Wednesday, October 14, 2015
#493 Jeff Nelson
About the Back: 66 games pitched might seem like a lot for a rookie, but Nelson topped that total six times in subsequent seasons, with a high of 77 appearances in 1997.
1. Jeff spent one-third of an inning in left field for the Mariners in Fenway Park on July 15, 1993. After coming on to pitch in the bottom of the eighth and retiring the first two batters, the righty gave up a single to Billy Hatcher. With Seattle clinging to a 3-2 lead and lefty batter Mike Greenwell due up, manager Lou Piniella summoned southpaw Dennis Powell to pitch. He didn't want to burn Nelson just yet, so he double-switched: Powell replaced left fielder Greg Litton, and Nelson "replaced" designated hitter Marc Newfield, who'd just made the last out in the top of the inning. Greenwell popped out to second, and Jeff returned to the mound in the ninth. He lost his shot at an unusual save on a two-out error by Tino Martinez, after which Mike Hampton took to the mound to retire Scott Cooper. Clear as mud?
2. He appeared in 16 World Series games in five Fall Classics with the Yankees, earning one win while striking out 18 batters in 16 innings with a 1.69 ERA.
3. Nelson underwent elbow surgery in 2002, and tried to sell bone chips that had been removed in the procedure on eBay; he planned to donate the proceeds to Bear Creek School (which his daughters attended) and to the Curtis Williams Foundation. Bidding reached $23,600 before eBay removed the listing. You can't sell body parts on eBay. A local radio station later conducted the auction, and matched the winning bid of $1,000, with all of the money going to the Curtis Williams Foundation. Williams was a former University of Washington football player who was paralyzed from the neck down in an on-field collision in 2000; he died two years later.
11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Hey, a Baltimore guy! He attended Catonsville High School and Catonsville Community College, both of which are a few miles away from where I work now (in 2015).
Bill James Said: "He's a ground ball pitcher, and Piniella uses him to try to get a double play, so he always comes in with men on base."
On This Date in 1993: October 14. The number one song in the U.S. is "Dreamlover" by Mariah Carey. Ugh.