The Phillies will be playing the Pirates in the fourth different city this spring.  First, it was Clearwater and Bradenton and then Philly the last two nights.

Now, the 2012 season officially gets underway on Thursday afterenoon in Pittsburgh’s PCN Park, where the Phillies haven’t fared well.  They are 13-22 ay PNC, the fewest wins in any enemy territory.

Well, it doesn’t get any better.  Five times in their 129-year history, the Phillies have played the Pirates on opening day.  The Pirates are 5-0. Yikes.  The Phillies have scored a total of 13 runs.

With Doc on the mound, it’s time to end that winless spell. 

First Ever
The Phillies first season opener was May 1, 1883, a 4-3 loss to the Providence Grays.  Attendance was 12,000.

The initial loss seemed to set the tone as the Phillies have won 58 openers, lost 69 and have had a pair of ties (1923 at Brooklyn, 5-5, 14 innings and 1924 vs. Boston, 6-6, 11 innings.).  With no lights in ballparks back then, it is assumed the games were called ties because of darkness. 

Other Opening Day Notes
**Of the previous 129 openers, 12 have gone extra innings, the most recent, a 10-inning, 5-3 loss to the Braves at Citizens Bank Park in 2007.

**Phillies have won their last two openers which ended losses in four consecutive years. Last time they won more than two in a row was five consecutive (1962-66).  Club record is six in a row (1913-1918).

**On openers played on April 5, the Phillies are 3-4.  Two of the defeats came at the hands of, you guessed it, Pittsburgh.

**Latest season opener for the Phillies was May 2, an 8-2 defeat against Providence in 1885.  We don’t seem to have much luck against Providence and Pittsburgh.

**Hall of Famer Robin Roberts has the most opening day wins for the Phillies, five and most losses, six.

Opening Day Memories
Jim Kaat (LHP, 1976-79)
“Seeing President Eisenhower throw out the ceremonial first ball…he threw it from his box into a crowd of us and coach Clyde McCullough caught it.  That’s one great memory.  Another was in 1965 when I had to be helicoptered into Met Stadium in Bloomington because of floods in the area.  Wound up pitching nine innings against the Yankees, a game we won in 10 innings, 5-4.”

For other Alumni memories of opening day, check out www.phillies.com/alumni.

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