Bruce Hurst

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Bruce Hurst
Pitcher
Born: (1958-03-24) March 24, 1958 (age 56)
St. George, Utah
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
April 12, 1980 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
June 18, 1994 for the Texas Rangers
Career statistics
Win–loss record 145–113
Earned run average 3.92
Strikeouts 1,689
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Bruce Vee Hurst (born March 24, 1958) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher. He is best remembered for his brilliant performance for the Boston Red Sox in the 1986 postseason, named 1986 World Series M.V.P. prior to the New York Mets' miraculous comeback in Game Six of the World Series.

Boston Red Sox[edit]

Hurst was selected by the Bosox with the 22nd overall pick in the 1976 Major League Baseball Draft out of Dixie High School in St. George, Utah. After going 17-6 with a 2.88 earned run average for the Winter Haven & Bristol Red Sox in 1979, Hurst was put on Boston's opening day roster for 1980. He made his major league debut in relief in the second game of the season, giving up five earned runs in an inning of work in an 18-1 blowout at the hands of the Milwaukee Brewers.[1] He made six more appearances, all starts, before being optioned back to Pawtucket with a 10.57 ERA. He returned to the majors in August, ending the season with a 2-2 record and 9.10 ERA at the major league level.

Hurst went 12-7 with a 2.87 ERA for Pawtucket in 1981, and had actually retired from the game briefly before receiving a September call-up to Boston.[2] In five major league starts, Hurst went 2-0 with a 4.30 ERA.

Hurst had gone 42-46 with a 4.59 ERA with the Bosox before his breakthrough 1986 season. Hurst posted a 2.99 ERA with 13 victories despite spending six midsummer weeks on the disabled list with a pulled groin. The Red Sox won the American League East by 5.5 games over the New York Yankees to head to the 1986 American League Championship Series against the California Angels. He went 1-0 with a 2.40 ERA in two starts in the American League Championship Series won by the Sox in seven games.

1986 World Series[edit]

Hurst pitched brilliantly in the World Series, holding the New York Mets to just four hits in the Game One pitchers' duel with Ron Darling won 1-0 by the Red Sox.[3] In Game Five, Hurst pitched a complete game victory to give Boston a 3-2 lead in the Series.[4]

With Boston winning 5-3 in the tenth inning of Game Six, the Mets were down to their last out with no one on base. A Red Sox World Series victory seemed all but a certainty as the Shea Stadium scoreboard was all set to display "Congratulations Boston Red Sox, 1986 World Champions". Hurst had been selected as the World Series Most Valuable Player until the Mets rallied to win the game with three runs, forcing a decisive Game Seven.[5]

Oil Can Boyd was originally slated to be the Game Seven starter for Boston, but when the game was delayed a day by rain, manager John McNamara bumped him in favor of Hurst. Hurst gave up just one hit through five innings of work, however, the Mets came back with three runs in the sixth to tie the game. Hurst would get a no-decision as he handed the ball over to the bullpen. The Mets won the World Championship, and Ray Knight received MVP honors.

Believers of "The Curse of the Bambino" have pointed out the letters in the name BRUCE HURST can be re-arranged as B RUTH CURSE.[6]

Return to the postseason[edit]

Hurst had a 9-6 record and 3.81 ERA when his manager added him to the 1987 American League All-Star team, however, he did not appear in the game.[7] He ended the season at 15-13 as the Bosox finished the season twenty games out of first place.

Hurst was 9-4 with a 4.60 ERA midway through the 1988 season when the Red Sox replaced McNamara at manager with Joe Morgan. The Sox were in fifth place, nine games back of the first place Detroit Tigers at the time of the managerial change. The team went 46-31 from that point forward to finish one game ahead of Detroit in the AL East.

Hurst himself went 9-2 with a 2.54 ERA under his new manager to end the season at 18-6. He pitched a complete game in Games One of the 1988 American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics, but was outmatched by Oakland's ace, Dave Stewart.[8] With Boston down three games to none, the two faced off again in Game Four with Stewart and the A's again emerging victorious to complete the sweep.[9]

San Diego Padres[edit]

Hurst chose to leave the only organization he'd ever known as a free agent following the 1988 season, and signed a three year contract with the San Diego Padres worth $5.25 million.[10] On April 10, 1989, he pitched a one-hitter against the Atlanta Braves for his first National League win and also collected his first MLB hit as a batter.[11] He went 15-11 with a career-best 2.69 ERA that season.

