List of Texas Rangers Opening Day starting pitchers

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Nolan Ryan, the Opening Day starting pitcher in 1990, 1991 and 1992.

The Texas Rangers are a Major League Baseball (MLB) team based in Arlington, Texas. They play in the American League West division. The Rangers played their first 11 seasons, from 1961 to 1971, as the Washington Senators, one of three different major league teams to use the name.[1] In Washington, D.C., the Senators played their home games at Griffith Stadium for their inaugural season before moving to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium the following season. The team moved to Texas in 1972, and played their home games at Arlington Stadium until 1993. The team's current home, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, has been the Rangers' home field since the start of the 1994 season.[2] 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,[3] though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.[4]

The Senators/Rangers have used 29 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 51 seasons. The 29 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 18 wins, 25 losses and 8 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game or if the starting pitcher pitches fewer than five innings. Of the 7 no decisions, the Rangers went on to win five and lose three of those games, for a team record on Opening Day of 23 wins and 28 losses.[5]

Three Texas Rangers Opening Day pitchers—Ferguson Jenkins, Gaylord Perry and Nolan Ryan—have been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.[6][7][8]

The Senators' first Opening Day starting pitcher was Dick Donovan, who was credited with the loss against the Chicago White Sox in the game played at Griffith Stadium with President John F. Kennedy throwing out the ceremonial first pitch.[9][10][11] Though the Senators ended the 1961 with a 61–100 record, 47½ games out of first place, Donovan ended the season leading the American League with a 2.40 ERA.[12][13]

In 1962, the team moved to District of Columbia Stadium (renamed Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium in 1969), with Bennie Daniels on the mound for Opening Day. President Kennedy attended the Opening Day game, as the Senators defeated the Detroit Tigers by a score of 4–1.[14] The Senators, and their starting pitchers, lost their next eight Opening Day games.[5] Dick Bosman started on Opening Day for the Senators in 1971, their last season in Washington, D.C., and led the Senators to an 8–0 victory over Vida Blue and the Oakland Athletics.[15]

The Rangers advanced to the playoffs in 1996, 1998 and 1999.[16] In each of those three seasons the Rangers faced the New York Yankees in the Divisional Series and lost. In 1996, Ken Hill was the Opening Day starter in a 5–3 win over the Boston Red Sox. In the 1996 American League Division Series, John Burkett started and won the opening game of the series by a 6–2 score, the only game the Rangers won in the series.[17] Burkett was the Opening Day starter in 1998, in a game the Rangers lost 9–2 to the Chicago White Sox. In the 1998 American League Division Series, Todd Stottlemyre started and lost the first game of the series, which the Yankees swept in three games.[18] Rick Helling was the Opening Day starter in 1999, losing 11–5 to the Detroit Tigers. In the 1999 American League Division Series, Aaron Sele was the starter in the opening game of the series, with the Rangers again swept by the Yankees.[19]

Kevin Millwood has pitched four consecutive Opening Day starts, in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009. Two other Rangers pitchers have pitched three consecutive Opening Day starts: Charlie Hough in 1987, 1988 and 1989 and Nolan Ryan in 1990, 1991 and 1992.[20][21]

Charlie Hough has the most Opening Day starts for the Rangers, with six, and has a record of three wins and one loss. Ken Hill and Kenny Rogers both won both of their decisions, for a perfect 2–0 record. Six other pitchers won their only decision. Kevin Millwood and Dick Bosman each lost three of their four Opening Day starts for the Rangers. Pete Richert, Camilo Pascual and Rick Helling each lost both of their starts. Nine pitchers have lost their only start.[5]


Key[edit]

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, the team's home stadium since 1994.
Season Each year is linked to an article about that particular Senators/Rangers season.
W Win
L Loss
ND (W) No decision by starting pitcher; Rangers won game
ND (L) No decision by starting pitcher; Rangers lost game
Final Score (#) Game score with Rangers runs listed first;
in brackets are the number of innings over than 9
Location Stadium in bold for home game
Pitcher (#) Number of appearances as Opening Day starter with the Rangers
* Advanced to the post-season
** Won the American League Championship Series

Opening Day results[edit]

