January 17, 1953 |
Cape Girardeau, Missouri
|Batted: Left||Threw: Right|
|June 14, 1973 for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 24, 1982 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Earned run average||3.32|
|Career highlights and awards|
Mark Alan Littell (January 17, 1953 in Cape Girardeau, Missouri), is a professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1973-1982 for the Kansas City Royals and St. Louis Cardinals. Littell had a lifetime ERA of 3.32 and saved 56 games from 1976 to 1981. Bone spurs in his elbow cut his career short, and Littell retired midway through the 1982 season at the age of 29.
Primarily a relief pitcher, Littell served at the Royals' closer in 1976-1977, and is best remembered for giving up a walk-off home run to New York Yankees first baseman Chris Chambliss to end the 1976 American League Championship Series. It was only the second home run he allowed in more than 100 innings pitched that year.
In 2006, Littell took a protective cup he invented, Nutty Buddy, to market. A promotional video clip by ESPN's SportsScience found its way onto YouTube in which Littell demonstrated the device by allowing a 90 mph fastball to hit him in the groin while wearing a Nutty Buddy. Littell told the Kansas City Star that he worked with Royals pitchers in spring training and learned that half the pitchers did not wear an athletic cup, which inspired him to invent the Nutty Buddy, which he bills as being stronger and better fitting than its competition. A demonstration of this was also broadcast on Lopez Tonight (April 5, 2010). The clip made its way to The Smoking Gun Presents: World's Dumbest..., as #7 on World's Smartest Inventions 2.