List of Texas Rangers Opening Day starting pitchers
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. 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. 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 given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season.
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.
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. 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.
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. The Senators, and their starting pitchers, lost their next eight Opening Day games. 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.
The Rangers advanced to the playoffs in 1996, 1998 and 1999. 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. 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. 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.
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.
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.
|Season||Each year is linked to an article about that particular Senators/Rangers season.|
|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
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, 1984, 1985, 1987, 1988, 1989|
|Bosman, DickDick Bosman||4||1||3||0||0.250||1970, 1971, 1972, 1973|
|Millwood, KevinKevin Millwood||4||1||3||0||0.250||2006, 2007, 2008|
|Matlack, JonJon Matlack||3||1||1||1||0.500||1978, 1980, 1981|
|Ryan, NolanNolan Ryan||3||1||1||1||0.500||1990, 1991, 1992|
|Rogers, KennyKenny Rogers||3||2||0||1||1.000||1995, 2000, 2004|
|Richert, PetePete Richert||2||0||2||0||0.000||1966, 1967|
|Pascual, CamiloCamilo Pascual||2||0||2||0||0.000||1968, 1969|
|Jenkins, FergusonFerguson Jenkins||2||1||1||0||0.500||1975, 1979|
|Hill, KenKen Hill||2||2||0||0||1.000||1996, 1997|
|Helling, RickRick Helling||2||0||2||0||0.000||1999, 2001|
|Donovan, DickDick Donovan||1||0||1||0||0.000||1961|
|Daniels, BennieBennie Daniels||1||1||0||0||1.000||1962|
|Rudolph, DonDon Rudolph||1||0||1||0||0.000||1963|
|Osteen, ClaudeClaude Osteen||1||1||0||0||1.000||1964|
|Ortega, PhilPhil Ortega||1||0||1||0||0.000||1965|
|Bibby, JimJim Bibby||1||0||1||0||0.000||1974|
|Perry, GaylordGaylord Perry||1||0||1||0||0.000||1976|
|Blyleven, BertBert Blyleven||1||1||0||0||1.000||1977|
|Smithson, MikeMike Smithson||1||0||0||1||0.000||1983|
|Wilson, C. J.C. J. Wilson||1||0||0||1||0.000||2011|
|Feldman, ScottScott Feldman||1||0||0||1||0.000||2010|
|Guzmán, JoséJosé Guzmán||1||1||0||0||1.000||1986|
|Lefferts, CraigCraig Lefferts||1||1||0||0||1.000||1993|
|Brown, KevinKevin Brown||1||0||1||0||0.000||1994|
|Burkett, JohnJohn Burkett||1||0||1||0||0.000||1997|
|Park, Chan HoChan Ho Park||1||0||1||0||0.000||2002|
|Valdez, IsmaelIsmael Valdez||1||1||0||0||1.000||2003|
|Drese, RyanRyan Drese||1||0||1||0||0.000||2005|
|Lewis, ColbyColby Lewis||1||1||0||0||1.000||2012|
|Harrison, MattMatt Harrison||1||0||1||0||0.000||2013|
|East||Central Division||West Division|
|East Division||Central Division||West Division|
|Boston and Milwaukee Braves · Brooklyn Dodgers · Montreal Expos · New York Giants · Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics · St. Louis Browns · Washington Senators|
|Baltimore Orioles (19th century) · Cleveland Spiders · Detroit Wolverines · Louisville Colonels · Providence Grays|