It’s every pro sports team’s goal to have a franchise player. No matter what sport it is, every team wants that one exemplary player who puts up the best numbers, year in and year out, and gives the fans the consistency they look for in a superstar. In baseball, one of the best ways to judge a player’s consistency is by looking at how many consecutive opening day starts he’s made for the team. Despite some things changing around them, these players remain stalwarts who have the longest active opening day streaks in the MLB at each position.
First Base — Joey Votto, Cincinnati Reds (10)
Over the past decade, Votto has become the face of the Reds. There is no better evidence of that than his 10 consecutive opening day starts in Cincinnati. After starting at first in 2009, Votto never looked back. He’s amassed some great numbers for the Reds over his career with the team — including 269 career home runs and a 2010 MVP award.
Second Base — Jose Altuve, Houston Astros (7)
Any player on this list will have to have achieved some level of superiority at his position to have so much staying power. Altuve, the 2017 AL MVP, is one of the best players on this very accomplished list. With seven consecutive opening day starts as second for the Astros, Altuve has been phenomenal for the team and shows no signs of slowing down despite his injuries last year.
Shortstop — Elvis Andrus, Texas Rangers (9)
Andrus has been a consistent presence in Arlington over the last decade, starting at short on opening day a whopping nine times and working in two All-Star Game appearances during that time frame. Andrus is likely to tack a few more years onto this streak, as his contract runs through 2023.
Third Base — Nolan Arenado, Rockies (5)
The new king of opening day starts at third base is Colorado’s perennial MVP candidate Nolan Arenado. He has five straight starts, and he’ll keep adding to that number provided he stays healthy. Arenado quietly signed a contract extension to stay in Denver in what was one of the best signings of the 2019 offseason.
Seattle’s Kyle Seager had six consecutive opening day starts at the hot corner for Seattle, but his streak ended this year. Due to an injury in spring training, he’ll start the season on the injured list with a hand injury.
Catcher — Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals (14)
Molina has been the Cards starting (and opening day) catcher since 2004. That gives him 14 consecutive opening day starts. There are few players more steadily reliable than Molina at backstop in St. Louis, and the fact that he’s done it at the demanding catcher position is even more impressive.
Left Field — Alex Gordon, Kansas City Royals (8)
Through the high of their championship season in 2015 and the lean rebuilding years that sandwiched it, Alex Gordon has been there for it in Kansas City. He has eight straight opening day starts for Kansas City.
Center Field — Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels (6)
No surprise here — the best player in baseball is on this list. Trout has six consecutive opening day starts in center for the Angels. Now that he’s all but certain to be an Angel for the rest of his career, Trout will most likely keep adding to his total for years to come.
Right Field — Kole Calhoun, Los Angeles Angels (5)
Trout’s teammate in the outfield, Kole Calhoun, has the most active consecutive opening day starts in right field with five. The two of them combine to make one of baseball’s best outfield trios. Calhoun has been dependable if not outstanding. Over his seven-year career with the Angels, he has a reliable .322 on-base percentage.
Pitcher — Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves (5)
Two pitchers with more fanfare and far longer streaks saw their opening day dominance end this season, which is why Teheran takes the top spot.
Seattle’s Felix Hernandez enjoyed one of the longest streaks of consecutive opening day starts for a pitcher with 10 in a row, but that run ended in 2019. The Mariners opened the season in Tokyo with two games against Oakland on March 20 and 21, but Marco Gonzalez started instead of Hernandez.
The Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw had nine consecutive opening day starts, but he’s on the shelf for the 2019 opener, too. So Julio Teheran, who will make his fifth straight opening day start in 2019, is the new active leader.