Tuesday, October 1, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #65 BEN McDONALD


NEVER BECAME THE ACE EVERYONE EXPECTED.




BUT HE WAS A COLLEGE AND OLYMPIC STAR.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • The No. 1 pick of the major-league draft in 1989 as a junior out of LSU, 6-foot-7 Ben McDonald was considered a sure-bet future ace. Unfortunately for the Orioles, who had the top pick after a 107-loss season and needed arms worse than the Grenadian military, he was never better than a No. 2 or 3 during his nine-year career. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • However, the sky seemed to be the limit after his first major-league start on July 21, 1990. McDonald shut out the White Sox on four hits with five strikeouts and a walk, needing only 85 pitches. It was the first of three victories to begin his career.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Although he was only 13-14 in '93, McDonald threw seven complete games, pitching 220.1 innings, allowing 185 hits, striking out 171 with an ERA of 3.39.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Led Team USA to the '88 Olympic gold medal, going 2-0 with a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings. 
  2. Started only two games in Class A before making his debut in Baltimore in September '89.
  3. McDonald was the first No. 1 pick to win his first three major-league starts. The Pirates' Gerrit Cole matched that feat this year.
  4. A free agent after '95, he signed with the Brewers, going 12-10 with a 3.90 ERA.
  5. A shoulder injury cost him part of the '97 season, but unsuccessful rotator cuff surgery forced him to retire.

ACQUIRED DURING SPRING TRAINING IN THE EARLY '90s.

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