As we await this month’s HoF balloting, here’s a little diversion in a bit different format from most of my quizzes. Here are the clues:
- I pitched primarily in relief in a career of more than both 10 seasons and 500 innings
- I never pitched in the post-season, but was twice traded in mid-season from teams that made the playoffs
- I pitched in both leagues, but played in the AL only for expansion teams
Congratulations to Jim! He knew that our mystery player was none other than Frank DiPino, (mostly) an NL reliever from the 1980s and early 1990s. More on DiPino after the jump.
4. My career is fairly evenly split between my twenties and thirties, with my IP and ERA results varying by less than 10% for the portions of my career through age 29 and aged 30 and older
5. But, more than 75% of my career losses came before my age 30 season
That should be enough to identify our mystery man (but I have more clues, if needed). So, who am I ?
Here is DiPino’s career.
|162 Game Avg.||5||5||.479||3.83||67||1||28||7||92||96||3.48||1.346||8.7||0.7||3.5||6.6||1.91|
|HOU (5 yrs)||13||25||.342||3.65||201||6||119||43||291.1||94||3.30||1.304||7.8||0.6||3.9||7.2||1.85|
|STL (3 yrs)||14||2||.875||3.34||138||0||35||3||180.1||111||3.59||1.264||8.7||0.7||2.7||5.0||1.87|
|CHC (3 yrs)||7||10||.412||4.32||162||0||55||10||210.1||92||3.49||1.445||9.6||0.8||3.4||7.4||2.16|
|KCR (1 yr)||1||1||.500||6.89||11||0||5||0||15.2||68||5.54||1.723||12.1||1.1||3.4||2.9||0.83|
|MIL (1 yr)||0||0||0.00||2||0||2||0||2.1||3.89||1.286||0.0||0.0||11.6||11.6||1.00|
|NL (10 yrs)||34||37||.479||3.77||501||6||209||56||682.0||97||3.44||1.337||8.6||0.7||3.4||6.7||1.95|
|AL (2 yrs)||1||1||.500||6.00||13||0||7||0||18.0||77||5.33||1.667||10.5||1.0||4.5||4.0||0.89|
The two times DiPino was traded from a playoff bound club were: in 1982 when he was one of three young players named later by the Brewers when Milwaukee acquired veteran Don Sutton from the Astros; and in 1986 when the Astros shipped him to Chicago for another aging vet in 41 year-old (and former Sutton teammate) Davey Lopes.
Houston briefly tried out DiPino as a starter in 1982. His unlikely combination of a 6.04 ERA and 2.58 FIP that year is one of only 14 live ball era seasons of 5+ starts having more than a 2:1 ratio between those metrics (though, curiously, three of those campaigns occurred in that same 1982 season).
DiPino’s 14-2 record with the Cardinals stands in stark contrast to his 21-36 mark everywhere else, with his Redbird success the principal reason he enjoys the largest improvement in W-L% among pitchers with 300 IP both before and after their age 30 seasons. Here is how those halves of his career look.
|1981-1986||24-29||MIL, HOU, CHC||AL,NL||15||29||.341||3.80||233||6||133||43||333.2||92||3.34||1.331||8.1||0.6||3.9||7.5||1.95|
|1987-1993||30-36||CHC, STL, KCR||NL,AL||20||9||.690||3.86||281||0||83||13||366.1||100||3.61||1.359||9.1||0.7||3.1||5.8||1.87|
DiPino’s success in St. Louis included a record 12 game win streak to start his tenure in the Gateway City, the longest for any Cardinal pitcher. Only Brooks Lawrence with 13 straight wins for the 1957 Redlegs has a longer such streak for any franchise.