One-Time Mets Opening Day Starting Pitchers

An article by posted on December 13, 2013

In 52 seasons, the Mets have only had 13 Opening Day Pitchers start just one opener. Over the years, we’ve seen Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Tom Glavine, and Johan Santana each start at least 4 openers on the hill – but who were the 13 men who only started one? There are some pretty good names on the list.

1966 Jack Fisher – Jack was the Opening Day starter just one year after leading the National League with 24 losses in 1965. Jack went 11-14 that year with an ERA of 3.68 in 38 games (33 starts) in 230 innings. In an 11 year MLB career (1959-1969) with the Orioles, Giants, Mets, White Sox, and Reds, he had a career record of 86-139 with an ERA of 4.06 and 9 saves in 400 career games (265 starts) and threw 1975 2/3 innings. Jack pitched for the Mets from 1964-1967.

1967 Don Cardwell – Don was the Opening Day starter in the first of his 4 seasons with the Mets (1967-1970) and went 5-9 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 games (16 starts) and 118 innings. In a 14 year MLB career (1957-1970), he pitched in 410 games (301 starts) with a record of 102-138 and an ERA of 3.92 and 7 saves in 2123 innings.

1978 Jerry Koosman – With Tom Seaver getting the OD nod from 1968-1977, Jerry started his only Opening Day with the Mets in 1978. In 1978 (his last with the team), Jerry had a record of 3-15 and an ERA of 3.75 and 2 saves in 235 1/3 innings (38 games – 32 starts). In a 19 year MLB career (1976-1985) Jerry pitched for the Mets, Twins, White Sox, and Phillies with a record of 222-209 and an ERA of 3.36. He appeared in 612 games (527 starts) and had 17 saves in 3839 1/3 innings. Jerry spent 12 years with the Mets (1967-1978) and is an all time top 10 Met in the following categories: 3rd in Wins (140); 1st in Losses (137); 5th in ERA (3.09); 4th in games pitched (376); 2nd in games started (346); 2nd in innings pitched (2544 2/3); 3rd in strikeouts (1799); 2nd in total batters faced (10,517); 2nd in complete games (108); 2nd in shutouts (26).

1981 Pat Zachry – 1981 was Pat’s only start in his 6 seasons with the Mets (1977-1982) and in 1981 he want 7-14 with an ERA of 4.14. He made 24 starts and pitched 139 innings, leading the National League with his 14 losses in the strike shortened season. In a 10 year MLB career (1976-1985) with the Reds, Mets, Dodgers, and Phillies, Pat had a career record of 69-67 with an ERA of 3.52 and 3 saves. He pitched in 293 games (154 starts) and 1177 1/3 MLB innings.

1982 Randy Jones – Randy pitched 2 seasons with the Mets (1981-1982) in a 10 year MLB career (1973-1982) with the Padres and Mets. In 1982, he went 7-10 with a 4.60 ERA in 28 games (20 starts) in 107 2/3 innings. He had a career record of 100-123 with a 3.42 ERA and 2 saves in 305 games (285 starts) and 1933 innings.

1984 Mike Torrez – Mike pitched 2 seasons with the Mets (1983-1984) and got the ball on Opening Day the year after leading the National League in Losses with 17 in 1983. In 1984, he pitched in 9 games for the Mets (8 starts) with a record of 1-5 and an ERA of 5.02 in 37 2/3 innings. In 18 MLB seasons (1967-1984) with the Cardinals, Expos, Orioles, A’s, Yankees, Red Sox, and Mets, he pitched in 494 games (458 starts) with a record of 185-160 and an ERA of 3.96 in 3043 2/3 innings.

1987 Bob Ojeda – The year after the Mets won the World Series, Bob Ojeda had his only Mets OD start. Bob pitched 5 seasons with the Mets (1986-1990) and in 15 MLB seasons (1980-1994) with the Red Sox, Mets, Dodgers, Indians, and Yankees, he pitched in 351 games (291 starts) with a record of 115-98 and an ERA of 3.65 and 1 save. In 1987, Bob had a record of 3-5 and an ERA of 3.88 in 10 games (7 starts) in 46 1/3 innings.

1992 David Cone - David pitched 7 seasons with the Mets (1987-1992, 2003). In 1992, he had a record with the Mets of 13-7 and an ERA of 2.88 in 27 starts and 196 2/3 innings before being traded on August 27th for to the Blue Jays for Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson. In 17 MLB seasons (1986-2001, 2003) with the Royals, Mets, Blue Jays, Yankees, and Red Sox, David pitched in 450 games (419 starts) with a record of 194-126 and an ERA of 3.46 and 1 save in 2,989 2/3 innings. David was a Cy Young award winner in 1994 with the Royals.

1997 Pete Harnisch – Pete pitched 3 seasons with the Mets (1995-1997) and in 1997, he appeared in only 6 games for the Mets (5 starts) with a record of 0-1 and an ERA of 8.06 in 25 2/3 innings. In 14 MLB seasons (1988-2001) with the Orioles, Astros, Mets, Brewers, and Reds, he pitched in 321 games (318 starts) with a record of 111-103 and an ERA of 3.89 in 1959 innings.

2000 Mike Hampton - Mike got the nod in his only season with the Mets after being acquired in an offseason trade from the Houston Astros. In 2000, he had a record of 15-10 with an ERA of 3.14 in 33 starts and 217 2/3 innings. He pitched 16 years in the Majors (1993-2005, 2008-2010) with the Mariners, Astros, Mets, Rockies, Braves, and Diamondbacks. He appeared in 419 games (355 starts) with a record of 148-115 and an ERA of 4.06 and 1 save, pitching 2268 1/3 innings.

2005 Pedro Martinez – The 3 time Cy Young award winner pitched 4 years for the Mets (2005-2008) and played 18 years in the Major Leagues (1992-2009) for the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets, and Phillies. In 2005, Pedro made 31 starts with a record of 15-8 and an ERA of 2.82 in 217 innings. In his career, he had a record of 219-100 and an ERA of 2.93 and 3 saves in 476 games (409 starts). He pitched 2827 innings in his career and his 3154 strikeouts is 13th on the all-time MLB list. His career WHIP of 1.05 is 4th in history and the lowest among all pitchers who’s careers ended after 1917.

2011 Mike Pelfrey - Mike pitched 7 seasons with the Mets (2006-2012) and in 2011, he had a record of 7-13 with an ERA of 4.74 in 34 games (33 starts) and 193 2/3 innings. In 8 MLB seasons (2006-2013) with the Mets and Twins, Mike has a career record of 55-67 with an ERA of 4.48 and 1 save in 1049 innings.

2013 Jonathon Niese – Last year’s starter has spent his entire 6 year MLB career with the Mets (2008-2013) and in 2013 he went 8-8 with an ERA of 3.71 in 24 starts, throwing 143 innings. He has a career record of 43-40 and an ERA of 3.99 in 119 games (118 starts) with 704 innings pitched.

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About the Author ()

Roger is a lifelong Mets fan since 1981, now married with kids and still knows that there is no such thing as a bad day at the ballpark with your child. Growing up, he wanted to be either the Second Baseman for the Mets - or their statistician. Follow him at @BigMetsFan1. email me at metsfanontwitter@aol.com

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