The 3 best Mets pitchers to never start for the team on Opening Day

Jon Matlack
Jon Matlack / Focus On Sport/GettyImages
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2) Ron Darling

Ron Darling has that star power…the talent and the confidence that define the ace of a staff. Darling had a successful college career at Yale, where he went head to head with eventual teammate Frank Viola in a 12-inning 1-0 loss that is considered one of the greatest pitched collegiate games of all time.

That game put Darling on everyone’s radar. And when the Mets had a chance to get him, they did…in exchange for the face of the franchise, Lee Mazzilli.

Darling was always a consummate professional...he was consistent on the mound, an excellent fielder, and even often helped himself out as a capable hitter at times. He was a really good athlete with a great head for the game.

But Darling would always take a back seat to Dwight Gooden, who would always be considered the ace of the staff, and who started every opening day from 1985 to 1991. That is, with the exception of 1987 when Bobby Ojeda got the start when Gooden found himself unable to start the season.

Like Jon Matlack, Darling would, himself, get a Game 1 start…in the 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox.

Darling would spend nine seasons with the Mets and pitch to a record of 99-70 with a 3.50 ERA, winning a Gold Glove award and making one All Star appearance.