Sunday, December 14, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #169 CHARLIE HOUGH

GOT THE W IN MARLINS' INAUGURAL GAME.


HAD THAT DISTINCTIVE HIGH-ELBOW REACH BACK.


DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Charlie Hough was precisely a .500 pitcher, but that's not as ordinary as it sounds. He won 216 games, the most of any .500 hurler, and was the only pitcher to make 400-plus career starts and 400-plus relief appearances. Yes, in his 25 years in the game, from which he retired after the 1994 season at age 46, Hough was certainly a compiler of volume statistics. He also ranks in the top 100 all-time in wins, top 50 in strikeouts (2,362) and top 20 in wild pitches (179).

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On Aug. 12, 1970, Hough made his major-league debut for the Dodgers against the Pirates in an L.A. blowout. He was called on to face Al Oliver in the ninth inning with two on and two out in a mop-up appearance. He walked Oliver and up strode Willie Stargell with the bases loaded and score 11-4. Having just learned the knuckler in the '70 instructional league, Hough figured catcher Steve Yeager would call for it when the count reached full. Instead, Yeager put down one finger. Hough sneaked the fastball past the flailing Stargell. 

DEFINING SEASON

  • Hough is the last pitcher to make 40 starts in a season, occurring in '87 with the Rangers when he won a career-high 18 games and struck out a career-best 223 batters. He led the majors in innings pitched with 285.1 and finished with a 3.79 ERA and 118 ERA+.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Born in Hawaii and raised in Hialeah, Fla., Hough was an eighth-round pick in the '66 draft.
  2. Made 440 starts and 418 relief appearances.
  3. Broke in as a reliever for the Dodgers for good in '73 and spent the first 12 seasons in the pen before becoming a full-time starter with the Rangers in '82.
  4. After hurting his shoulder and being stuck in Double A, Hough began learning the knuckleball as a last resort to make the majors.
  5. He won 15-plus games six times. 

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