Monday, June 8, 2015

#434 Jack Armstrong

About the Front: You don't see many major leaguers wearing #77, but Jack Armstrong donned those digits with the Indians, Marlins, and Rangers in the later years of his career. His birthday was the seventh day of March, leading him to choose that number doubled with Cleveland when he couldn't find a lower available number that appealed to him.

About the Back: Armstrong is one of the more obscure All-Star starting pitchers. He had gone 11-3 with a 2.28 ERA in the first half of the 1990 season, but slumped to 1-6 with a 5.96 mark and was demoted to the bullpen after the break.

Triple Play:

1. His son, Jack Jr., pitched collegiately at Vanderbilt and was a third-round draft pick of the Astros in 2011. However, recurring arm injuries prevented him from ever playing a game in the minors, and the younger Armstrong retired in 2014.

2. Jack's lone postseason appearance came in the second game of the 1990 World Series. He entered in the fifth inning and held Oakland to one hit in three scoreless innings, striking out three. The Reds pulled out the victory in the tenth.

3. He suffered a torn rotator cuff early in the 1994 season, hastening the end of his career.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: It would've been pretty ironic if Jack Armstrong had been a knuckleball pitcher, right? Right?

Bill James Said: "He's 22-45 over the last three years, which qualifies him as the Losing Pitcher Mulcahy of the nineties." If you're not up on your WWII-era players, Hugh Mulcahy went 40-76 for the woeful Phillies from 1937 through 1940, twice leading the National League in losses.

On This Date in 1993: June 8. Japan's Chunichi Dragons purchase the contract of Matt Stairs from the Expos. The 25-year-old outfielder will play 60 games overseas, batting .250/.289/.432 with six home runs. Stairs will return to the majors with Boston in 1995 and hung around until 2011, retiring with 265 career homers.

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