Sunday, January 19, 2014

#144 Kent Mercker

About the Front: That is one of the most terrifying cases of pitcherface that I have ever seen. Kent Mercker looks like he is in agony.
About the Back: Though Kent was starring for the Durham Bulls the same year that Bull Durham was released, he didn't have much in common with the film's wild-armed phenom Nuke LaLoosh. Mercker walked 47 batters in 127.2 innings while striking out 159.

Triple Play:

1. In his first start of the 1994 season, he no-hit the Dodgers, totaling four walks and ten strikeouts. Mike Piazza whiffed three times.

2. Mercker hit one career home run in 282 plate appearances, but it was a grand slam off of Florida's Jesus Sanchez on September 2, 1998, fueling a 14-4 Cardinals win.

3. Kent was one of several Cubs players who was rubbed the wrong way by broadcaster and ex-pitcher Steve Stone's criticisms during the 2004 season. The lefty even called the booth once in midgame to complain.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: A few years down the road, Mercker's name became mud for me. He joined the Orioles in 1996 for a putrid 14-game stint that included a 7.76 ERA and 1.86 WHIP. Mercifully, the O's unloaded him on the Indians in the deal that brought Eddie Murray back to Baltimore.

Bill James Said: "A lefthander with a smoking fastball and a good curve, Mercker shot through the minor leagues, but has had some trouble establishing himself in the majors, blowing several opportunities to become the Braves' closer."

On This Date in 1993: January 19. The Czech Republic and Slovakia join the United Nations.

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