List of Louisville Colonels Opening Day starting pitchers

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Tony Mullane started the first game in Louisville Colonels history on May 2, 1882.

The Louisville Colonels were a Major League Baseball team that played from 1882 to 1899 and were based in Louisville, Kentucky. The team played in the American Association from 1882 to 1891 and in the National League from 1892 to 1899.[1] The team was known as the Louisville Eclipse from 1882 to 1884.[1] The Colonels used 11 Opening Day starting pitchers in their 18 years as a Major League franchise. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season,[2] though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.[3] The Colonels had a record of 10 wins and 8 losses in their Opening Day games.

The first game in Colonels' history was played on May 2, 1882 against the St. Louis Browns, now known as the St. Louis Cardinals.[4] Tony Mullane was the Opening Day starting pitcher for the Colonels in that game, which the Colonels lost by a score of 9–7.[4] The Colonels' last Opening Day game was on April 14, 1899 against the Chicago Orphans, now known as the Chicago Cubs.[5] Bert Cunningham was the Colonels' Opening Day starting pitcher for that game, which the Colonels lost by a score of 15–1.[5]

Five pitchers made multiple Opening Day starts for the Colonels. Guy Hecker had the most Opening Day starts for the Colonels, with four, starting in every Opening Day game from 1883 through 1886.[6][7][8][9] Toad Ramsey, Scott Stratton, Chick Fraser and Cunningham each made two Opening Day starts for the team.[5][10][11][12][13][14][15][16] After making the Opening Day start in 1884, Hecker went on to achieve what is now known as the pitching Triple Crown by leading the American Association in wins, with 52, strikeouts, with 385, and earned run average, with 1.80.[7][17] Hecker's 52 wins that season are 3rd all time among Major League Baseball pitchers.[18] No Baseball Hall of Famers made Opening Day starts for the Colonels. However, as of 2011, Mullane's 284 career wins ranked 3rd among eligible pitchers who have not been inducted to the Hall of Fame, behind just Bobby Mathews and Tommy John.[19]

The Colonels won one American Association championship, in 1890.[1] That year, they played in the 19th century version of the World Series against the National League champion Brooklyn Bridegrooms, now known as the Los Angeles Dodgers, in a series that ended in a tie.[20] Stratton was the Colonels' Opening Day starting pitcher that season, in a game the Colonels lost to the Browns 11–8.[12]

Key[edit]

Guy Hecker was the Colonels' Opening Day starting pitcher in four consecutive seasons, from 1883 through 1886.
Season Each year is linked to an article about that particular Colonels season.
W Win
L Loss
T Tie game
ND (W) No decision by starting pitcher; Colonels won game
ND (L) No decision by starting pitcher; Colonels lost game
(W) Colonels won game; no information on starting pitcher's decision
(L) Colonels lost game; no information on starting pitcher's decision
Final score Game score with Colonels runs listed first
Location Stadium in italics for home game
(#) Number of appearances as Opening Day starter with the Colonels
** Colonels were American Association Champions

Pitchers[edit]

Scott Stratton was the Colonels Opening Day starting pitcher in 1890, when the franchise won its only American Association title.
Bert Cunningham was the Colonels' last Opening Day starting pitcher.
Season Pitcher Decision Final
Score
Opponent Location (Stadium) References
1882 Mullane, TonyTony Mullane (L) 7–9 St. Louis Browns Sportsman's Park [4]
1883 Hecker, GuyGuy Hecker (W) 6–5 Columbus Buckeyes Recreation Park [6]
1884 Hecker, GuyGuy Hecker (2) (W) 5–1 Toledo Blue Stockings Eclipse Park [7]
1885 Hecker, GuyGuy Hecker (3) (L) 1–4 Cincinnati Reds Eclipse Park [8]
1886 Hecker, GuyGuy Hecker (4) (W) 5–1 Cincinnati Reds League Park [9]
1887 Ramsey, ToadToad Ramsey (W) 8–3 St. Louis Browns Eclipse Park [10]
1888 Ramsey, ToadToad Ramsey (2) (L) 0–8 St. Louis Browns Sportsman's Park [11]
1889 Ewing, JohnJohn Ewing (L) 4–7 Kansas City Cowboys Eclipse Park [21]
1890** Stratton, ScottScott Stratton (L) 8–11 St. Louis Browns Eclipse Park [12]
1891 Daily, EdEd Daily (W) 7–6 Columbus Solons Eclipse Park [22]
1892 Meekin, JouettJouett Meekin (W) 5–2 Cleveland Spiders Eclipse Park [23]
1893 Stratton, ScottScott Stratton (2) (L) 2–4 St. Louis Browns Robison Field [13]
1894 Menefee, JockJock Menefee (W) 10–3 Cleveland Spiders Eclipse Park [24]
1895 Inks, BertBert Inks (W) 11–2 Pittsburgh Pirates Eclipse Park [25]
1896 Fraser, ChickChick Fraser (L) 2–4 Chicago Colts Eclipse Park [14]
1897 Fraser, ChickChick Fraser (2) (W) 3–1 Cleveland Spiders Eclipse Park [15]
1898 Cunningham, BertBert Cunningham (W) 10–3 Pittsburgh Pirates Eclipse Park [16]
1899 Cunningham, BertBert Cunningham (2) (L) 1–15 Chicago Orphans Eclipse Park [5]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Louisville Colonels Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  2. ^ Bastian, Jordan (March 22, 2010). "Marcum tapped for Jays' Opening Day". MLB.com. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  3. ^ Dilbeck, Steve (February 24, 2014). "Dodgers may not start Clayton Kershaw in Sydney". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 25, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b c "1882 Louisville Eclipse Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  5. ^ a b c d "1899 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  6. ^ a b "1883 Louisville Eclipse Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  7. ^ a b c "1884 Louisville Eclipse Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  8. ^ a b "1885 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  9. ^ a b "1886 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  10. ^ a b "1887 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  11. ^ a b "1888 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  12. ^ a b c "1890 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  13. ^ a b "1893 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  14. ^ a b "1896 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  15. ^ a b "1897 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  16. ^ a b "1898 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  17. ^ "Guy Hecker". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  18. ^ "Single-Season Leaders & Records for Wins". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  19. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Wins". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  20. ^ "Charlton's Baseball Chronology - 1890". baseballlibrary.com. Retrieved 2011-12-27. 
  21. ^ "1889 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  22. ^ "1891 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  23. ^ "1892 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  24. ^ "1894 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24. 
  25. ^ "1895 Louisville Colonels Regular Season Game Log". Retrosheet. Retrieved 2011-12-24.