Just to get you ready for Opening Day, this the beginning of a few articles about the Dodger's Opening Day lineups over the past 30 years. Why 30 years, well for one, it marked the end of the long-running 1970s team (the infield's last Opening Day together was in 1981). Also, you can start to see the era of the Dodgers moving away from their farm system to having primarily players acquired from trades or free agency.
This will be the first year for Clayton Kershaw and A.J. Ellis to get the call on Opening Day, they are few seasons behind the leaders since 1982 but they are also the first pair of Dodger farm system products to be the pitcher and catcher since 1998 when a couple of familiar names that you will see below made their last appearance together on Opening Day.
Today's note is about the pitching/catching duo that had started together the most since 1982. There are two sets of teammates that top that list:
Fernando Valenzuela and Mike Scioscia started 4 Opening Days in 5 seasons (1984-1986 and 1988) and Ramon Martinez and Mike Piazza started 4 consecutive seasons (1995-1998). Not surprising, Fernando and Ramon lead the starting pitchers in making LA Opening Day starts since 1982 with 5 apiece while Scioscia (9 starts) and Piazza (6 starts) are first and second in LA catcher starts. Overall, Mike Scioscia has the most LA Opening Day starts at catcher at 10 and a pair of Dons, Drysdale and Sutton, lead the pitchers with 7 each.
One other thing, through 1998, three catching stalwarts made Opening Days starts since 1982 for the Dodgers, Steve Yeager, Mike Scioscia, and Mike Piazza. Since then, A.J. Ellis will be the 8th different catcher to start Opening Day for the Dodgers, the other 7 were Todd Hundley, Chad Kreuter, Paul Lo Duca, Jason Phillips, Sandy Alomar Jr, Russell Martin, and Rod Barajas.