Opening Day has always been a blast — and so are these trivia questions

There’s nothing like the anticipation and excitement that a new season brings

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Ernie Banks

FILE - In this 1970 file photo, Chicago Cubs’ Ernie Banks poses. Banks, the two-time MVP who never lost his boundless enthusiasm for baseball despite years of playing on losing Cubs teams, died Friday, Jan. 23, 2015. He was 83.

AP

1. Ernie Banks played for the Cubs from 1953 to 1971. Did he have more Opening Day starts at shortstop or first base?

a. Shortstop b. First base c. The same

2. There will be a designated hitter in the Cubs’ Opening Day lineup this season for the fourth time. Which of these players did not appear as a DH for the Cubs on Opening Day?

a. Ben Zobrist c. Victor Caratini

b. Jorge Soler d. Alfonso Soriano

3. Who was the last pitcher listed as a batter in the White Sox’ starting lineup on Opening Day?

a. Tom Seaver c. Wilbur Wood

b. Steve Stone d. Jaime Navarro

4. Since 1991, other than one season, the Sox have had Frank Thomas, Paul Konerko or Jose Abreu start at first base on Opening Day. A lesser quizmaster would ask you the year that this happened, but not your quizmaster. Other than the big three, who was the first sacker who started on Opening Day?

a. Ed Norton c. Greg Norton

b. Greg Norman d. Robin Ventura

5. Who is the most recent Cubs pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout on Opening Day?

a. Hank Wyse c. Kyle Hendricks

b. Bill Bonham d. Lon Warneke

6. Last season, Yermin Mercedes became the second Sox player to get five hits on Opening Day. Who was the first?

a. Nellie Fox c. Sherm Lollar

b. Harold Baines d. Richie Zisk

7. 1973 brought the designated hitter to the American League. We all know (or you should know) that Ron Blomberg of the Yankees was the first DH to make a game appearance. Who was the Sox’ first DH on Opening Day in 1973?

a. Dick Allen c. Jorge Orta

b. Mike Andrews d. Carlos May

8. Over the last 10 seasons (2012-21), which Chicago player has the most Opening Day hits?

a. Anthony Rizzo c. Yoan Moncada

b. Jose Abreu d. Avisail Garcia

9. Do you panic if the Sox and/or Cubs lose on Opening Day? The Cubs won the World Series in 2016 and the Sox won the World Series in 2005. Did they win their Opening Day games?

a. They both won

b. They both lost

c. The Sox won and the Cubs lost

d. The Cubs won and the Sox lost

Jimmy Rollins, who ended his career with the White Sox, sagely said: ‘‘The good thing about Opening Day, at the end of the day, it counts. It’s in the record.’’

Wishing you a great Opening Day, a great season and a great week. See you next Saturday.

ANSWERS

1. Ernie Banks made nine starts at first base and eight at shortstop.

2. Alfonso Soriano never opened as a DH for the Cubs. Jorge Soler opened as the DH in 2016, Ben Zobrist in 2019 and Victor Caratini in 2020.

3. In the season opener in 1972, Wilbur Wood went 0-for-3 with three strikeouts.

4. On March 31, 1998, Greg Norton went 0-for-3 with two walks at first base. Frank Thomas started as the DH and went 2-for-5 with a pair of doubles. Robin Ventura started at third and homered.

5. You are looking at all the Cubs pitchers with Opening Day blankings. Lon Warneke did it in 1933 and 1934. But our answer is Kyle Hendricks, who shut out the Brewers on three hits on July 24, 2020, in the COVID-shortened season.

6. On April 10, 1959, the Sox beat the Tigers 9-7 in 14 innings. Nellie Fox picked up five of the team’s 17 hits.

7. DH Mike Andrews went 1-for-3 with a double and a walk as Wilbur Wood shut down the Rangers 3-1. Rico Carty was the Rangers’ first DH that day.

8. Anthony Rizzo played in nine openers during that span and had seven hits. Avisail Garcia had seven hits in five openers. Yoan Moncada had seven hits in four openers. That leaves Jose Abreu, who in eight Opening Day games had 10 hits, including two homers and three doubles.

9. In 2005, the Sox defeated the Indians 1-0 behind Mark Buehrle. In 2016, the Cubs defeated the Angels 9-0 behind Jake Arrieta. No matter what happens on Opening Day, I’m always glad there is baseball that counts.

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