Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Reds Opening Day Pitchers

2018 Topps Opening Day - Team Traditions and Celebrations #TTC-ODP - Opening Day Parade - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of
Yesterday, the Reds named Luis Castillo the starting pitcher for Opening Day 2019. I think it's a good choice as he was by far the best starter the Reds had last year in the dumpster fire of a rotation they had. Hearing this gave me an idea for a blog post, that would be looking back at the Reds Opening Day starters since 2000. Since I'm currently nowhere near my card collection as I write this, I'll use COMC for help in showing off some cards and I'll provide some quick notes as well.

2018 Topps Now - Road to Opening Day #OD-318 - Homer Bailey - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Homer Bailey - 2018

Homer Bailey got the call for Opening Day and it went down as one of his 14 losses of the season. The Reds went 3-15 in the first 18 games in 2018 which saw Bryan Price get canned after the miserable start and Jim Riggleman leading the team the rest of the way.

2017 Topps Update Series - [Base] #US285 - Scott Feldman - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Scott Feldman - 2017

The well traveled Scott Feldman took the mound for the Reds on Opening Day in 2017 and didn't fare too well. He allowed 3 earned runs, 7 hits, and 2 walks in only 4 2/3 innings. Feldman's lone season with the Reds was his last of a 13-year career.

2016 Topps Heritage High Number - [Base] #604 - Raisel Iglesias - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Raisel Iglesias - 2016

Iglesias was probably the best choice to start in 2016 as the Reds rotation consisted of such notables as John Lamb, Tim Adelman, and Brandon Finnegan.

2015 Topps Archives - [Base] #159 - Johnny Cueto - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Johnny Cueto - 2012-2015

Johnny Cueto started four straight Opening Day games for the Reds, beginning with the 2012 season where they just steamrolled the NL Central and culminating in 2015 where he'd start his final Opening Day in red before being shipped to Kansas City at the trade deadline.

2011 Topps Opening Day - [Base] #28 - Edinson Volquez - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Edinson Volquez -2011

The Reds in 2011 had just come off their first winning season since 2000 and a surprise NL Central title. Volquez got the Opening Day assignment in which turned out to be his last season in Cincinnati. 

2010 Topps Heritage - [Base] #9 - Aaron Harang - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Aaron Harang - 2006-2010

Aaron Harang was one of the few reliable pitchers (aside from Bronson Arroyo) in the Reds rotation in the mid-2000s. Acquired from Oakland in 2003 for Jose Guillen, he spent 8 seasons in red. His best season with the Reds was 2007 where he went 16-6 with a 3.73 ERA. 

2005 Topps - [Base] #108 - Paul Wilson - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Paul Wilson - 2005

Paul Wilson pitched all of 9 games for the Reds in 2005 after being one of the better starters the Reds has in 2003 and 2004. Opening Day 2005 though will always live in Reds lore as the game where the Reds won on a walk-off homer by Joe Randa in the bottom of the 9th.

2004 Topps - [Base] #528 - Cory Lidle - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Cory Lidle - 2004

Cory Lidle's lone season with the Reds in 2004 was highlighted by his Opening Day start against the Cubs. However, he didn't even last the whole season with the team. He was traded to the Phillies in August for two minor leaguers and a player to be named later.

2003 Topps - [Base] #542 - Jimmy Haynes - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Jimmy Haynes - 2003

Jimmy Haynes has the designation of being the person to throw the very first pitch at Great American Ball Park in 2003. Honestly, that was probably the highlight of a 2003 season where he only won 2 games in 18 starts.

2002 Upper Deck 40 Man - [Base] #975 - Joey Hamilton - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Joey Hamilton - 2002

I have zero recollection of Joey Hamilton pitching for the Reds in 2002. However, he has the honor of starting the final Opening Day in Riverfront Stadium/Cinergy Field history. 

2001 Upper Deck Victory - [Base] #526 - Pete Harnisch - Courtesy of
Scan courtesy of

Pete Harnisch - 2000-2001

The Reds picked up Harnisch as a free agent before the 1998 season and was one of their better pitchers through the 2000 season before injuries set in again in 2001 and he only pitched in 7 games. The 2000 Reds squad went 85-77, finishing second in the NL Central. The 2001 squad bottomed out at 66-96 finishing dead last.

So there it is, every Reds Opening Day starter since 2000. I didn't remember half of these pitchers and some I forgot even played for the team. This was a pretty fun walk through the past and looking at the 2000s, I'd forgotten how bad some of those teams were (especially that 2001 team). Here's hoping the 2019 team can be one of the better teams in recent memory.


  1. When you look at the "quality" of day 1 starters for the Reds, it really is no surprise that they have had as many losing seasons as they've had. Here's hoping this year is better...c'mon .500 baseball at least.

  2. Yikes..aside from Cueto and maybe one or two others, that's bleak. The Reds' offense should be exciting in '19, hopefully the pitching can hold up well enough (go sign Dallas Keuchel!

  3. Are any of them still with the organization?

    1. The only one still around is Iglesias but he's now the Reds closer ... and a good one at that.