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Rojo
08-20-2006, 06:57 PM
Even though every ball player leaves their unique fingerprint on the game of baseball, sometimes, a guy has leaves behind a career that strikes me as odd.

One guy that always puzzled me was former Astro ace Mike Scott. He was a terribly mediocre pitcher, with low k-rates and high era's, until his age 31 season in 1986 when he fanned 306 in 275 innings. He led the Astros to the NLCS that year, winning 18 games with 2.22 era. And he won both the Cy Young and NLCS MVP.

He had three more great seasons, topped by a 20-win season in 1989.

Then in 1990 at age 35 he was suddenly mediocre again, the strike-outs fell and his era went above league average. He pitched 7 innings the next year and was never heard from again.

To those of you who are too young to remember, it's hard to overstate how big a star Mike Scott was. His success was so brief and his counting stats so paltry, that his career didn't leave much of a wake. But for four years he was the man.

Scott always credited the split-fingered pitch with his remarkable transformation. And there many who felt that pitch shredded his arm. But could one pitch make that big a difference?

Does anyone else recall a playing career that just didn't fit any kind of pattern?

UKFlounder
08-20-2006, 07:15 PM
Splitter or a spitter? There were lots of rumors that he scuffed balss before pitching them

PuffyPig
08-20-2006, 07:17 PM
I think it's common knowledge that he used the spitter.

FlyingPig
08-20-2006, 07:26 PM
Brady Anderson
Mark Fidrych, The Bird
Oil Can Boyd
Joe Carboneau
Al Hrabrosky, The Mad Hungarian

Baseball has always been full of those who didn't define the norm... :)

Chip R
08-20-2006, 08:19 PM
I think it's common knowledge that he used the spitter.

To be technical, it was more like a scuffer than a spitter. But he was not the only one on the staff that was suspected of doctoring the ball. Joe Niekro got nailed trying to get rid of the evidence once. And even Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan was suspected strongly of doctoring the ball. I wanted to believe that Scott was using a legit pitch but an All Star game back in the mid 80s convinced me otherwise. Scott was pitching and Gary Carter from the Mets was catching. They were two of the best teams in the league at the time and hadf an epic playoff series against each other the year before. But a funny thing happened to Scotts splitter when Carter was catching: it did not break nearly as sharp as it did in other games. Could it be that Scott did not want Carter to know for sure he was doctoring the ball?

Rojo
08-20-2006, 08:29 PM
Brady Anderson
Mark Fidrych, The Bird
Oil Can Boyd
Joe Carboneau
Al Hrabrosky, The Mad Hungarian

Baseball has always been full of those who didn't define the norm... :)

Yeah, Anderson and Fidrych are two I thought of as well but, to be clear, I don't necessarily mean "characters", just odd career arcs. And I should also add that we've seen some "odd" ones of late and we're beginning to discover why.


I remember the Neikro incident but didn't realize (or don't remember) the rumors about Scott. You have wonder why more don't try it.

RedFanAlways1966
08-20-2006, 08:48 PM
I remember the Neikro incident but didn't realize (or don't remember) the rumors about Scott. You have wonder why more don't try it.

I'd think that it is a pretty easy act to get nabbed and that is why it is not done. To throw a baseball that moves in strange ways usually requires leaving tell-tale signs on the baseball. Umpires in the modern times tend to look at baseballs often and are usually capable of detecting strange movements.

Cedric
08-20-2006, 08:50 PM
Doug Strange.

Johnny Footstool
08-21-2006, 01:03 AM
I think Team Clark said he talked to Bill Doran years later, and Doran revealed that Scott wasn't scuffing the ball himself, but rather his infielders had sandpaper in their gloves and would scuff the ball for him when they threw it around the infield.

Cedric
08-21-2006, 01:06 AM
I think Team Clark said he talked to Bill Doran years later, and Doran revealed that Scott wasn't scuffing the ball himself, but rather his infielders had sandpaper in their gloves and would scuff the ball for him when they threw it around the infield.

