John Tudor (baseball)
February 2, 1954 |
Schenectady, New York
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|August 16, 1979 for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 13, 1990 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Earned run average||3.12|
|Career highlights and awards|
Tudor debuted with the Red Sox on August 16, 1979. He spent some time in the minors in 1980 and was used as both a starter and reliever in 1981. He finally established himself as a member of the rotation in 1982, going 13-10 with a 3.63 ERA. After finishing 13-12 the following season, Tudor was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for designated hitter Mike Easler. After one year in Pittsburgh, in which he was 12-11 with a 3.27 ERA, he was sent to St. Louis as part of a deal for veteran outfielder George Hendrick. The Pirates received a career minor leaguer in the deal and sent catcher Brian Harper to the Cardinals.
Tudor's highlight was a spectacular 1985 season for the St. Louis Cardinals. Oddly enough, Tudor started that year with a 1-7 record and a 3.74 earned run average through May. He then went on a tear that has rarely been seen since by going 20-1 with a 1.37 ERA the rest of the season and lowering his overall ERA to 1.93. Tudor concluded the season by winning his last eleven decisions. Only the best season of Dwight Gooden's career stopped Tudor from winning the National League Cy Young Award and leading the league in ERA, wins and complete games. He was sixth in strikeouts for the year.
Moreover, Tudor's ten complete game shutouts in 1985 made him the only pitcher since Jim Palmer in 1975 to reach double-digits in that category. (Bob Gibson holds the Cardinal record with 13 in 1968). To make the achievement more impressive, his ten shutouts were all in the last four months of 1985. To date, Tudor is the last Major League player to record ten or more shutouts in a season. The most since then is eight, by Boston pitcher Roger Clemens in 1988, his 5th season in the majors.
The Cardinals were in the heat of a division race against Gooden and the New York Mets in September 1985. Tudor improved even more by starting the month with two consecutive shutouts and then pitched against Gooden himself in a legendary matchup on September 11. Gooden and Tudor locked horns pitch-for-pitch and the score was 0-0 after nine innings. Jesse Orosco took over for Gooden in the tenth inning and gave up a home run. Tudor came back out in the bottom of the inning and finished the three-hit, ten-inning masterpiece for his third consecutive shutout of the month. After two sub-par performances, he pitched his fourth shutout of the month and then pitched another ten innings of shutout ball against the Mets' Ron Darling but the Mets turned the table and beat the Cardinals' bullpen in the eleventh inning.
Tudor's pitching propelled the Cardinals into the playoffs. He lost Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers but won Game 4 to even the series and St. Louis won 4 games to 2. Tudor was masterful in Game 1 of the 1985 World Series and even better with a shutout in Game 4 but completely fell apart in Game 7 leaving in the third inning as the Kansas City Royals rolled to an 11-0 victory for their only World Championship. Tudor was so upset by his performance in Game 7 that in a post-game tantrum he cut his pitching hand after punching an electrical fan.
Unfortunately for Tudor, he never matched his dominance of 1985. While still posting impressive ERAs, he never won more than 13 games. In 1987, he was again in the World Series but again lost with a chance to bring the championship back to St. Louis. Injuries limited Tudor's playing time after 1985 and eventually ended his career. He was the victim of a freak accident in 1987 when the Mets' catcher Barry Lyons went into the Cardinals' dugout trying to catch a foul ball and crashed into Tudor (who wasn't even pitching in the game) breaking Tudor's leg. In 1988, Tudor was traded to the Dodgers despite having the league's best ERA. He pitched well again and won his only World Series ring for the 1988 World Series, but severely injured his elbow during the postseason. That injury caused him to miss almost all of 1989 and then retire despite a great comeback season in 1990.
- List of Major League Baseball leaders in career wins
- List of Major League Baseball shutout champions
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