Season Pitcher Decision Final
score
Opponent Location Attendance Ref(s)[5]
1961 Donovan, DickDick Donovan L 3–4 Chicago White Sox Griffith Stadium 26,725 [22]
1962 Daniels, BennieBennie Daniels W 4–1 Detroit Tigers District of Columbia Stadium 44,383 [23]
1963 Rudolph, DonDon Rudolph L 1–3 Baltimore Orioles District of Columbia Stadium 43,022 [24]
1964 Osteen, ClaudeClaude Osteen L 0–4 Los Angeles Angels District of Columbia Stadium 40,145 [25]
1965 Ortega, PhilPhil Ortega L 2–7 Boston Red Sox District of Columbia Stadium 43,554 [26]
1966 Richert, PetePete Richert L 2–5 Cleveland Indians District of Columbia Stadium 44,468 [27]
1967 Richert, PetePete Richert (2) L 0–8 New York Yankees District of Columbia Stadium 44,382 [28]
1968 Pascual, CamiloCamilo Pascual L 0–2 Minnesota Twins District of Columbia Stadium 32,063 [29]
1969 Pascual, CamiloCamilo Pascual (2) L 4–8 New York Yankees Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium 45,113 [30]
1970 Bosman, DickDick Bosman L 0–5 Detroit Tigers Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium 45,015 [31]
1971 Bosman, DickDick Bosman (2) W 8–0 Oakland Athletics Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium 45,061 [15]
1972 Bosman, DickDick Bosman (3) L 0–1 California Angels Anaheim Stadium 13,916 [32]
1973 Bosman, DickDick Bosman (4) L 1–3 Chicago White Sox Arlington Stadium 26,543 [33]
1974 Bibby, JimJim Bibby L 2–7 Oakland Athletics Arlington Stadium 21,907 [34]
1975 Jenkins, FergusonFerguson Jenkins L 4–11 Minnesota Twins Arlington Stadium 28,787 [35]
1976 Perry, GaylordGaylord Perry W 2–1 Minnesota Twins Arlington Stadium 28,947 [36]
1977 Blyleven, BertBert Blyleven W 2–1 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium 31,307 [37]
1978 Matlack, JonJon Matlack W 2–1 New York Yankees Arlington Stadium 40,078 [38]
1979 Jenkins, FergusonFerguson Jenkins (2) W 8–2 Detroit Tigers Tiger Stadium 43,708 [39]
1980 Matlack, JonJon Matlack (2) ND (W) 1–0 New York Yankees Arlington Stadium 33,196 [40]
1981 Matlack, JonJon Matlack (3) L 3–10 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 55,123 [41]
1982 Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough W 8–3 Cleveland Indians Cleveland Stadium 62,443 [42]
1983 Smithson, MikeMike Smithson ND (W) 5–3 Chicago White Sox Arlington Stadium 13,140 [43]
1984 Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough (2) L 1–9 Cleveland Indians Arlington Stadium 21,537 [44]
1985 Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough (3) ND (L) 2–4 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium 50,402 [45]
1986 Guzmán, JoséJosé Guzmán W 6–3 Toronto Blue Jays Arlington Stadium 40,602 [46]
1987 Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough (4) ND (L) 1–2 Baltimore Orioles Memorial Stadium 51,650 [47]
1988 Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough (5) W 4–3 Cleveland Indians Arlington Stadium 37,613 [48]
1989 Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough (6) W 4–0 Detroit Tigers Arlington Stadium 40,375 [49]
1990 Ryan, NolanNolan Ryan W 4–2 Toronto Blue Jays Arlington Stadium 40,907 [50]
1991 Ryan, NolanNolan Ryan (2) L 4–5 Milwaukee Brewers Arlington Stadium 40,560 [51]
1992 Ryan, NolanNolan Ryan (3) ND (W) 12–10 Seattle Mariners Kingdome 55,918 [52]
1993 Lefferts, CraigCraig Lefferts W 7–4 Baltimore Orioles Oriole Park at Camden Yards 46,145 [53]
1994 Brown, KevinKevin Brown L 3–5 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 56,706 [54]
1995 Rogers, KennyKenny Rogers L 6–8 New York Yankees Yankee Stadium 50,525 [55]
1996* Hill, KenKen Hill W 5–3 Boston Red Sox The Ballpark in Arlington 40,484 [56]
1997 Hill, KenKen Hill (2) W 6–2 Milwaukee Brewers The Ballpark in Arlington 45,098 [57]
1998* Burkett, JohnJohn Burkett L 2–9 Chicago White Sox The Ballpark in Arlington 45,909 [58]
1999* Helling, RickRick Helling L 5–11 Detroit Tigers The Ballpark in Arlington 46,650 [59]
2000 Rogers, KennyKenny Rogers (2) W 10–4 Chicago White Sox The Ballpark in Arlington 49,332 [60]
2001 Helling, RickRick Helling (2) L 1–8 Toronto Blue Jays Hiram Bithorn Stadium 19,891 [61]
2002 Park, Chan HoChan Ho Park L 3–8 Oakland Athletics Network Associates Coliseum 43,908 [62]
2003 Valdez, IsmaelIsmael Valdez W 6–3 Anaheim Angels Angel Stadium of Anaheim 43,525 [63]
2004 Rogers, KennyKenny Rogers (3) ND (L) 4–5 Oakland Athletics Network Associates Coliseum 45,122 [64]
2005 Drese, RyanRyan Drese L 2–3 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim 43,590 [65]
2006 Millwood, KevinKevin Millwood L 3–7 Boston Red Sox Ameriquest Field in Arlington 51,541 [66]
2007 Millwood, KevinKevin Millwood (2) L 1–4 Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Angel Stadium of Anaheim 43,906 [67]
2008 Millwood, KevinKevin Millwood (3) L 2–5 Seattle Mariners Safeco Field 46,334 [20][68]
2009 Millwood, KevinKevin Millwood (4) W 9–1 Cleveland Indians Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 49,916 [21]
2010** Feldman, ScottScott Feldman ND (W) 5–4 Toronto Blue Jays Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 50,299 [69]
2011** Wilson, C. J.C. J. Wilson ND (W) 9–5 Boston Red Sox Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 50,146 [70]
2012* Lewis, ColbyColby Lewis W 3–2 Chicago White Sox Rangers Ballpark in Arlington 49,085 [71]
2013 Harrison, MattMatt Harrison L 2–8 Houston Astros Minute Maid Park 41,307 [72]
2014 Scheppers, TannerTanner Scheppers ND (L) 10–14 Philadelphia Phillies Globe Life Park in Arlington 49,031 [73]

