Monday, March 24, 2014

#182 Ron Darling

About the Front: I don't think I've ever realized that the "O" on Oakland's road jersey didn't have a loop inside of it. At least that was the case from 1987 through 1993, according to my just-now research. It looks odd, sitting out there all alone. I'm glad they fixed that in 1994.

About the Back: You can toss a shutout, hurl a shutout, pitch a shutout, throw a shutout, craft a shutout, deliver a shutout...use a thesaurus, Topps!

Triple Play:

1. Darling is the most accomplished big leaguer from Yale University, and famously dueled St. John's lefty Frank Viola for 11 scoreless innings in a May 21, 1981 game before St. John's pulled it out with a double steal in the 12th. It was an incredibly tough loss for Darling, who hadn't even given up a hit before the decisive inning.

2. Do you want to see Ron Darling on the cover of the August 1986 issue of GQ? Of course you do.

3. Ron has been a color analyst for Mets' TV broadcasts since 2006, and has also worked in that capacity for TBS on national broadcasts. He has also worked for MLB Network as a studio analyst.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I only knew Ron Darling as an end-of-the-line veteran in Oakland. I never appreciated how good he'd been in his prime with the Mets.

Bill James Said: "Failed to follow up on his fine 1992 season, winning only five of 29 starts, and might be through as a rotation starter." The A's were so bad in the mid-1990s that Darling lasted two more seasons in their rotation, having a minor bounceback in 1994 (10-11, 4.50 ERA, 98 ERA+) before scuffling his way to a mid-August release in 1995 (4-7, 6.23 ERA, 69 ERA+).

On This Date in 1993: March 24. The final episode of Doogie Howser, M.D. airs on ABC. Whatever happened to that kid, anyway?

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