Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Happy Birthday, John

If dictionaries really worked like the saying, this is the picture that would be next to crafty lefthander. John Tudor, one of my favorite pitchers of all time, was born today in 1954 in Schenectady, New York (only a month younger than me!).

In 1985 Tudor pitched 10 shutouts, two of them ten-inning games. In fact, I clearly remember the game where he went head to head with Dwight Gooden, both of them pitching shutout ball for nine innings. The Mets manager put in a relief pitcher, who gave up a home run, and Tudor came in and wrapped up the game. He pitched three times in the World Series that year, brilliantly in Game One and even better in Game Four, but then he fell apart in Game Seven, leaving in the third inning.

In 1987 Mets catcher Barry Lyons crashed into the dugout chasing a pop fly and broke Tudor's leg. The next year, despite a good ERA, he was traded to Los Angeles, where he again posted a great ERA and got a World Series ring, but he blew out his elbow doing it and retired a year later.

"Deep fences and fast outfielders," he said once when asked why he was so much better in St Louis than he had been in Boston; his style was not made for Fenway.

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