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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  • Not certain why the site has been slowed. Worked much of Wednesday on it and will continue today. Sorry for the inconvenience. I will probably take it offline for a while, but it will be up before the game against the Mets.

    WebAdmin 7 hours 56 min ago view
  • Mine has been really slow to load -- on different computers from different locations.

    JoePepitone 10 hours 18 min ago view
  • Anybody else have issues accessing the site this afternoon/evening?

    Eric S 11 hours 19 min ago view
  • Boras is 63, maybe he'll be retired or dead by the time Bryant, Russell, Almora, Albertos all hit free agency. Doubt he will be before Jake hits there though.

    cubbies.4ever 14 hours 39 min ago view
  • Interesting choices when guys get healthy.

    LaStella, Fowler & Soler replace Coghlan, Almora and Sczcur? I assume they don't want Almora to sit.

    Despite MIggy's demise, I assume they keep him around to mentor Contreras?

    billybucks 15 hours 53 min ago view
  • I believe Willson now has more CS than MIggy. The kid has an arm. Also, Russell is amazingly good on those plays at 2nd.

    billybucks 17 hours 4 min ago view
  • oh yeah...thanks joe/billy.

    poor outing, still got the win, go cubs.

    crunch 17 hours 42 min ago view
  • Although it felt like it, Jake didn't lose to them -- he got the W. (Assuming you are referring to Monday's game)

    billybucks 19 hours 23 min ago view
  • Arrieta didn't lose to the Reds. He got the win -- he just didn't pitch like we expect him to.

    JoePepitone 19 hours 24 min ago view
  • almora's 1st HR!

    crunch 19 hours 31 min ago view
  • it's not like this CIN team is lost-cause horrible, but aside from defense and power this is a truly horrible team.

    kinda crazy arrieta lost to them and yesterday's game had to go 15 innings for the cubs win.

    crunch 19 hours 47 min ago view
  • It looked like Hamilton got screened by Duvall and that Duvall just barely deflected the ball off of his glove--redirecting it slightly without taking away much of its momentum.

    At least it didn't turn into a Schwarber/Fowler situation. Hamilton and Duvall are both pretty important youngish players for the Reds.

    Charlie 19 hours 55 min ago view
  • he walked off the field on his own. aside from a concussion watch and some attention to his leg/knee that buckled a bit under him, the biggest thing hurt was probably his pride after the ball knocked off his skull.

    crunch 20 hours 14 min ago view
  • After last night, an inside-the-park HR seems kind of run-of-the-mill somehow.

    Sounds bad for Hamilton. Hope he's okay--listening on the radio.

    Brick 20 hours 31 min ago view
  • SHOW ME THE MONEY:  Jose Albertos has signed with Mega-Agent Scott Boras.

    Albertos has already received his signing bonus and won't see any additional significant money until he reaches the big leagues,  so this is a long-term investment for the Boras Corporation.  

    Arizona Phil 20 hours 37 min ago view
  • I am glad Joe is managing this team and not Old and Blue!

    Hagsag 22 hours 59 min ago view