Tuesday, November 4, 2014

#314 Mark Gardner

About the Front: Astroturf. So abnormally bright green. There's one late-20th-century blight that is on the wane in today's game.

About the Back: Mark's amateur summer baseball team was the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Other Anchorage alumni include Jacoby Ellsbury, Jeff Francis, current Toronto skipper John Gibbons, Mark McGwire, and Bobby Thigpen.

Triple Play:

1. On July 26, 1991, he became the first pitcher to ever hold the Dodgers hitless through nine innings in Dodger Stadium. Unfortunately, his Montreal teammates could not solve Orel Hershiser, Kevin Gross, and Jay Howell. Gardner lost the no-no, the shutout, and the game in the bottom of the tenth when he allowed consecutive ground-ball singles to Lenny Harris and Eddie Murray; he was pulled in favor of Jeff Fassero, who yielded a walk-off single to Darryl Strawberry. Two days later, fellow Expos starter Dennis Martinez tossed a perfect game at Los Angeles. Showoff.

2. Mark was a mainstay on the Giants' pitching staff for the last six years of his career (1996-2001), despite a cumulative ERA of 4.71 and an ERA+ of 88 during that span. In 2000, the 38-year-old had by far his best effort in San Francisco, going 11-7 with a 4.05 ERA (106 ERA+) in 20 starts and 10 relief appearances.

3. He has been the Giants' bullpen coach since 2003.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Gardner's 1990 Topps "Future Stars" card was an early part of my collection. I always thought that he had quite a prominent mustache for a young player.

Bill James Said: "He couldn't put two good outings together, and the bad ones got worse until a strained shoulder put him on the DL in early July."

On This Date in 1993: November 4. Indians pitcher Cliff Young is killed in an auto accident in Willis, TX. The 29-year-old is the third Cleveland pitcher to die in a mishap in 1993, after Steve Olin and Tim Crews had a fatal boating accident back in spring training.

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