July 8, 1969 |
|September 5, 1992 for the Cincinnati Reds|
Last MLB appearance
|October 2, 1999 for the Chicago Cubs|
|Earned run average||4.78|
Robert Joseph "Bobby" Ayala (born July 8, 1969) was a pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos. He showed promise as a bullpen pitcher for the Mariners, but then struggled and was eventually released.
Ayala went to high school at Rio Mesa in Oxnard, California. He was brought up with the Reds as a starter before moving to the bullpen in his second season. The Reds traded Ayala with catcher Dan Wilson to the Mariners for Bret Boone and Erik Hanson in November 1993.
Ayala had some success in Seattle, finishing the strike-shortened 1994 season with a 2.86 ERA and 71 strikeouts in 57 innings while saving 18 games. During the "magical" Mariners 1995 season, the team held a promotional "Bobby Ayala Goatee Night," where fans wearing a goatee could get free tickets.
Ayala struggled mightily over the next few seasons, often blowing key saves and drawing criticism from Mariners fans and the Seattle press. On April 24, 1996, he punched out the window of his hotel room at the Westin in Chicago after a reported night of drinking. Hotel security was called to his room at 6:00 AM and discovered the broken window. The injury required nine stitches and he spent the next few months on the disabled list, finishing the season with a 5.88 ERA. Fellow reliever Norm Charlton, asked about the incident, said "I don't know what happened and I don't want to know."
The Mariners traded him to the Montreal Expos for minor-leaguer Jimmy Turman on April 3, 1999, but Seattle paid all of Ayala's $1.8 million salary that year. Montreal released him a few months later and he finished the '99 season pitching 16 innings for the Chicago Cubs.
He started the regular 2000 season pitching for the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, but after starting 1-2 with a 4.61 ERA, was released on May 8.
On May 18, he signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers' Triple-A affiliate, the Albuquerque Dukes. Two months and nine saves later, the Dukes released him. Even years after his career was over, Ayala's name is still brought up among Seattle baseball fans to make unfavorable comparisons to struggling pitchers.
- Street, Jim (1996-04-25). "Ayala injures hand, out a month". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. p. C1. Retrieved 2010-01-05.
- Seely, Mike (2008-09-26). "2009 Mariner Prescription: Trade Ichiro, Beltre, and Blow Shit Up". Seattle Weekly. Retrieved 2008-09-30., "Last night, the Mariners lost 6-4 to the Angels, in particularly heartbreaking fashion. J.J. Putz gave up a ninth inning moonshot to Vladimir Guerrero in the top of the ninth to break a 4-4 tie. Let's start there: Putz, whose season has been reminiscent of vintage Bobby Ayala, should either be relieved of his duties as closer now, or should be given a very short leash to start 2009."
- Schoenfield, David (2009-12-28). "Why Edgar belongs in Cooperstown". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-01-05., "Edgar, it seems, was always there -- he was one of us, suffering through Bobby Ayala's blown saves but delivering the big hits...."
- Stone, Larry (2008-04-13). "Hey, Mariners fans, enough about Bobby Ayala and Alex Rodriguez, already". Seattle Times. Retrieved 2010-01-05., "He has become the personification of reliever non grata. Some people still swear that Ayala must have had incriminating pictures of Lou Piniella."
- Schoenfield, David (2009-09-03). "Baseball's all-time 'train-wreck' seasons". ESPN. Retrieved 2010-01-05., "[T]he 2003 rotation ... was not so fortunate in 2004. Although Jamie Moyer and Ryan Franklin were healthy, they combined to go 11-29. Joel Pineiro and Gil Meche both missed time, new closer Eddie Guardado gave up too many home runs and the rest of the 'pen reminded Mariners fans of the horror days of Bobby Ayala."
- Arnold, Kirby (2009-10-06). "Silva leaves a souvenir suitable for ...". Everett Herald. Retrieved 2010-01-05., "The crowd parted as though Bobby Ayala had just walked in (now, that was cruel) and the jock strap lay untouched on the concrete for a while."