Ed Figueroa

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Ed Figueroa
Pitcher
Born: (1948-10-14) October 14, 1948 (age 65)
Ciales, Puerto Rico
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 9, 1974 for the California Angels
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1981 for the Oakland Athletics
Career statistics
Win–Loss record 80–67
Earned run average 3.51
Strikeouts 571
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Eduardo Figueroa Padilla (born October 14, 1948, in Ciales, Puerto Rico), is a former Major League Baseball player. He holds the distinction of being the only pitcher from Puerto Rico to win twenty games in a season.

USMC[edit]

Figueroa originally signed with the New York Mets as a seventeen-year-old amateur free agent in 1966. He went 12–5 with a 2.05 earned run average with the Winter-Haven Mets in 1967, and seemed well on his way to the majors when was called to take a draft physical in Puerto Rico. After three weeks away from his team, the Raleigh-Durham Mets, he hurt his arm in his first game back. The Mets released him, and Figueroa joined the United States Marine Corps, spending the next year in Vietnam.[1]

Upon his return from Vietnam in 1970, Figueroa signed with the San Francisco Giants. After three seasons in their organization, he was traded to the California Angels for Bruce Christensen and Don Rose on July 6, 1973.

California Angels[edit]

Figueroa made his major league debut on April 9, 1974. After Nolan Ryan had already given up three earned runs to the Texas Rangers, he was yanked in the second inning with the bases loaded and no outs. Skip Lockwood struck out the first batter he faces, then gave up a grand slam to Jeff Burroughs. The Angels were already behind 10–2 when Figueroa was called into the game in the eighth inning. He gave up only one hit in two innings.[2]

On July 6, Figueroa pitched a brilliant complete game in which he only gave up one earned run while striking out six and scattering six hits. He, however, received no run support from his team, and his first professional decision turned out to be a 1–0 loss to the Cleveland Indians.[3] His next start was also a complete game. This time, however, he received plenty of run support, and beat the Boston Red Sox 7–0 at Fenway Park.[4] The 1974 Angels were a last place team who barely avoided losing 100 games (94). Figueroa ended up with a 2–8 record despite a respectable 3.67 ERA.

After splitting 1974 between starts and relief appearances, Figueroa was added to the starting rotation for 1975. The Angels were again a last place team, yet Figueroa still managed to put up respectable numbers, going 16–13 with a 2.91 ERA. Following the season, Figueroa was traded with center fielder Mickey Rivers to the New York Yankees for All-Star outfielder Bobby Bonds.

New York Yankees[edit]

Figueroa joined a Yankees pitching staff that included Catfish Hunter and Dock Ellis, yet it was Figueroa who turned out to be the staff ace, going 19–10 with a 3.02 ERA to finish fourth in American League Cy Young Award balloting behind Jim Palmer, Mark Fidrych and former California teammate Frank Tanana in 1976.

Figueroa's numbers tailed off slightly in 1977, as he went 16–11 with a 3.57 ERA for the 1977 World Series champions. He was 7–7 with a 3.91 ERA when he took the mound against the Minnesota Twins on July 19, 1978. Figueroa pitched a complete game shutout,[5] and went 13–2 for the remainder of the season to help lead the charge from fourteen games back to overtake the Boston Red Sox in the American League East.

Figueroa suffered from arm problems in 1979, and was limited to only sixteen starts. On July 20, 1980, Figueroa was tagged by the Kansas City Royals for five earned runs in two innings. His ERA ballooned to 6.98, and he was placed on waivers shortly afterwards.[6] The Texas Rangers purchased his contract just before the July 31 trade deadline.

Oakland A's[edit]

Things did not go well for Figueroa in Texas, as he was 0–7 with a 5.90 ERA for the Rangers in 1980. He re-signed with the Rangers for 1981, but was released after six minor league starts in which he was 2–1 with a 7.83 ERA.

Shortly afterwards, he signed with former Yankees skipper Billy Martin and the Oakland Athletics, and posted a far more respectable 3.34 ERA with their Pacific Coast League affiliate, the Tacoma Tigers. He earned a promotion to the majors, and made his final major league start on September 6 against the Baltimore Orioles. He was leading 4–2 when an injury forced his early departure in the fifth inning.[7]

Figueroa made five minor league starts for the A's in 1982, and was 0–3 with an enormous 18.24 ERA. He was offered a minor league deal by the Milwaukee Brewers for 1982, but chose instead to retire. He currently lives in Guayanabo, Puerto Rico, and owns two Mexican restaurants named Lupis in Old San Juan and near the San Juan airport.[8]

Seasons W L PCT ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H ER R HR BB K WP HBP
8 80 67 .544 3.51 200 179 63 12 1 1309.2 1299 511 571 90 443 571 25 19

Figueroa was 0–4 with a 7.47 ERA in seven post-season starts.

References[edit]