Anonymous Opening Day Starters (Of The 2000s)

  • Sunday, March 27, 2011 9:00 PM
  • Written By: Andrew Simon


Making it to the major leagues is an outstanding accomplishment. Earning a start on Opening Day, a sacred occasion in baseball and now just a week away, is a distinct honor. That being said, not everyone whose name is scrawled on the first lineup card of the season is a legend, a known commodity or even someone people will remember five years later.

Using Baseball-Reference’s catalogue of Opening Day lineups, I went back to the turn of the century and picked out the guys whose careers included the celebrated start – but not too much else. Let’s give ‘em another moment in the sun below.

Starting Pitcher: Dewon Brazelton, 2005 Devil Rays
Brazelton apparently went through a lot just to get to majors. Once there, the third pick of the 2001 draft out of Middle Tennessee State made just 43 starts, but one of them came on Opening Day 2005, when he pitched decently in a loss to the Blue Jays. Brazelton finished that season 1-8 with a 7.61 ERA, was traded in the offseason to the Padres and has not appeared in MLB since May 11, 2006. Last season he was pitching for the Kansas City T-Bones of the independent Northern League.
Honorable Mentions: Runelvys Hernandez (’03 Royals), Ryan Drese (’05 Rangers).

Catcher: Hector Ortiz, 2001 Royals
The ’01 Royals gave at least 100 plate appearances to four different catchers on their way to losing 97 games. One of those backstops was Ortiz, a 35th-round pick of the Dodgers in 1988 who had appeared in 30 games for the Royals over the previous three seasons. In spring training that year, Gregg Zaun tore a muscle in his calf, opening up the Day 1 start for Ortiz, who collected one of his 75 big-league hits that afternoon. Ortiz played seven games for the Rangers the next year and hung around the minors through 2005.
Honorable Mentions: Danny Ardoin (’06 Rockies), Ken Huckaby (’03 Blue Jays)

First Base: Scott Thorman, 2007 Braves
The Braves selected Thorman in the first round of the 2000 draft out of Ontario, Canada, brought him to the majors in 2006 and handed the 25-year-old the starting job the following season after dealing Adam LaRoche to the Pirates. Thorman went 0-for-4 in the opener against the Phillies and never found his way at the plate at the big league level, hitting .216/.258/.394 in 307 plate appearances in ‘07. He has been stuck in the minors ever since, playing last season for the Royals’ Triple-A affiliate.
Honorable Mentions: Kevin Barker (’00 Brewers), Lance Niekro (’06 Giants)

Check out the full lineup at

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