Thursday, July 9, 2015

#449 James Austin

About the Front: The color and texture of the mound looks odd somehow. It seems more like the surface of the moon than a pile of baseball dirt.

About the Back: It's a shame that Topps mentioned Jim Austin's college but not his high school, since he attended Dinwiddie High, and that's just fun to say. He was teammates at Dinwiddie with Mike Christopher, who pitched for the Dodgers, Indians, and Tigers in the 1990s.

Triple Play:

1. He earned his first MLB win with one and a third scoreless innings in a 7-4 Brewers victory over the Twins on April 15, 1992. After Minnesota had tied the game in the bottom of the ninth with three runs against Doug Henry, Austin stranded the winning run at third base by getting Brian Harper to fly out to left field. Milwaukee rallied for three runs of their own in the top of the tenth, and the righty retired the side in order in the home half of the inning.

2. Austin rattled off 18 straight scoreless appearances, July 21 through September 20, 1992, before Oakland reached him for a run in his final outing of the season on October 3.

3. Jim last pitched in the majors in 1993, but subsequently spent time in AAA Buffalo (Indians) and Pawtucket (Red Sox), as well as stints in Mexico and Taiwan, before hanging up his spikes for good.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I'm just glad that Topps didn't go the Upper Deck route and use a picture of Austin making a grotesque Fire Marshall Bill-type face.

Bill James Said: "Righthanded middle reliever, 30 years old, was sent to New Orleans in July although he had pitched fairly well." Eh, I can see why Milwaukee demoted him. In 31 appearances totaling 33 innings, he gave up 28 hits and 13 walks and struck out just 15 batters. He had a 3.82 ERA, which seems pretty replaceable.

On This Date in 1993: July 9. In the first game I ever personally attended at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, the Orioles pounded out 14 hits and took advantage of eight walks by White Sox pitchers to win a 15-6 blowout. Chris Hoiles' three-run homer highlighted a seven-run outburst in the sixth inning as the Birds wiped out a 3-1 deficit and never looked back.

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