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 Baseball-Reference.com is noting which Cub pitchers got to go in Game #1 once, but never again. Here are the last ten such Cub pitchers:

 

Year
Pitcher
Opponent
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.

Comments

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.

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

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

Source?

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...

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2009/03/cubs-sign-es...

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...

http://reedjohnson.mlblogs.com/

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

ha...

http://www.newarkbearsfan.com/images/players/bulli...

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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  • KOYIES BANSAW: I would say Aaron Brooks is comparable to Dallas Beeler. When healthy, they both provide AAA starting pitcher depth until somethng better comes up through the pipeline. Maybe the "26th man" when the Cubs need a 6th starter for a doubleheader. 

    Arizona Phil 57 min 18 sec ago view
  • he's destroying it for SD in the majors this year.

    23.1ip 10h 11bb 33k

    0.77era/0.90whip

    crunch 1 hour 56 min ago view
  • The Cubs had Ryan Buchter at AAA last year and he's death on lefties, but they let him walk away as a minor league FA post-2015. 

    Arizona Phil 2 hours 27 sec ago view
  • f'real...didn't even streak or try to beat up a base coach or anything.

    crunch 2 hours 18 min ago view
  • After the game, jacos was DFA'd. #nohelp

    CTSteve 2 hours 22 min ago view
  • Richard proving once again that, if you are really bad, it doesn't matter which hand you throw with.

    Maybe time to find out what we have in Edwards?

    billybucks 2 hours 31 min ago view
  • Oof -- ugly game at the plate and from the pen, which was the hero yesterday.

    Sorry Jake -- you deserved better.

    billybucks 2 hours 33 min ago view
  • k.bryant playing SS...because fuck it, that's why.

    crunch 2 hours 36 min ago view
  • g.soto is doing horrible in AAA...unfortunately.

    unless they decide to bring up g.concepcion or make a trade we might have richard around a little longer.

    ...that said, it wouldn't surprise me to see him DFA'd after the game...the "lefty specialist" just let 3 lefties in a row get on base. ugg.

    crunch 2 hours 47 min ago view
  • Ahhh Richard with your 6.00+ ERA as a short reliever...

    You ain't gonna be on no Playoff roster.

    The E-Man 2 hours 57 min ago view
  • I'll give this to Richard: he looks the part of a good pitcher, straight out of central casting. It's a shame he struggles with the getting guys out part of the game.

    Eric S 3 hours 3 min ago view
  • Didn't take Richard long. He is an absolute disaster.

    billybucks 3 hours 8 min ago view
  • Thru seven innings the Cubs have more errors than hits and Zobrist has struck out 3 times. And now Richard is pitching.

    These things do not add up to victory

    Eric S 3 hours 10 min ago view
  • It was from about 15 years ago

    jacos 3 hours 13 min ago view
  • Guess I was on tv

    jacos 3 hours 13 min ago view
  • Vin Scully sang the seventh-inning stretch. Along with all the great things he is known for, he can sing! He sounded like Willie Nelson out there. And he gave a nice shout-out to Harry. What a class guy.

    fullykräusened 3 hours 17 min ago view