Wednesday, May 6, 2015

#420 Kevin Tapani

About the Front: It looks like Kevin Tapani has just thrown a split-fingered fastball. In 1997, the strain of throwing that pitch for 13 years would cause him to tear a ligament in his right index finger.

About the Back: The Athletics traded Kevin to the Mets as part of a three-team deal in December of 1987. The Mets also received Wally Whitehurst from Oakland and Jack Savage from the Dodgers. Los Angeles received Jesse Orosco (from the Mets) and Alfredo Griffin and Jack Howell (from the A's). Oakland's haul was pitchers Bob Welch and Matt Young, both from L.A.

Triple Play:

1. Let's talk college! He starred for the Central Michigan University baseball team, going 23-8 overall for a three-time MAC Champion Chippewas club and throwing a no-hitter at Eastern Michigan in 1986. He was inducted into the school's Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.

2. Go figure - Tapani had his best single-season record (19-9) with the Cubs in 1998, when he had a 4.85 ERA and a career-worst 90 ERA+. In his only postseason start that year, he did hold the Braves to one run on five hits over nine innings in Game 2 of the NLDS, but Chicago couldn't solve Tom Glavine either and Atlanta prevailed 2-1 in 10 innings.

3. Since retiring to Minnetonka, MN with his wife and three children, Kevin has been involved in coaching Little League and high school baseball.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: His last name is also a description of the test that doctors use to check your reflexes.

Bill James Said: "Only American League pitcher to give up 50 doubles (he gave up 56), and also led in stolen bases allowed by a wide margin (he gave up 42)."

On This Date in 1993: May 6. Doug Drabek takes a shutout and a 4-0 lead into the ninth inning against the Reds, but is pulled by Astros manager Art Howe after giving up two straight hits to start the inning. Doug Jones is called upon to protect the now-three-run lead, and instead blows the save and gets tagged with the loss after allowing a pair of two-run homers to Kevin Mitchell and Reggie Sanders. 5-4, Reds win.

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