Stats & Info: Hank Aaron

Opening Day's First Pitch

March, 31, 2011
Today’s Trivia: Former top picks Luke Hochevar and David Price will start on Opening Day for the first time in their respective careers. Who was the last No. 1 overall draft pick to start on Opening Day?

Quick Hits: A quick look at some Opening Day longevity.

* Jorge Posada will start his 12th straight opener in pinstripes. That’s the most by a New York Yankee since Willie Randolph suited up for 14 in a row.

* Derek Jeter will make his 10th straight Opening Day start at shortstop for the Yankees, passing Phil Rizzuto's nine-game streak from 1947 to 1955.

Chipper Jones
* Chipper Jones is making his 15th straight Opening Day start for the Atlanta Braves, the longest current stretch with one team. That’s the longest streak by a Brave since Eddie Mathews also started 15 in a row. Hank Aaron started 20 of 21 openers while with the Braves, but that was divided into streaks of nine and 11.

* Make it 11 straight openers where Albert Pujols will be penciled into the St. Louis Cardinals lineup, the longest streak for the franchise since Lou Brock started 15 in a row.

* Alex Gordon will be the Kansas City Royals 12th consecutive different Opening Day starter in left field. Johnny Damon is the most recent Royal to start back-to-back Opening Days there, in 1999 and 2000.

* The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim's Howard Kendrick will start on Opening Day for the fifth straight year. The only Angels second baseman with a longer streak of Opening Day starts is Bobby Knoop, who was in seven straight opening lineups from 1964 to 1969.

* Aaron Harang signed with the San Diego Padres in the offseason, meaning that he will not be the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day starter for the first time since 2005. Edinson Volquez will get the nod, ending Harang's five-season streak, which matches Mario Soto and Pete Donohue for the longest Reds stretch since 1920.

* Ryan Ludwick will be the Padres’ 20th different starter in left in the past 24 years. The last player to start three straight openers in left was Gene Richards (1980-83). Meanwhile, Cameron Maybin will make it nine straight years with a different Opening Day centerfielder.

* For the second straight year, there’s a complete overhaul to the Washington Nationals outfield. The last time the franchise repeated an Opening Day outfield was 1993-94: Moises Alou, Marquis Grissom, Larry Walker.

Trivia Answer: Paul Wilson started the opener for the Reds in 2005, though he lasted only eight more games in the big leagues. Before that, Kris Benson got the Opening Day start for the Pirates in 2003.

Alex Rodriguez sly like a Foxx

September, 29, 2010
RODRIGUEZWhen Alex Rodriguez went on the DL August 21 with a left calf strain, it seemed like his streak of 30 home runs and 100 RBI seasons would end at 12 straight. Upon his return September 5th, the New York Yankees slugger needed just three RBI to reach 100 RBI, but he had to hit nine HR to reach 30.

That seemed like a daunting task when you consider Rodriguez's track record. The last time he hit at least nine home runs from September 5th through the end of the regular season was in 2002. While with the Texas Rangers, he hit nine HR from that point on to finish the year with a career-high 57 HR.

But Rodriguez would go on a tear down the stretch this season, culminating with Wednesday's home run against the Toronto Blue Jays, which gave him nine since his return from the DL and 30 for the season. He became the first player since RBI became an official statistic in 1920 to have 13 straight seasons with at least 30 HR and 100 RBI, passing Hall of Famer Jimmie Foxx.

It's the 14th season in which Rodriguez has hit at least 30 HR, one year shy of Hank Aaron's MLB record in that department. His 13 straight seasons of 30 HR alone is tied with Barry Bonds for the most all-time.

Elsewhere in MLB:

• With three home runs Wednesday, the Blue Jays set a single-season team record for home runs with 247. That total is good for fifth in MLB history. Their 146 home runs at Rogers Centre are the third-most at a home ballpark, trailing only the 2005 Texas Rangers (153) and 1996 Colorado Rockies (149).

Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz collected his 1,000th career RBI as a designated hitter. Ortiz is the second player in MLB history to reach the 1,000 RBI mark as a DH, trailing only Edgar Martinez (1,003).

Derek Lowe improved to 5-0 this month with a 5-1 win over the Florida Marlins. Lowe is the first Atlanta Braves pitcher to go 5-0 in September since Dave Jolly in 1954.

