The World Series champion Astros opened their 2018 season on the road on Thursday, which meant the first batter of the season was going to be George Springer, leadoff crusher of baseballs. Sure enough, he let loose off Rangers starter Cole Hamels and immediately gave the champs a 1-0 lead.
As noted in the highlight, Springer also led off the season last year for the Astros (at home, so the bottom of the first) with a home run. That means he's the first player in MLB history to lead off consecutive seasons with a home run.
There's more, though.
Remember, Springer was the World Series MVP, thanks in part to five home runs. He homered in Games 4, 5, 6 and 7 of the World Series, so this marked the fifth straight game in which Springer has gone yard. He also hit one in Game 2, so it's six of his last seven games with a longball. Sadly, none of those World Series home runs were of the leadoff variety, but it's still a cool factoid.
Last season, Springer led off the game with a home run nine times, tying him for seventh all-time. The record is 13 (Alfonso Soriano, 2003).
For career, Springer has a bit to go to climb the leaderboard. The home run Thursday was his 19th career leadoff shot, tying him for 38th all-time.
Here's the top five:
- Rickey Henderson, 81
- Alfonso Soriano, 54
- Craig Biggio, 53
- Ian Kinsler, 46
- Jimmy Rollins, 46
Of course, this was only Springer's 300th time leading off a regular-season game and he's 28 years old. Henderson led off 2,875 games, though Soriano's number is pretty impressive with just 768 games leading off.
Look for Springer to continue climbing the list, especially if he's able to stay in such a zone that he's apparently carried from the World Series into Opening Day.