Monday, September 29, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #145 JOSE GUZMAN

MADE CUBS FANS FORGET MADDUX. 


FOR ONE START, THAT IS.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Cubs General Manger Larry Himes did Jose Guzman no favors after signing him as a free agent in the winter of 1992. Giving him a multi-year deal, Himes said Guzman would make Cubs fans forget about #85 Greg Maddux, who left that December for the Braves. Not quite. Guzman made a combined 34 starts in '93 and '94, winning 14 games. Maddux won 194 games and three more Cy Young Awards in Atlanta. Guzman pitched eight seasons all told, going 80-74 with a 4.05 ERA, averaging 160 strikeouts and 86 walks a season. 

DEFINING MOMENT

  • Guzman made Himes look like a genius in his debut in the season's second game on April 6, 1993, against the Braves no less. Guzman had a no-hitter with two outs in the ninth when #181 Otis Nixon ruined the mood at Wrigley Field with a single. Guzman settled for a one-hit shutout.

DEFINING SEASON

  • With the Rangers, the team that drafted him in '81, Guzman won AL Comeback Player of the Year in '91, posting a 13-7 record and 3.08 ERA and an ERA+ of 132.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Followed his comeback season with a career-high 16 wins in '92, striking a career-high 179.
  2. His '92 season was well-timed entering his walk year as the Cubs pounced and signed him for four years, $15 million.
  3. Won 12 games in his first season in Chicago, pitching 191 innings, compiling a 4.34 ERA and striking out 163.
  4. A shoulder injury curtailed his '94 season after only four starts, which would be his final major-league appearances.
  5. Started the Guzman23 Foundation in honor of his mom, who suffered with Alzheimer's disease. The organization provides financial assistance for those with the disease.

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