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.

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


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."



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?


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...


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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  • j.buchanan with a nice start...5ip 2h 1bb 3k, 0r/er

    zobrist with 2HR and a double through 8

    heyward 0-4 :(

    crunch 2 hours 52 min ago view
  • Mark Gonzales @MDGonzales

    Soler likely to return Sunday, Maddon says

    crunch 5 hours 29 min ago view
  • Right now, I'd like to see the Mets first, Giants 2nd.

    I believe that since most of the team from last years' NLCS is on the squad this year, they will really amp their game up even more to kick their ass in payback for 2015.

    The Giants just do not have the depth in years past, and I think all things equal - and at Wrigley - they could handle them.

    I do not want to see the Cards, period. Or their fans, media, or Joe Buck.

    The E-Man 5 hours 49 min ago view
  • I don't want to play Braves in the first round. Any friggin team in the league can win 3 of 5..I hate the first round. Furthermore, I wanted to play the Marlins in 2003 and the Mets over Dodgers last year.

    With that said in reverse order:
    3. Cardinals: It will be devastating to lose in the first round, but even worse to their main rival. It is increased incentive for the Cardinals, especially after last year. Cards would have nothing to lose, Cubs have everything to lose.

    2. Giants: Rotation in the playoffs scare me a bit, but what a lousy team.

    blockhead25 6 hours 32 min ago view
  • 1. Mets--because of the losses in the rotation
    2. Giants--because they're not the team they were BUT they maybe have bullshit even-year magic?
    3. Cardinals--because rivalry and not making the playoffs hurts them more than losing in the NLDS plus getting eliminated by them in the playoffs would make for horrible sports commentary next throughout next season.

    Charlie 8 hours 15 min ago view
  • Who's asking?

    jacos 8 hours 17 min ago view
  • #TeamEntropy

    CLE/DET rained out last night already, possible rain-outs in New York (vs. Baltimore), Boston(vs. Toronto) and Philly(vs. Mets) this weekend too.

    Not only games involving playoff spots that would need to be played, but any that involve home field advantage.

    Rob G. 8 hours 26 min ago view
  • I got the first one! Second one I'm not even sure what even/odd betting is.

    johann 9 hours 13 min ago view
  • any opponent preference for NLDS?

    Mets are down to 1 great pitcher instead of 4. Syndegaard may pitch Sunday which means if Mets win the WC game, he'd be set up for Game 1. There's a chance they clinch a spot by Sunday so he'd pitch the WC and then we'd probably get Colon for Game 1. They've certainly had the hottest bats over the last week and month out of the WC options.

    Rob G. 9 hours 34 min ago view
  • Rob Richardson 14 hours 38 min ago view
  • Can't teach height and thinness

    jacos 16 hours 34 min ago view
  • Hopefully Pirates don't call up A. Lincoln.

    jacos 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • j.buchanan going friday...should something like it.

    crunch 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Wow. I didn't know they could do that.

    Nice for Willson, not so much for Addy.

    billybucks 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Game is officially called...also officially a tie.

    Stats count, no make-up date of course.


    Rob G. 1 day 2 hours ago view
  • Yeah -- seeing the weather -- I hope KB and Rizz are inside, wrapped in blankets and drinking hot chocolate.

    billybucks 1 day 3 hours ago view