Quiz: Who Am I ? (solved)

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:

  1. I pitched primarily in relief in a career of more than both 10 seasons and 500 innings
  2. I never pitched in the post-season, but was twice traded in mid-season from teams that made the playoffs
  3. 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.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF SV IP ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
1981 24 MIL AL 0 0 0.00 2 0 2 0 2.1 3.89 1.286 0.0 0.0 11.6 11.6 1.00
1982 25 HOU NL 2 2 .500 6.04 6 6 0 0 28.1 56 2.58 1.518 10.2 0.3 3.5 7.9 2.27
1983 26 HOU NL 3 4 .429 2.65 53 0 32 20 71.1 128 2.12 1.009 6.6 0.3 2.5 8.5 3.35 RoY-6
1984 27 HOU NL 4 9 .308 3.35 57 0 44 14 75.1 99 3.03 1.460 8.8 0.4 4.3 7.8 1.81
1985 28 HOU NL 3 7 .300 4.03 54 0 29 6 76.0 86 4.37 1.474 8.2 0.8 5.1 5.8 1.14
1986 29 TOT NL 3 7 .300 4.37 61 0 26 3 80.1 88 4.00 1.295 8.3 1.2 3.4 7.8 2.33
1986 29 HOU NL 1 3 .250 3.57 31 0 14 3 40.1 101 4.38 1.066 6.0 1.1 3.6 6.0 1.69
1986 29 CHC NL 2 4 .333 5.18 30 0 12 0 40.0 78 3.62 1.525 10.6 1.4 3.2 9.7 3.07
1987 30 CHC NL 3 3 .500 3.15 69 0 20 4 80.0 136 3.80 1.363 8.4 0.8 3.8 6.9 1.79
1988 31 CHC NL 2 3 .400 4.98 63 0 23 6 90.1 73 3.17 1.483 10.2 0.6 3.2 6.9 2.16
1989 32 STL NL 9 0 1.000 2.45 67 0 8 0 88.1 148 3.33 1.053 7.4 0.6 2.0 4.5 2.20
1990 33 STL NL 5 2 .714 4.56 62 0 24 3 81.0 84 4.07 1.519 10.2 0.9 3.4 5.4 1.58
1992 35 STL NL 0 0 1.64 9 0 3 0 11.0 216 2.15 1.091 7.4 0.0 2.5 6.5 2.67
1993 36 KCR AL 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
12 Yrs 35 38 .479 3.83 514 6 216 56 700.0 96 3.48 1.346 8.7 0.7 3.5 6.6 1.91
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/4/2017.

 

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.

Year Age Tm Lg W L W-L% ERA G GS GF SV IP ERA+ FIP WHIP H9 HR9 BB9 SO9 SO/W Awards
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
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/4/2017.

 

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.

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Richard Chester
Richard Chester
3 years ago

Doug: I thought I came up with a surefire method of identifying the pitcher via the PI and Excel spreadsheets but, alas, it was not to be. I am going on vacation for a couple of weeks so I may not have time to do further work on it.

Doug
Doug
3 years ago

Have a nice holiday, Richard.

Jim
Jim
3 years ago

Frank DiPino?

Doug
Doug
3 years ago
Reply to  Jim

Nice work, Jim.

Piece of DiPino trivia is that he holds the Cardinals franchise record of 12 consecutive wins to start his tenure as a Redbird. That result helped him to have the largest differential in winning percentage between his under 30 seasons and those that followed among pitchers with 300 IP in both of those parts of their careers.

David P
David P
3 years ago

DiPino’s most notable post-30 win was winning the first ever night game at Wrigley Field:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN198808090.shtml

Doug
Doug
3 years ago

Speaking of mystery players, I noted that Putsy Caballero died last month. With his passing, there are now just 17 men living who played in the majors before the 1945 season, the youngest being Tommy Brown at age 89 and the oldest Eddie Carnett at 100. Among this group, Bobby Doerr played in over 1000 games before 1945 with Luis Olmo second at 191 games. Caballero was one of 8 players since 1901 to make his major league debut before his age 17 season (all eight also debuted before their 17th birthdays). Two of them (Caballero and Rogers McKee) appeared… Read more »

David P
David P
3 years ago

Completely unrelated but is Robinson Cano the first player with 33+ doubles in each of his first 12 seasons? I did a quick look though the career doubles leaders and didn’t see anyone else who has done that.

Doug
Doug
3 years ago
Reply to  David P

Absolutely correct. Pujols is the only other player to do it in his first 10 seasons. Todd Helton also did in his first 10 full seasons (he had an extended cup of coffee of 35 games in his debut season).

Speaker also had 12 consecutive seasons (1916-27) aged 28-39. Bobby Abreu is the only other player with 10 consecutive seasons (1999-2008) aged 25-34.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
3 years ago
Reply to  Doug

… and yet, Cano isn’t the 33-year-old with the most doubles, as that honor belongs to Miguel Cabrera (523 to Cano’s 479). Neither one is going to be in Tris Speaker territory, but they should both get well into the 600s, I would think.