Mastny signing autographs at Indians' Spring Training 2008 in Winter Haven, Florida.
February 4, 1981 |
|July 30, 2006 for the Cleveland Indians|
Last MLB appearance
|September 25, 2008 for the Cleveland Indians|
|Earned run average||6.13|
Thomas Raymond Mastny (born February 4, 1981 in Bontang, Indonesia) is a former Major League Baseball right-handed relief pitcher. He stands 6 feet, 6 inches in height and weighs 220 pounds. Mastny is the only Indonesian-born player in Major League history, although he was raised in Zionsville, Indiana, where he played for Zionsville Community High School. He made his major league debut with the Indians on July 25, 2006.
Mastny, nicknamed "Mr. Nasty," played collegiate baseball at Furman University, where he was primarily used as a starting pitcher. In 2003, he was named the Southern Conference Pitcher of the Year, but was not widely regarded as a top-tier prospect. He was selected in the 11th round of the 2003 draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, and began his professional career with the Auburn Doubledays of the Single-A New York-Penn League.
In 2004, he played a full season with the Single-A Charleston Alley Cats, before being sent to the Cleveland Indians in the offseason to complete an earlier trade in which Toronto acquired infielder John McDonald.
After beginning the 2005 season in the starting rotation of the Single-A Kinston Indians, Mastny was converted into a relief role. Later that year, he was promoted to the Double-A Akron Aeros, with whom he remained to begin the 2006 season, before being called up for a stint in the bullpen of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
Although still mostly unheralded as a prospect, due partly to his age (then 25), Mastny's career quickly accelerated that summer as the unexpectedly non-contending Indians began shuffling a bullpen that often struggled, particularly after the trade of closer Bob Wickman. The rookie pitcher—whose role with Akron and Buffalo was almost exclusively in middle relief, and who'd recorded only three saves in the minors—was given an opportunity to close essentially by default, earning his first with two scoreless innings against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on August 19. That day, manager Eric Wedge announced that Mastny would be among those tried out in the role over the remainder of the season.
Mastny catapulted onto the national scene after earning a victory in Game 2 of the 2007 American League Championship Series. He was brought in to face the heart of the Red Sox lineup in the bottom of the tenth inning, in which he retired David Ortiz, Manny Ramírez, and Mike Lowell in order. The Indians would go on to score seven times in the top of the 11th, handing the victory to Mastny.
After a spring training roster battle with Jorge Julio in 2008, Mastny was slotted to begin the season with the Triple-A Bisons. He was recalled on April 15, 2008, when Joe Borowski went on the 15-day disabled list. Mastny made his first career start on June 3, 2008, against the Texas Rangers.
On December 7, 2008, the Indians sold Mastny's contract to the Yokohama BayStars of the Japanese Central League. Mastny had a 1-5 record, with an ERA of 5.69 in 15 games, for the BayStars in 2009.
Mastny's birthplace was briefly the source of some confusion after the Philadelphia Daily News's Paul Hagen reported incorrectly on August 11, 2006, "it was discovered that the [Cleveland Indians] media guide lists Indiana-born reliever Tom Mastny as being from Indonesia". Hagen's quote was part of a brief that was syndicated on several Internet news sites and subsequently was repeated by other writers and bloggers. That same weekend, it was reported that members of the Society for American Baseball Research had contacted Mastny's father to confirm that, although the family hails from Indiana, the pitcher was indeed born on the Indonesian island of Borneo.
That the relatively unknown player's biographical trivia would be subject to scrutiny is in part due to historical implications, as Mastny is the first Indonesian-born individual to reach the major leagues, as reported by ESPN columnist Keith Law:
Cleveland farmhand Tom Mastny was born in Indonesia, although it was to American parents who wanted to travel the world. The 6-5 [sic] Mastny has a fringe-average fastball but outstanding control, and with a good season so far between Double-A Akron and Triple-A Buffalo, he seems likely to become the first big leaguer born in Indonesia, which would become the 52nd country to produce a major league player.
- Castrovince, A. "Mastny saves the day for Tribe", MLB.com, August 19, 2006