- Jayson Stark, Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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Fasten those seatbelts. It's time for a Game 1 edition of the World Series Useless Information Department:
On a night when he filled up that error column, Manny Ramirez needs a little good news. Doesn't he? So here it is: He drove in a run. Two of them, in fact.
That would be two more than he drove in during the entire seven-game ALCS, as you may have heard someplace. Ramirez, naturally, didn't go seven games without an RBI at any point during the regular season. His last streak of seven games without an RBI was July 27-Aug. 3, 2003.
Then again, it isn't easy to find any 100-RBI man who went RBI-less through an entire seven-game postseason series. In fact, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other guy to do it was the great Barry Bonds, during the 1991 NLCS.
The only player in history to drive in as many runs in a season as Ramirez (130) and then drive in zero in a postseason series of any length was Harmon Killebrew, in a three-game series against the Orioles in the 1969 ALCS.
And the only other Red Sox players to start every game of a seven-game series in the third, fourth or fifth hole and not knock in a run were George Scott, in the 1967 World Series, and Jim Rice, in the 1986 World Series.
You don't find many Game 1 World Series starters like Tim Wakefield. And not just because he's a knuckleballer.
For one thing, Wakefield hadn't started any games in the Division Series or ALCS. And since the playoffs expanded in 1995, not one team started a pitcher in Game 1 who hadn't started a game in either of the first two rounds.
And even back in the old two-round era, from 1969-1993, only three pitchers started a Series opener after not making an LCS start, according to the Elias Sports Bureau: Bob Walk for the 1980 Phillies, Bruce Kison for the 1979 Pirates and Doyle Alexander for the 1976 Yankees.
But let us not forget. Wakefield always travels with his own tag team. His designated catcher, Doug Mirabelli, also hadn't started any games this postseason. The only other time in the division-play era that an entire battery started Game 1 after having started no other games in the postseason: 1979, featuring Kison and his personal catcher, Steve Nicosia.
To find Wakefield's last start on your home radar screen, you had to go all the way back to Oct. 1, the final Friday of the regular season. Not surprisingly, that 22-day gap between starts was the longest for any Game 1 starter in the last half-century.
The last man to start a Series opener after going more than three weeks between starts, according to Elias, was Jim Konstanty, the closer for the 1950 Phillies. Konstanty sure topped Wakefield -- because he was making his first start in four years. Phillies ace Robin Roberts was slightly unavailable -- since he'd just started three of the last five games of the regular season.
Incidentally, Wakefield was believed to be the first pure knuckleballer to start any World Series game since World War II. The Niekro brothers, Charlie Hough, Tom Candiotti, Wilbur Wood and Hoyt Wilhelm combined for zero World Series starts.
Meanwhile, the Cardinals' Game 1 starter, Woody Williams, should have had that Game 1 routine down cold by the time this game rolled around. Williams started and won Game 1 of the Division Series and the LCS this year.
This was the 10th season of three-tiered playoffs. And in the previous nine, according to Elias, only four other pitchers started Game 1 of all three rounds: John Smolz (1996 Braves), David Wells (1998 Yankees), Orlando Hernandez (1999 Yankees) and Greg Maddux (1999 Braves).
Just Smoltz and Wells won all three starts.
But instead of joining that club with Smoltz and Wells, Williams joined a slightly less prestigious group -- of pitchers who gave up four runs or more in the first inning of the first game of a World Series. The others:
Bruce Kison of the 1979 Pirates (five to the Orioles); Carl Erskine of the 1953 Dodgers (four to the Yankees); Hal Newhouser of the 1945 Tigers (four to the Cubs); Cy Young of the 1903 Red Sox (four to the Pirates).
The Red Sox had played in nine previous World Series -- and never scored in the first inning of any of them. But they did give up four in the first inning of the first World Series ever played, with Cy Young on the hill.
The last time the Red Sox were in the World Series, in 1986, they came to bat in 63 innings -- and didn't have a four-run inning in any of them. The last four-run World Series inning by a Red Sox team: a five-run fourth off Fred Norman and Pedro Borbon Sr. in Game 4 of the 1975 World Series.
Maybe the most amazing aspect of having Williams start Game 1 of all three series is that he was the rotation's fifth-leading winner. Last time a team's No. 5 starter (in wins) started Game 1 of a World Series, according to Elias: Joe Magrane, for the 1987 Cardinals.
In Williams' last postseason start -- Game 5 of the NLCS -- he gave up one hit in seven innings. In this game, naturally, he gave up a hit to the first batter he faced.
It probably should have been no surprise that these two teams found it impossible to even stage a 1-2-3 inning. They each led their league in runs scored. It's only the sixth time in the last 50 years, according to Elias, that the World Series matched each league's leader in runs. Last time: 1975 (Reds-Red Sox).
The Detroit Free Press' John Lowe reports that the 12 runs scored in the first 3½ innings of Game 1 were the most in the first 3½ innings of any World Series. Previous high: eight, all by the Braves, over the Yankees in Game 1 of the 1996 Series.
David Ortiz was the second Red Sox player to homer in his first World Series at-bat -- but the first position player. The other guy to do it was pitcher Jose Santiago, who homered off Bob Gibson in Game 1 of the 1967 Series.
Larry Walker was just the second Canadian ever to homer in a World Series. There isn't much videotape available of the first -- because it was thumped in 1936, by the Yankees' George Selkirk (of Huntsville, Ontario).
Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.
The World Series opener provided plenty of useless fodder for the information department.