*April Fool

How about batting Ryan Howard in the leadoff spot?* Over the course of the season, he’d get a lot more at-bats.

The 131st season opener is on tap tonight for the Phillies in Atlanta (ESPN TV). Team left Philly on a 6:30 p.m. Delta charter flight on Sunday.

Playing the Braves on opening day has happened often, 37 times of which 20 came when they were based in Boston. Since moving to Atlanta, seven times (you probably figured that out). Braves are 5-2, winning last three (2002, 2007, 2009). In Atlanta, 2-2.

Cole is the Phillies first LHP to open the season since 2001 when Omar Daal got the call in Larry Bowa’s first game as manager. Phillies won, 6-5, in Florida in 13 innings. Others who pitched for the Phillies, Padilla, Bottalico, Oropesa, Gomes, Mesa and Telemaco, the winner.

Phillies go into today with a three-game winning streak in openers, longest since winning six starting in 1962.

Opening Day Facts#
Most home runs
Mike Schmidt, 5
Chuck Klein and Scott Rolen, 3

Home Runs, First At-Bat
George Wood (1886)
Emmett Mueller (1938), lead-off
Mike Goliat (1951)
Clay Dalrymple (1962)
Tony Longmire, 1995 (pinch hit)
Roy Sievers (1964)
Garry Maddox (1979)
Greg Luzinski (1980)
Mike Schmidt (1984)
Tony Longmire (1995) pinch

Hitting Two Homers
Sherry Magee (1914)
Lefty O’Doul (1929)
Chuck Klein (1931)
Don Money (1969)

Last Homer
Placido Polanco, 2010, a seventh-inning grand slam

Most Wins
Robin Roberts 5
Grover Alexander 4
#This Date in Philadelphia Phillies History by Skip Clayton and Don Bostrom, Camino Books, April 2013 publishing.

*April fool.

This Date
Start of new month means the start of new Phillies phlashbacks. You check out the daily historical notes on http://www.phillies.com/alumni.

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