Assuming Travis Hafner is the Tribe’s starting designated hitter on Thursday, it will be a historic day for the long-time Indians slugger.
It will be Hafner’s 9th consecutive Opening Day start at DH, making him just the 6th player in franchise history to start at least nine straight season openers at the same position (at least since 1916. Baseball-Reference goes back to 1918, and I was able to find box scores from the previous two years to verify Tris Speaker’s streak).
If Hafner returns for 2013, he’ll have a chance to tie Edgar Martinez’s MLB record of 10 straight starts at DH for the Mariners from 1995 through 2004.
Prior to Hafner’s arrival in Cleveland, no one started more than three consecutive Opening Days at DH (Andre Thornton, 1982-84).
Aside from Hafner, the next longest active streak belongs to Shin-Soo Choo, who will likely extend his streak in right field to four years.
On the opposite end of the spectrum is the Tribe’s situation in left field, where the Tribe hasn’t started the same player on Opening Day in consecutive years since Matt Lawton in 2003 and 2004.