"April is the cruellest month, breeding lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain."
- T.S. Eliot
As opening day approaches, I'd like to take a brief look back at how the team has historically fared during the first month of the season. Subsequent years will be analyzed in groups of at least two or three, but the team's inaugural April will have a post all unto itself.
Record: 54-107 (.335)
April Record: 10-11 (.476)
Opening Day Starter: Bill Singer
Opening Day Lineup:
If some of those players seem foreign to you, you're not alone. Most of these guys were fringe major leaguers whose careers were lengthened as a result of the expansion process. For instance, consider the totals they posted during the 1977 season (be forewarned: it may cause nausea and an upset stomach):
Of the team's nine starters, only one, Otto Velez, had an above-average season, or anything remotely close to one for that matter. Luckily, excluding Doug Alt, the others didn't receive regular playing time throughout the season. I'd have to double check it with a baseball historian, but that could be the worst opening day lineup of all time.
During the inaugural month of their inaugural season, the Blue Jays turned a lot of heads with their strong performance. After all, expansion teams have historically fared dreadfully poorly during their first few seasons. But like those expansion teams before and after them, the Blue Jays played to expectations following their strong April, ultimately finishing with 107 losses.
On the pitching side, the team possessed some talented starters. Jerry Garvin and Dave Lemanczyk provided league-average numbers and plenty of innings in 1977. In April alone, the two of them combined for five complete games. In the bullpen, Pete Vuckovich amassed eight saves, which were suprisingly enough to lead the team in that category. Nowadays, it's almost unheard of for a team to not have a pitcher with at least a double-digits save total.
A special thanks to retrosheet.org, to whom many baseball fans everywhere are indebted.