inning, even when the game ends after 9, I don't want 'em. Bunch of pampered babies.

  3. Dave Says:

    I don't get what we're looking at exactly but what about the April 21, 1943 cardinals/reds game?
    Would that fit?

  4. Doug Says:

    Here's a good one from 1965:

    Bob Veale over Juan Marichal 1-0 in 10 innings. Both pitchers went the distance. Bob Bailey hit a walk-off homer.

  5. Doug Says:

    This one from 1972 was almost great:

    Andy Messersmith beat Dick Bosman 1-0. Bosman walked two in the 9th (his only walks of the game) and was replaced by Paul Lindblad who delivered a "walk-off" wild pitch to his first batter, allowing the winning run to score.

  6. Whiz Says:

    @3, Steve used Game Score as a qualifier on his search. I did a slightly different search, emphasizing a close game: IP >= 8, R <= 1 where the pitcher's team lost in the first game of the season. This gave a list of 21 such games since 1920 (sorted by Game Score). The 1-0 games on this list might qualify as opening day duels, although not all of them were tied 0-0 until late in the game.

    Steve's two games are near the top, and Dave's is #8. Curt Shilling pitched better than his opponents, but left after 8 IP and his bullpen gave it up in the 14th. #5 on the list, Marichal in 1965, gave up a HR in the 10th, the only run in the game, losing to Bob Veale (who had a Game Score of 95).

  7. Whiz Says:

    Hah, Doug posted while I was composing mine. His two games are #5 and #11 on my list -- both good examples.

  8. Doug Says:

    From 1977:

    Bert Blyleven over Jim Palmer 2-1 in 10 innings. Both pitchers went the distance.

  9. panrell Says:

    If you look at the play by play for the Yanks-Rangers game the winning run scored without the ball leaving the infield. Ouch.

  10. Larry R. Says:

    You were apparently searching by game score and consequently missed some beauties. How about Feller's no-no in 1940?

    Another 1-0 affair. It's the only time in MLB history that a team had a collective BA of.000.

  11. Mark Says:

    Ahhh, one of Walter Johnson's many 1-0 losses 🙁

  12. mccombe35 Says:

    This made me think of the White Sox / Indians opening day 2005

    check it out:

  13. Doug Says:

    This one was a real "cat fight":

    Mudcat Grant over Catfish Hunter 2-1. Both went the distance, with a walk-off hit deciding it.

  14. Doug Says:

    I see there were actually two good duels on opening day 1972, @5 above and also this one:

    Dick Drago and Wilbur Wood both went 9 innings, each allowing 1 run and only 1 walk. John Mayberry won it for the Royals 2-1, with a walk-off RBI single in the 11th.

    Seems that fans were not too impressed with the player walkout that delayed the season start by a week. Opening day attendance in KC was under 9,000, and less than 14,000 showed up in Anaheim @5.

  15. Jimbo Says:

    Pitchers used to throw tons of innings, yes, but very few of them lasted more than a couple of years doing it.

  16. Doug Says:

    Another notable thing about #14. The game was scoreless through 8. Dick Allen homered in the top of the 9th, and Bob Oliver replied in kind in the home half, setting the stage for Mayberry's heroics in the 11th.

  17. birtelcom Says:

    The most recent Opening Day game in which both starters pitched complete games with Game Scores of at least 70 was 1975, Hall of Famer Seaver over Hall of Famer Carlton in a 2-1 game in which future Hall-of-Famer Joe Torre had a walkoff single for the Mets. That was one of 11 Opening Day starts by Seaver that his team won -- the most starts for a winning O.D. team by any pitcher since at least 1920 -- and one of 10 Opening Day starts by Carlton that his team lost -- the most starts for a losing O.D. team by any pitcher since at least 1920. Seaver and Carlton dueled each other on Opening Days five times (1973, 1974, 1975, 1981, 1983) with Seaver's team winning four. It would have been five for five for Seaver's teams, but in '74 Tug McGraw was pitching to preserve a one-run lead with one out in the bottom of the ninth when Mike Schmidt hit a two-run walkoff homer.

  18. Pat Lynch Says:

    I love baseball. Baseball is my escape from the bull shit that surrounds all of us, and when I click on Baseball-Reference the last thing I want to see is that fat bitchy pig Rosanne Barr looking at me. I understand guys that this is a business, but don't be tone deaf to who it is your customers are. Our everyday lives are chalk full of big mouth bitches that know everything. From the ladies at work, to the bitch at the DMV, to the pig at the bank, or that cunt at the child support office. Sadly some of your customers are married to a big mouth bitchy cunt like Rosanne, and those guys are the ones that really need the escape. I wanted to mention that it's not just women now days that are big mouth bitchy cunts, there are a lot of men out there that have lost their masculinity and look, speak, and act like a bitch, and if you've ever been trapped in an office for 8 hours with one of these 2 ball bitch queens that are popping up more and more around the country then you'll understand. No, I'm not talking about homosexuals, many of these 2 ball pussies are married, but about 5 or 6 years ago they started to walk like a woman, and they have bubble butts and they sashay when they walk and they are married to Rosanne Barr types and they brag about their wives. And don't call me a woman hater, put a picture of Sarah Palin with a Snickers bar, or a picture of Charo's big tits holding a Snickers bar, or maybe the girl from Dukes of Hazzard, but not Ellen from the Ellen show. Please do us a huge favor and get rid of the stupid bitch Rosanne Snickers ad on the home page.

  19. Soundbounder Says:

    I remember this one: Orioles 1 Red Sox 0 1976, Palmer vs Jenkins
    Orioles scored on an error.

    That game along with the Seaver-Carlton duels are the best opening day pitching contests I remember.

    Are you for real?

  20. Dr. Doom Says:

    @18, Pat Lynch.

    I have to write something before your comment gets taken down (which I pray will be soon). That's disgusting and rude. Please do not post comments like that in the future (including the one on the next blog post). That kind of language is completely inappropriate, and unwelcome here.

  21. Pat Lynch Says:

    I'm just trying to help.

  22. Bob Says:

    Check this out:
    Les Sweetland of the 1930 Phillies beat Brooklyn 1-0 on three hits on opening day. He went on to record a 7.71 ERA for the season.

  23. MClark Says:

    Please count me as another reader with no use for the kind of language used in post #18.

  24. RichW Says:

    Re post 18.

    Count me in with those who don't appreciate those comment either.

  25. Brendan Says:


    No. Anyway, there are some good games in there.