Kevin Millwood improved to 4-16 as he helped the Baltimore Orioles shut out the Tampa Bay Rays 2-0. Millwood allowed a season-low one hit against his fastball and the Rays missed his slider 40 percent of the time, the best rate this year for the veteran.

The day in home runs: Met Killer

August, 2, 2010
Chipper Jones loved hitting in Shea Stadium so much that he named one of his sons Shea. Well, he's also had more than his share of his success against the Mets at Citi Field, Fulton County Stadium and - as he again proved Monday - Turner Field.

Jones hit his 43rd career home run against the Mets, passing Pat Burrell for 5th-most all-time. He trails only Hall of Famers Willie Stargell (60), Mike Schmidt (49), Willie McCovey (48) and Hank Aaron (45).

It was also Jones' 434th career homer, tying Juan Gonzalez for 37th on the all-time list.

Vernon Wells' home run off A.J. Burnett in the second inning of Monday's game at the Yankees was the second-shortest homer in MLB this season (324 feet down the right field line). The only homer that was shorter than Wells' was a 321-foot shot by Mark Teixeira on June 15 off Roy Halladay, also down the right field line at Yankee Stadium. Wells' shot would have been a home run only at Yankee Stadium and Fenway Park.

Albert Pujols homered for the third consecutive game, the first time he's accomplished that feat in 2010.

And now the daily Alex Rodriguez update:

A-Rod has gone 43 at-bats since his last home run (No. 599 on July 22). The Elias Sports Bureau tells us that is tied for the 13th-longest drought since Rodriguez joined the Yankees in 2004 and is the 30th-longest drought since the start of his MLB career.

Thursday's 1st pitch: Like night and day

April, 8, 2010
Today’s Trivia: It was 36 years ago today that Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run, surpassing Babe Ruth’s career total. Who was the opposing pitcher that gave up the historic home run?

Quick Hits
* Bronson Arroyo heads into his today’s start looking for his 14th straight quality start dating back to last July. According to Elias, his streak matches the longest by a Reds pitcher since Jose Rijo recorded 15 consecutive quality starts in 1993. Arroyo has posted only a 5-4 record during his streak.

* Random Fact: The Tigers have only had one player named Woods. Outfielder Ron Woods debuted for the Tigers in 1969, playing 17 games before getting dealt to the Yankees.

* From the Elias Sports Bureau: Garrett Jones and Vernon Wells share the major-league lead (with Placido Polanco) with six RBIs this season. Jones and Wells had three RBIs in each of their team's first two games and each is in position to set a major-league record today. No player has ever had three or more RBIs in each of his team's first three games of a season. (RBIs have been officially recorded in the major leagues since 1920.)

Today’s Leaderboard: Brian Bannister takes the hill today for the Royals, and it’s the fact that it’s a day game that’s key. Bannister holds one of the stranger day/night splits. In his career, he is 17-8 in day games compared to 13-30 at night. Meanwhile, C.J. Wilson, making his first start since 2005 this afternoon, is just 2-8 in day games. Bannister’s 17-8 mark is impressive given his struggles otherwise, but it’s just the 8th best among active pitchers (min. 20 decisions). Jered Weaver is 17-4 in his career in day games. Next on the list is Gavin Floyd at 18-5. Floyd draws a night game tonight. He is just 18-24 in those.

Key Matchups: Joe Mauer is welcoming Joel Pineiro back to the American League with open arms. The reigning AL MVP is 13-for-18 (.722) in his career against the Angels starter. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, there is only one active batter-pitcher matchup with at least 15 at-bats that has produced a higher batting average. Magglio Ordonez is 12-for-15 (.800) against Chad Durbin.

Matt Wieters hasn’t been around long enough to say that he owns a pitcher. That said, his limited track record against Jeff Niemann suggests just that. Wieters is 5-7 in his career against Niemann. Throw in a walk, and Wieters has a .750 on-base percentage in 8 plate appearances. Wieters’ 5 hits and 3 RBI against Niemann are tied for his most against any pitcher.

Trivia Answer: Dodgers pitcher Al Downing is probably best known for giving up Aaron’s 715th home run. However, he may prefer you remember his accomplishment on August 11, 1967. Facing the Yankees in the bottom of the 2nd, Downing struck out the side on 9 pitches, something that has only been accomplished 40 times.