Thursday, July 17, 2014

#253 Jose Guzman

About the Front: Maybe it's a trick of perspective, but it looks like Jose Guzman has a fairly short stride in his pitching delivery.

About the Back: Guzman won the American League Comeback Player of the Year Award for that strong 1991 season, which came after a torn rotator cuff in his throwing shoulder sidelined him for the previous two years.

Triple Play:

1. Jose signed with the Cubs prior to the 1993 season, and in his Chicago debut on April 6, 1993, he held the Braves hitless until Otis Nixon singled with two outs in the ninth inning. He settled for the one-hit shutout, a 1-0 squeaker of a win.

2. More shoulder problems resulted in Guzman throwing his last big league pitch in May of 1994, at age 31. He made a comeback with the unaffiliated Fort Worth Cats seven years later, going 5-2 with a 1.65 ERA. The righty came back down to earth in 2002, but was still competitive with a 6-8 mark and a 4.20 ERA in 17 starts for the Cats.

3. He's done Spanish language radio broadcasts for the Rangers, and attended the team's most recent spring training as a special instructor.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I haven't talked in this space about one of my other favorite sets from this time, 1994 Score. It remains incomplete, which I'm going to blame on A)not being able to focus on one set, instead buying packs from several different brands throughout that year and B)scaling back my interest due to frustration with the players' strike. Anyway, Jose had a pretty great card in that set.

Bill James Said: "In my opinion, Guzman will continue to be a fine pitcher for several years, but the Cubs need to be careful not to push him when the back acts up." How about the shoulder?

On This Date in 1993: July 17. Shawn Hillegas tosses a scoreless inning of mop-up relief for the Athletics in a 9-5 loss to the Yankees, who are tied for first with Toronto in a wild American League East. The Orioles and Tigers are each a half-game behind, and Boston lurks just two games back of the leaders. Why mention Hillegas? This is his final big league game, bringing to an end an uneven seven-year career (24-38, 4.61 ERA, 1.47 WHIP). Shawn is not featured in the 1993 Topps set, so I pounced at the opportunity to run Bill James' hilariously brutal assessment of him. To wit: "A truly dreadful pitcher, having none of the attributes of a major league hurler except for what they say is a live arm. He doesn't have a breaking pitch, his control is poor, and his record is consistently bad for a long period of time. To be honest, I really have no idea what in the hell he is doing in the major leagues."

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