It is axiomatic that the team that scores first has the better chance of winning; in fact, teams that scored in the first inning had won 62% of those games at week's end. With that as a given, we decided to check out which teams score most often in the first inning.
You'd think that Toronto would be tops in that department, right? The Fab Five at the top of the Blue Jay order had figured to be the best even before the team picked up Rickey Henderson from the A's. And if not the Jays, then how about the team leading the majors in both batting average and home runs, the born-again Bronx Bombers?
Well, neither of those teams is in the top five. The major leagues' most potent first-inning team is the White Sox. As of Sunday they had scored 102 first-inning runs in 110 games and had a shot at becoming the first team since the '50 Red Sox to average one first-inning run per game.
Everybody at the top of the White Sox lineup has contributed: At week's end leadoff man Tim Raines had a first-inning batting average of .389, Joey Cora had scored 21 runs, Frank Thomas had hit 10 homers (no other player had more than seven) and driven in 25 runs, and sometimes cleanup hitter Robin Ventura was batting a major league-high .511 (23 for 45) with 22 RBIs.