This is the time of year when teams start annoucing their opening day starters, the days when the regular season is so close we can taste it. This may have been done before or even recently on RR, I don't know. But daveyork inspired me today when he said Vicente Padilla was announced on the Dan Patrick Show as the Dodgers' opening day starter this season. He said that reminded him of the mid-00's Royals.
So I wondered, who were those opening day starters in the mid-00s, and in the 90s, and beyond? Who was the best opening day starter? And, in true Royals fan fashion...which one was the absolute worst? After the jump is Part I, the Best Opening Day Starters
There have been 11 pitchers who have pitched opening day for the Royals more than once:
Wally Bunker - 2 ('69-'70)
Dick Drago - 2 ('71-'72)
Steve Busby - 2 ('73 and '75)
Paul Splittorff - 3 ('74, '76, and '77)
Dennis Leonard - 4 ('78-'80, '82)
Larry Gura - 2 ('81 and '83)
Bud Black - 3 ('84-'86)
Bret Saberhagen - 3 ('88, '90, and '91)
Kevin Appier - 7 ('92-'97, '99)
Jeff Suppan - 3 ('00-'02)
Gil Meche - 3 ('07-'09)
One-time opening day pitchers who also put up good careers included Danny Jackson, Mark Gubicza, and Tim Belcher. Coincidentally, every one of these pitchers have career ERA+ of 100+, except Jeff Suppan (98).
Who was the BEST, and why? Any rationale accepted. Part II on the way, the worst.