Monday, July 8, 2013

#31 Derek Lilliquist

About the Front: This is a decent action shot, with Derek Lilliquist having just finished his delivery and maybe even attempting to spring off of the mound to field a comebacker. The tarp roll looms in the background, large and unsightly. Speaking of unsightly, I'm glad that the Indians ditched their "racing stripes" jersey when they redesigned the uniform for 1994. This older one will always give me fuzzy memories of "Major League", but it's not a great look.

About the Back: Derek was a helluva waivers pickup by Cleveland. He'd been a mediocre-to-poor starter in Atlanta and San Diego, but the Indians shifted him to the bullpen full-time and he posted an 0.92 WHIP and 225 ERA+ in 1992. He was fourth in the American League in appearances that year, as only Kenny Rogers, Duane Ward, and teammate Steve Olin were called upon more often.

Triple Play:

1. Lilliquist did most of the heavy lifting in a May 1, 1990 5-2 win over the Mets.
In addition to tossing seven innings of three-hit, two-run ball, he hit a pair of solo home runs off of Ron Darling - the only two homers of his career.

2. After putting up a 2.25 ERA and 10 saves for the Indians in 1993, Derek's career took a sharp downward turn. His ERA jumped to 4.91 the following year, then he allowed 16 earned runs in 23 innings with the Red Sox in 1995, prompting his release. He made five appearances with the Reds in 1996, yielding three runs in three and two-thirds innings, and that was the end of his time in the big leagues.

3. He's been a coach in the Cardinals organization for the past decade, and has been with the big league club since 2011. Last year, he replaced Dave Duncan as pitching coach for St. Louis.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Lilliquist was one of those guys that I underestimated because of his appearance - a little dumpy with scraggly hair and a wispy blond mustache. You can't always judge a book by its cover, folks.

Bill James Said: "The Indians tried to make him their closer, and that didn't work; he blew three of four save chances and his ERA ballooned." "Ballooned" is a bit harsh, as Derek's highest ERA by month in 1993 was 3.71 in 17 innings in August. But as noted above, his late-season scuffle was a possible indicator of trouble ahead.

On This Date in 1993: July 8. Egypt executes seven Islamic extremists for attacks on foreign tourists.


  1. One of the charms of baseball (and one of its mysteries) is a guy hitting the only two dingers of his career in the same game. I love learning stuff like that. Thanks, Kevin

  2. Bob - Thank you! I know what you of my most treasured absurd baseball moments was watching Felix Pie hit for the cycle live and in person at Camden Yards.