Pitchers[edit]

Opening Day starting pitchers are listed in descending order by the number of Opening Day starts for the Senators/Rangers.

Pitcher Starts Wins Losses No decisions Winning % Seasons
Hough, CharlieCharlie Hough 6 3 1 2 0.750 1982,[42] 1984,[44] 1985,[45] 1987,[47] 1988,[48] 1989[49]
Bosman, DickDick Bosman 4 1 3 0 0.250 1970,[31] 1971,[15] 1972,[32] 1973[33]
Millwood, KevinKevin Millwood 4 1 3 0 0.250 2006,[66] 2007,[67] 2008[21][68]
Matlack, JonJon Matlack 3 1 1 1 0.500 1978,[38] 1980,[40] 1981[41]
Ryan, NolanNolan Ryan 3 1 1 1 0.500 1990,[50] 1991,[51] 1992[52]
Rogers, KennyKenny Rogers 3 2 0 1 1.000 1995,[55] 2000,[60] 2004[64]
Richert, PetePete Richert 2 0 2 0 0.000 1966,[27] 1967[28]
Pascual, CamiloCamilo Pascual 2 0 2 0 0.000 1968,[29] 1969[30]
Jenkins, FergusonFerguson Jenkins 2 1 1 0 0.500 1975,[35] 1979[39]
Hill, KenKen Hill 2 2 0 0 1.000 1996,[56] 1997[57]
Helling, RickRick Helling 2 0 2 0 0.000 1999,[59] 2001[61]
Donovan, DickDick Donovan 1 0 1 0 0.000 1961[22]
Daniels, BennieBennie Daniels 1 1 0 0 1.000 1962[23]
Rudolph, DonDon Rudolph 1 0 1 0 0.000 1963[24]
Osteen, ClaudeClaude Osteen 1 1 0 0 1.000 1964[25]
Ortega, PhilPhil Ortega 1 0 1 0 0.000 1965[26]
Bibby, JimJim Bibby 1 0 1 0 0.000 1974[34]
Perry, GaylordGaylord Perry 1 0 1 0 0.000 1976[36]
Blyleven, BertBert Blyleven 1 1 0 0 1.000 1977[37]
Smithson, MikeMike Smithson 1 0 0 1 0.000 1983[43]
Wilson, C. J.C. J. Wilson 1 0 0 1 0.000 2011[70]
Feldman, ScottScott Feldman 1 0 0 1 0.000 2010[69]
Guzmán, JoséJosé Guzmán 1 1 0 0 1.000 1986[46]
Lefferts, CraigCraig Lefferts 1 1 0 0 1.000 1993[53]
Brown, KevinKevin Brown 1 0 1 0 0.000 1994[54]
Burkett, JohnJohn Burkett 1 0 1 0 0.000 1997[57]
Park, Chan HoChan Ho Park 1 0 1 0 0.000 2002[62]
Valdez, IsmaelIsmael Valdez 1 1 0 0 1.000 2003[63]
Drese, RyanRyan Drese 1 0 1 0 0.000 2005[65]
Lewis, ColbyColby Lewis 1 1 0 0 1.000 2012[71]
Harrison, MattMatt Harrison 1 0 1 0 0.000 2013[72]
Scheppers, TannerTanner Scheppers 1 0 0 1 0.000 2014[73]

References[edit]

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