On May 18, 1992, Hurst pitched a one-hit shutout over Dwight Gooden and the Mets. The only hit was a single by Chico Walker.[12] At the end of the season, he began to feel pain in his left shoulder and underwent surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum. The rehabilitation was an arduous process, and Hurst ended making just two starts for the Padres in 1993 before being traded to the Colorado Rockies on July 26 with Greg Harris for Brad Ausmus, Doug Bochtler and Andy Ashby.[13] He pitched just three games for Colorado.

Hurst signed with the Texas Rangers for the 1994 season. He was 2-1 with a 7.11 ERA in eight starts through June, but with the repercussions of the surgery still lingering, he decided to retire mid season.

Career stats[edit]

W L PCT ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H ER R HR BB K WP HBP Fld%
145 113 .562 3.92 379 359 83 23 0 2417.1 2463 1052 1143 258 740 1689 56 28 .968

Consistently good but never overpowering hitters, Hurst was a specialist at changing speeds. His fastball was hard enough to get in on right-handed hitters, and he mixed it with an excellent curve and a slider as well. He also had a decent forkball at times. Thanks to his great control, Hurst was able to work corners well and had a profuse knowledge of each hitter. In seven post-season games he had 3-2 with 37 strikeouts and a 2.29 ERA.

Post-playing activities[edit]

Bruce Hurst was inducted to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in November 2004. In 2005, he and Jim Lefebvre coached China to a bronze medal at the 23rd Asian Baseball Championship, which was the first time ever that China had defeated one of the "Big Three" Asian teams (Japan, South Korea, Chinese Taipei). In 2006, Hurst and Lefebvre also led the Chinese team in the inaugural World Baseball Classic, where they were eliminated in the first round of competition in the Asian bracket, which also featured eventual tournament champion Japan, as well as Korea and Chinese Taipei. In the Asian Baseball Championship in 2012 and World Baseball Classic in 2013, alongside manager John McLaren, Hurst also coached Team China.

Hurst returned to the Boston Red Sox during spring training in 2008 as a pitching instructor.[14] On February 26, 2008, Hurst was named as Special Assistant for Player Development with the Red Sox.[15]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Milwaukee Brewers 18, Boston Red Sox 1". Baseball-Reference.com. April 12, 1980. 
  2. ^ "Hurst Looks Ready for Majors This Time as Sizzling Bosox Continue to Streak". The Telegraph-Herald. May 5, 1982. 
  3. ^ "1986 World Series, Game One". Baseball-Reference.com. October 18, 1986. 
  4. ^ "1986 World Series, Game Five". Baseball-Reference.com. October 23, 1986. 
  5. ^ "1986 World Series, Game Six". Baseball-Reference.com. October 25, 1986. 
  6. ^ Shaughnessy, Dan (2005). Reversing the Curse. New York: Houghton Mifflin. p. 11. ISBN 0-618-51748-0. 
  7. ^ "1987 All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference.com. July 14, 1987. 
  8. ^ "1988 American League Championship Series, Game One". Baseball-Reference.com. October 5, 1988. 
  9. ^ "1988 American League Championship Series, Game Four". Baseball-Reference.com. October 9, 1988. 
  10. ^ "Padres Sign Hurst for 3 Years". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. December 9, 1988. 
  11. ^ "San Diego Padres 5, Atlanta Braves 2". Baseball-Reference.com. April 10, 1989. 
  12. ^ "San Diego Padres 3, New York Mets 0". Baseball-Reference.com. May 18, 1992. 
  13. ^ "San Diego Trades Hurst, Harris to Rockies". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. July 27, 1993. 
  14. ^ Edes, Gordon (February 16, 2008). "Nonroster invitees are a varied group". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 
  15. ^ Bradford, Rob (February 26, 2008). "Hurst set to pitch in: Joins team as special instructor". Boston Herald. Retrieved 2008-02-26. 

External links[edit]