Friday, January 16, 2015

#358 Kevin Wickander

About the Front: I could be wrong, but it looks like Kevin Wickander is pitching at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. There weren't many American League parks with green fence padding in 1992. If I'm right, this is probably the Sunday, August 9 game. Wickander came on in the eighth inning of a tie game to face Brady Anderson, retiring him on a groundout to second base. He was then replaced by Ted Power, who was charged with the loss in the tenth inning when his runner scored on a walkoff Cal Ripken single.

About the Back: Cleveland's first-round pick in 1986 was Greg Swindell, so in hindsight they had their draft order straight.

Triple Play:

1. The scout who signed Kevin was Eddie Bane, who had pitched parts of three seasons for the Twins in the mid-1970s.

2. He earned his first big league save with 2.2 innings of one-hit, four-strikeout relief against the Rangers on May 6, 1992.

3. Wickander was deeply affected by the death of friend and teammate Steve Olin in a boating accident in the spring of 1993. He struggled to pitch as effectively as before, was out of baseball by 1996, and became addicted to meth. He served time in prison early last decade, but in a 2008 interview, former manager Mike Hargrove said that the ex-pitcher had turned a corner.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I never gave Kevin Wickander much thought beyond, "Hey, that guy has my name!".

Bill James Said: "He has three good pitches, a fastball, a curve, and a cut fastball, but his control record is so bad that I question whether he should be in the majors."

On This Date in 1993: January 16. Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain has something of an onstage meltdown at the Hollywood Rock Festival in Sao Paolo, Brazil. The bizarre details (and video) are here.

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