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:
|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.