Monday, December 9, 2013

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #82 MARK LANGSTON


QUITE A FIRST IMPRESSION WITH ANGELS.



STRUCK OUT NEARLY 2,500 BATTERS IN HIS CAREER.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Left-hander Mark Langston won 179 games and struck out 2,464 batters in his 16-year career pitching for five teams, but his connection to the Mariners as ace and foe is eternal. After spending his first six seasons in Seattle, the four-time All-Star was traded to the Expos in 1989 for a package of players that included #154 Randy Johnson. Mariner fans hated the trade at the time. In an interesting twist of fate, Langston, then with the Angels, and Johnson, the new ace of the Mariners, would square off in the '95 AL West Division one-game playoff that the Mariners won 9-1 to begin their inaugural playoff run.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On April 11, 1990, in his first start for Angels, with whom he signed with in the off-season, Langston pitched seven no-hit innings against -- who else? the Mariners. He was removed after 99 pitches because the lockout shortened spring training and pitchers' arms weren't built up. Mike Witt relieved and completed the 1-0 no-hitter with two perfect innings.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Langston tied a career-high in victories in '91, going 19-8 with a 3.00 ERA and 183 strikeouts. He was named to his second All-Star team and won his third Gold Glove.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting to Mariners teammate Alvin Davis.
  2. Won three AL strikeout titles in his first four seasons and for his career averaged 7.5 strikeouts per nine innings.
  3. The Mariners led the Angels 1-0 in the bottom of the seventh in that '95 one-game playoff when Langston gave up a fluke double to Luis Sojo that scored three runs and Langston's throwing error allowed Sojo to come around.
  4. Langston retired as the all-time leader in pickoffs with 91. His record has since been eclipsed by Kenny Rogers, Terry Mulholland and Andy Pettitte.
  5. Finished fifth in AL Cy Young Award voting in '87, when he went 19-13 and struck out a career-high and AL-leading 263 batters.

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