Saturday, May 10, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #132 TOM CANDIOTTI

ANOTHER KNUCKLEBALLER WHO PERSEVERED.



QUIETLY BECAME A DAMN GOOD PITCHER WITH THE INDIANS.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • It was easy to overlook Tom Candiotti. Undrafted, he wallowed in the minors in the early 1980s, blew out his elbow and had to master the knuckleball to stay in The Show. But master it he did, winning 151 games and posting a 3.73 ERA in 16 seasons with five teams.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Making his second career start on Aug. 25, 1983, for the Brewers and becoming only the second major-leaguer to pitch after having Tommy John surgery, Candiotti shut out the Angels, 7-0, outdueling ... Tommy John.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Candiotti began experimenting with the knuckler after the Brewers released him in '85. The Indians signed him, and he had his best season in '86. He won a career-high 16 games, had a 3.57 ERA, three shutouts, a league-high 17 complete games and pitched 252.1 innings.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Candiotti's success in the Puerto Rican winter league in '85 attracted the attention of the Indians.
  2. Had only one losing season in Cleveland, going 73-66 in seven years.
  3. The Indians sent him to the Blue Jays, whom he helped win the division title '91.
  4. Candiotti had a cameo role in 61, playing, who else, knuckleball pitcher Hoyt Wilhelm.
  5. A serious baseball card collector, Candiotti had his collection, which includes Eddie Plank, Joe Jackson and Ty Cobb cards, appraised at $3.5 million in '03, according to Forbes magazine.

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