Baseball quiz: Starting the season in style

Is there a better way to welcome back baseball than with a quiz about Opening Day? We don’t think so, and the quizmaster is here to do the honors.

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Wrigley Field marquee.

How much do you know about the history of Cubs and White Sox Opening Days?

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Joe DiMaggio said: ‘‘You always get a special kick on Opening Day, no matter how many you go through. You look forward to it like a birthday party when you’re a kid. You think something wonderful is going to happen.’’ I always thought the song ‘‘Wishin’ and Hoping’’ should be played before the start of each season for that very reason. I’m realistic, though. Tommy Lasorda said: ‘‘No matter how good you are, you’re going to lose one-third of your games. No matter how bad you are, you’re going to win one-third of your games. It’s the other third that makes the difference.’’ In 122 Opening Days since 1901, the White Sox are 62-60 (.508) and the Cubs are 63-57-2 (.525). In the last 10 seasons (2013-22), the Cubs are 6-4 and the White Sox are 4-6. Does it matter how you do on Opening Day? Hall of Fame pitcher Early Wynn said: ‘‘An opener is not like any other game. There’s that little extra excitement, a faster beating of the heart. ... You know that when you win the first one, you can’t lose ’em all.’’ Have fun and learn a lot on this special quiz. Here’s to not losing them all.

1. Which pitcher in White Sox history has the most victories on Opening Day?

a. Billy Pierce

b. Mark Buehrle

c. Chris Sale

d. Jack McDowell

2. Which pitcher in Cubs history has the most losses on Opening Day?

a. Fergie Jenkins

b. Carlos Zambrano

c. Rick Reuschel

d. Rick Sutcliffe

3. These seven White Sox have at least two homers on Opening Day. One of these guys hit three homers. Who was he?

a. Alejandro De Aza

b. Geovany Soto

c. Jim Thome

d. Matt Davidson

e. Minnie Miñoso

f. Sammy Sosa

g. Tim Anderson

4. Who had the most hits in his Cubs career on Opening Day?

a. Gabby Hartnett

b. Ernie Banks

c. Stan Hack

d. Mark Grace

5. Which White Sox player had the longest Opening Day hitting streak?

a. Frank Thomas

b. Ray Schalk

c. Harold Baines

d. Jose Abreu

6. Since 1901, who has the better home record on Opening Day?

a. Cubs

b. White Sox

c. The same

7. Which Chicago pitcher had the most Opening Day starts?

a. Billy Pierce

b. Fergie Jenkins

c. Carlos Zambrano

d. Mark Buehrle

8. Of the following four players, who had the highest batting average on Chicago Opening Days?

a. Ron Santo — 13 Opening Day games

b. Ryne Sandberg — 14 Opening Day games

c. Nellie Fox — 14 Opening Day games

d. Paul Konerko — 15 Opening Day games

9. The Cubs and the White Sox each have played four games on Opening Day that have ended in walk-offs. Which team has the better record?

a. Cubs

b. White Sox

c. The same

When asked about the offseason, Rogers Hornsby said: ‘‘People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do: I stare out the window and wait for spring.’’ When I’m asked, I say: ‘‘I do the same thing I do during the season. I write quizzes for Sports Saturday in the Chicago Sun-Times.’’ See you every Saturday this season. Have a great season of Chicago baseball.

ANSWERS

1. Buehrle went 4-1 on Opening Day. The other three pitchers each had three victories.

2. Reuschel is the leader (or is it loser?) of the pack. He was 0-4 with a 4.56 ERA on Opening Day for the Cubs.

3. On March 29, 2018, Anderson homered twice. In that same game, Davidson homered three times to take the honors. BTW: On Opening Day in 1960, Miñoso became the first Sox player to homer twice.

4. Grace had 16 hits, Hack had 17 hits, Banks had 19 hits and Hartnett had 21 hits. Gabby really had something to talk about.

5. From 1994 to 2004, Thomas had a hit every Opening Day. He totaled 18 hits in his 11-game hitting streak in openers.

6. It doesn’t take much to make me happy. All I need to do is find that the home record for both the Cubs and Sox on Opening Day is 27-25 (.519). The Cubs played one tie in 1965.

7. Jenkins opened seven times for the Cubs, but Chicago honors go to Buehrle and his nine Opening Day starts.

8. Santo hit .224, Sandberg hit .255, Fox hit .333 and Konerko hit .357.

9. In 1996, the Cubs beat the Padres on a walk-off hit by Sandberg. Since then, they have lost in walk-off fashion on Opening Day in 2002, 2014 and 2017. In 1978, the White Sox beat the Red Sox on a walk-off hit by Wayne Nordhagen. Since then, they have lost in walk-off fashion on Opening Day in 1996, 2004 and 2022. Each team is 1-3 on Opening Day walk-offs.

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