Monday, August 12, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #53 BRET SABERHAGEN


WON 10 GAMES IN HIS FIRST 2 YEARS IN N.Y.




REDEEMED HIMSELF IN '94: 14-4, 2.74.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Bret Saberhagen had an odd eight years as the Royals' ace. He developed a pattern of following poor years in even-numbered seasons with good years in odd. It started in his rookie season in 1984 and concluded with his final year in Kansas City in '91. Saberhagen's record in even-numbered seasons was 36-48; 74-30 in odd. You could say when Saberhagen was on, he was odd, a winner of two Cy Young Awards in '85 and '89 and a three-time All-Star. He won 167 games with a 3.34 ERA during his 16-year career.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Saberhagen throttled the Cardinals in the '85 World Series, especially in Game 7 on Oct. 27. He pitched his second Series complete game, scattering five hits without a walk in the 11-0 victory. He was named the World Series MVP as the Royals won their first title. Hard to believe it's the last time they've played in the postseason.

DEFINING SEASON

  • His '89 season was one of the best of the '80s that left bold italicized type all over his Baseball-Reference stat page. He led baseball in victories (23), ERA (2.16), complete games (12), innings (262.1), WHIP (0.961) and winning percentage (.793). He received all but one vote (Dave Stewart got the other) in the AL Cy Young voting.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Saberhagen gave a preview of what was to come in the playoffs during his rookie season. Facing the powerhouse Tigers in Game 2 of the ALCS, he pitched eight innings and allowed two earned runs on six hits. The Tigers eventually won 5-3 in 11 innings.
  2. After going 7-12 in '86, he was 15-3 at the break in '87 but finished 18-10 with a 3.36 ERA.
  3. No-hit the White Sox on Aug. 26, 1991, walking two and striking out five. He faced 30 hitters and threw 114 pitches.
  4. In the '91 off-season, Saberhagen was traded to the Mets, along with Bill Pecota, for Kevin McReynolds, #83 Gregg Jefferies and Keith Miller
  5. Pitched four seasons in New York (29-21) and four with the Red Sox (26-17) with a two-year injury-filled stint with the Rockies in between.

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