King for a Day: the Cubs' One-Time Game #1 Starters

As noted here and everywhere else yesterday, Lou Piniella has decided to give Carlos Zambrano the Opening Day assignment at Houston. It will be the fifth time Zambrano has had the honor; the Cubs have gone 2-2 in Z's previous Opening Day outings.

Fergie Jenkins started seven openers for the Cubs, while Rick Sutcliffe started five, and Rick Reuschel, four. The real fun in looking over this list at is noting which Cub pitchers got to go in Game #1 once, but never again. Here are the last ten such Cub pitchers:


Final Score
 1999     Steve Trachsel  Houston  4-2 (L)
 1998  Kevin Tapani  Florida 11-6 (L)
 1997 Terry Mulholland     Florida  4-2 (L)
 1996 Jamie Navarro  San Diego  5-4 (W)
 1995 Jim Bullinger  Cincinnati       7-1 (W)
 1992 Greg Maddux  Phillies  4-3 (W)
 1991 Danny Jackson  Cardinals  4-1 (L)
 1990 Mike Bielecki  Phillies  2-1 (W)
 1984 Dick Ruthven  Giants  5-3 (W)
 1982 Doug Bird  Reds  3-2 (W)

It's interesting to me that Maddux only got the nod one time and that Jim Bullinger ever got to start an opener. Looking back at the strike-shortened '95 season, however, Bullinger wasn't bad (12-8, 99 ERA+), and God knows he didn't cost the Cubs anywhere near as much as Danny Jackson did.


Doug Bird.....gaaahhhh...Oh the ineptitude of the 1980-1983 Cubs...

Jim Bullinger's ears were so big, they needed a wide angle lens when they took his picture for his baseball card

Someone once described Bullinger as looking like a cab driving down the stret with its doors open.

Navarro was actually one of the few good moves of the mid-1990s. 14-6 for just $1.3 million in 1995 and then re-signed to another one-year deal and went 15-12 for $3.6 million in 1996. The Cubs then let him walk and he signs a 4-year $20 million dollar contract with the White Sox, only to go 9-14, 8-16, and 8-13, with ERAs of over 6.00 in the last two years. He's then traded to the Brewers where he goes 0-5 with a 12.54 ERA before being released. Talk about getting out at the right time!!

As you get older your memory fades pretty badly, but I seem to vaguely remember Navarro looking really bad really fast near the end of his Cubs career.

I nominate Zambrano for "biggest waste of talent" on the Cubs. He has such good stuff but insists on overthrowing everything. You can see when he's struggling, he's just fighting himself. When he's pitching good, the ball is just flowing. <i>Cubster: Jim Bullinger's ears were so big, they needed a wide angle lens when they took his picture for his baseball card</i> Ha!

is this sarcasm?

No. Zambrano is built great and can hit mid 90s on a good day. He's capable of much more.

Aaron Miles is expected to be sidelined through the weekend with a sore right shoulder says the Sun-Times.

Also, apparently Dempster doesn't give a shit whether Canadians are upset about him not playing in the WBC: "I don't pay attention to the WBC," Dempster said. "I haven't even seen who's winning. I know Canada's out because I saw Koskie's here. And I know the Dominican's out because I saw Marmol's here. But I haven't seen any other results. ... I've been golfing too much."

haha fyi: ryan dempster = big pothead


a friend of mine is best friends with a member of the team

and the best inside info that you can get is that dempster is a pothead?

grace and dunston what huh? hehe...

Cubs sign Esteban German to a minor league deal... throw enough spaghetti against the wall, some of it will stick.

more tickets for Wrigley went on sale today...

this is going to be awesome...

I suggested the blog name should be Landing Strip, after his chin hairs...

ha... Someone once described Bullinger as looking like a cab driving down the stret with its doors open. ---- I love big ears jokes! ...You can tie them in a knot, you can tie them in a bow.

I ran into Bullinger one time at Murphy's after a game. We talked for about a 1/2 hour about Cubs' catcher Scott Servais. He was pretty candid about how the Cub pitchers were put off by Servais bull headedness. He was like a little tattle tale kiss up to Riggleman and the pitchers resented him...

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  • SF continues their kickass losing streak (6 games). WAS is suddenly back in the WC competition mix via SF's suck. SF 7.0 games back and WAS 7.5 games back is a hell of a distance for either team to climb at this point in the season.
  • Nice stuff tonight... Brewers sweep Pirates, 5-3 Giants losing to Rockies 9-2, 5th Dodgers losing 2-0 to SD, early. Corey Seager strikes out in 1st MLB at-bat.
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  • It's Magic.
  • "never been a fan of using closers in non-save situations." Tie game at home in the ninth, there can never be a save situation. So you're saying, don't use your best reliever today.
  • Sorry if this was covered in a different thread, but while I overall like this new design, the white type on the dark background is a killer. I may be in the minority on that. But again, nice job.
  • It was almost like Javy was saying, "see, O&B, same old Javy here." Guy's gotta learn you don't need to swing hard to knock a Chapman ball out of the park. Choke up, dude, follow Rizzo's lead.
  • The magic number is now 24.
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  • JOHN B: Pierce Johnson and Rob Zastryzny were likely 2015 AFL candidates (I mentioned them as likely candidates to get assigned to the AFL in an article about the AFL last month) because they are starting pitchers who missed part of the season due to injuries and they need to accrue more innings.
  • I personally don't think managers use closers enough in tie games in the 9th. The mindset and adrenaline should be just like a save situation. You get the outs, you have a great chance of winning. You don't your team is screwed.