Wednesday, July 3, 2013

#29 Dwayne Henry

About the Front: This is our second straight card featuring a player adjusting his headwear. Of course, Dwayne Henry looks considerably more sweaty than Joe Orsulak did. It must be a steamy night in...judging from the blurry blue-and-gold outfield fence and artificial turf, I'm going to say it's a toss-up between Pittsburgh and St. Louis. Anyone else feel like weighing in?

About the Back: I am all too familiar with Dwayne's birthplace of Elkton. It's part of the route east from my parents' house that I took to get to Washington College, my alma mater. In fact, I would turn onto Route 213 in Elkton, signaling the rough midway point of the journey. It always seemed like I would see signs for Elkton for a 20-mile stretch before I ever reached it. I'd eventually start wondering if I'd somehow missed the town, and thereby my turn, only to finally get there a few moments later. This has been a long and pointless anecdote from Kevin.

Triple Play:

1. Henry's lone career start came in his penultimate big league season. On May 17, 1993, the Mariners threw him to the wolves in a road game against the Rangers. He took the mound in the bottom of the fifth with an 8-2 lead, struck out Benji Gil, then allowed four straight hits, including three for extra bases. He was replaced by Jeff Nelson with a runner on third and three runs in. The inherited runner scored, making it 8-6. Texas got as close as 8-7, but Seattle scored in three of the final four innings to win going away, 16-9.

2. Take another look at the back of the card above to see Dwayne's odd career path. He pitched in fewer than 20 big league games in each of his first six seasons, then performed poorly in 34 tries for a bad Braves team in 1990, only to get (and make good on) a shot with the Astros in 1991. He had 112 games pitched with a 3.27 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in 1991-92, but a 1.48 strikeout-to-walk ratio suggested that he was doing it with some smoke and mirrors. He was awful in Seattle in 1993, missed the 1994 season, and was hammered in a short stint in Detroit in 1995 to close the lid on his MLB opportunities.

3. Henry pitched in the independent Atlantic League for the Somerset Patriots in 1998-99 and the Newark Bears in 2001 with diminishing returns: 3.20 ERA in 81.2 IP, 5.52 ERA in 45.2 IP, then 7.30 in 24.2 IP.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: At that young age, I had no idea where Elkton was. I just saw that Henry was born in Maryland and thought that was cool.

Bill James Said: "The three relief pitchers named 'Henry' had an aggregate ERA of 3.84 in 1992 (3.33 to 4.02) and 6.06 in '93 (5.56 to 6.44). Does anybody know for sure that there are three of these guys?" The other Henrys were Doug of the Brewers and Butch of the Rockies and Expos.

On This Date in 1993: July 3. Dodgers Hall of Famer pitcher Don Drysdale died suddenly of a heart attack at age 56. Drysdale was a radio broadcaster for the team at the time; he was found dead in his hotel room in Montreal. It's been a morbid week for this blog, hasn't it?

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