Tuesday, July 23, 2024

Baseball Trivia: Tommy John Doesn’t Work On This Arm

Here’s a fun pitching trivia nugget.

This right-handed hurler from San Cristobal, Dominican Republic has a career record of 116-91with a 3.24 ERA, 1606 strikeouts (currently ranking him 181st all-time), and 36.5 bWAR. Before the rule was in effect prohibiting teams from signing international prospects under the age of 16, this righty was signed by the New York Yankees at 15 years old. He would only appear in 24 games (62.1 IP) for the Yanks. It seems that their system didn’t work for him – he felt they had too many coaches telling him too many different things – and he was involved in the trade that put Rickey Henderson in pinstripes. Needless to say, there’s a lot to this question, so strap in and enjoy the ride!

From 1990 to 2000 only six NL pitchers had seasons of 170.0 or more innings pitched, an ERA+ of 150 or higher, and no less than 10 and no more than 15 wins. I will tell you five of those names, a bunch of fun stuff, and then you have to figure out the sixth name. Let’s start with those other five guys; I think you’ve heard of them. In chronological order, Dennis Martinez (1991 w/ the Montreal Expos), Curt Schilling (’92 Phillies), Bret Saberhagen (’94 Mets), Greg Maddux (’96 Braves), and Kevin Brown (2000 Dodgers).

Photo Credit: Chris Vleisides

Some great tidbits within those search parameters:

– He is the only one whose name appears twice.

– His 1993 season leads this group in strikeouts at 227, which led the NL (he also led the NL in K/9 with 7.9 that season).

– In 1991, he had a .714 win percentage, which is second to Saberhagen’s .778 in ’94 amongst the group.

– His ERAs in ’91 & ’93 (2.51 and 2.48 respectively) are third and fourth-best behind ’92 Schilling (2.35) and ’91 Martinez (2.39). While they are fantastic ERAs, they only afforded him second-place finishes to Martinez in ’91 and Maddux in ’93 amongst league leaders those years.

– Only Dennis Martinez failed to match everybody else on this list when it comes to championships. Brown, Maddux, and our distinguished guest are the three who won titles during the span of ’90-’00 and he is also the only one with a World Series MVP next to his name in that time (Saberhagen and Schilling have also won WS MVPs, but not in the specified years). In two World Series starts, he went 2-0 (15.1 IP) with a 0.59 ERA, 0.913 WHIP, and 14 strikeouts to earn that World Series MVP trophy.

Born May 13th, 1965 on the 100th anniversary of the last combat engagement of the American Civil War (Battle of Palmito Ranch), he shares a birthday with Heavyweight Champ Joe Louis, singers Mary Wells and Stevie Wonder, NBA enigma Dennis Rodman, and musician Alison Goldfrapp. Thirteen years to the day before his birth, Ron Necciai became the only pitcher ever to strike out 27 batters in a nine-inning, professional game. His birth also marks the 11th anniversary of the first atmospheric nuclear test by the United States at Enewetak Atoll in the Pacific Proving Grounds.

Unfortunately for his playing career, he has been touted as one of the greatest failures of Tommy John Surgery. He stretched a rehab of around a year into a five-year absence from the majors as he continued to re-injure his arm and shoulder, sometimes rushing his throwing regimen, and also due to the additional surgeries needed.

The first player he struck out was Greg Pryor and his last career K was of a young Jimmy Rollins caught looking.

Have I provided enough crumbs for you to track down the name of the pitcher who was married to Rosie Marichal, daughter of Hall of Famer Juan Marichal?

If you’re still as stumped as Marichal was to find out his daughter was marrying a ballplayer, click here for the ANSWER!

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