If that's true it's awesome.

The thinking man game.

harangatang
08-21-2006, 02:07 AM
Anyone want to throw Hatteberg's name in the in the list? A career year for the first time at 37 isn't all that usual.

BCubb2003
08-21-2006, 03:00 AM
Ted Power had an unusual career, going from top closer to Danny Graves-like meltdowns to a long and respectable career as a starter.

redsmetz
08-21-2006, 05:38 AM
I'd add Denny McLain to that list.

redsmetz
08-21-2006, 05:47 AM
Anyone want to throw Hatteberg's name in the in the list? A career year for the first time at 37 isn't all that usual.

I think that's a bit of a stretch. While his BA is improved considerably this year, his RBI and HR numbers are about on par with his Oakland years. I think he's a case of a position switch giving him some offensive consistancy, IMO.

MaineRed
08-21-2006, 06:51 AM
Was going to say the same thing redsmetz. Its not like Hatty is now a dominant player.

How about fellow Mainer, Billy Swift. In 93 he won 21 games. His second highest win total was 11. He threw 232 innings that 93 season. Never got about 175 again in his career. He only went over 130 innings 3 times.

He did have a good career though. 94-78 over 13 MLB seasons with a 3.95 ERA.

MrCinatit
08-21-2006, 07:20 AM
Steve Stone had a rather plain career - then at 32, came out of nowhere to win the Cy Young. Two years later, he was done.
Pete Runnels was a pretty fair player with the Senators in the '50s. Then he went to the Redsox, and became a rather good hitter, getting two batting titles in his early 30s.
Reliever MIke Marshall had roller coaster numbers - some great numbers in the early/mid '70s. Then he resurfaced with Minnesota in the late '70s with some pretty fair numbers again.
Then there is the ultimate late bloomer in Dazzy Vance, whose career record was 0-4 before he turned 31. After that, he went 197-136 with some bad Brooklyn teams.

oneupper
08-21-2006, 09:46 AM
I think that's a bit of a stretch. While his BA is improved considerably this year, his RBI and HR numbers are about on par with his Oakland years. I think he's a case of a position switch giving him some offensive consistancy, IMO.

Platoon has help Hat too.

oneupper
08-21-2006, 09:48 AM
I'd add Denny McLain to that list.

McLain's demise was self-inflicted. More like Carbo and Howe.
Drugs, alcohol and bad company.

redsmetz
08-21-2006, 10:02 AM
McLain's demise was self-inflicted. More like Carbo and Howe.
Drugs, alcohol and bad company.

I meant to go back and add that comment. You are right that he ruined himself, as did a number of players, as you note, during that time.

westofyou
08-21-2006, 10:09 AM
If that's true it's awesome.

The thinking man game.

Yankee cathers were prone to keeping their buckles on their shinguards sharp in certain areas so a quick scuff against them would help out Whitey Ford.

Rick Rhoden used to put notes in his glove for the umps to read when they can him the once over for the illeagal substance. They would read, "Right church, wrong pew" or "You're getting warmer."

westofyou
08-21-2006, 10:11 AM
McLain's demise was self-inflicted. More like Carbo and Howe.
Drugs, alcohol and bad company.
And too many innings as well, the man was throwing a bunch from 66-69, he faced 4648 batters.. he also drank about a case of Pepsi a day... hmmm healthy.

westofyou
08-21-2006, 10:13 AM
How about fellow Mainer, Billy Swift. In 93 he won 21 games. His second highest win total was 11. He threw 232 innings that 93 season. Never got about 175 again in his career. He only went over 130 innings 3 times.Roger Craig and the Splitter destroyed many a Giants pitcher from 87-92 and few others after he left.

registerthis
08-21-2006, 10:45 AM
Lima Time!

Hap
08-21-2006, 12:08 PM
Dean Chance was quite possible the third best pitcher in the city of Los Angeles during the 1960s, but he was virtually unknown.