Mike Scott (baseball)

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Mike Scott
Mike Scott Astros.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1955-04-26) April 26, 1955 (age 65)
Santa Monica, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 18, 1979, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
April 13, 1991, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Win–loss record124–108
Earned run average3.54
Strikeouts1,469
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Michael Warren Scott (born April 26, 1955) is an American former right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball for the New York Mets and the Houston Astros. He won the National League Cy Young Award in 1986. Scott is part of a select group of pitchers that have thrown a no-hitter and struck out 300 batters in the same season.

Early career[edit]

Scott was selected by the Mets in the second round of the 1976 Major League Baseball draft. He made his major league debut with the Mets in 1979. By the end of the 1982 season, Scott had compiled a 14-27 record. The Mets traded him to the Astros for Danny Heep on December 11, 1982. In 1983, Scott had a mostly successful first season with the Astros making 24 starts and going 10-6 with a 3.72 earned run average. Scott struggled in 1984 going 5-11 with a 4.68 ERA for the Astros.

The turning point in Scott's career came in 1985, when he became a student of pitching coach Roger Craig. Craig taught Scott the split-finger fastball, a pitch he had made famous while coaching the pitchers of the 1984 World Series champion Detroit Tigers. Scott became an 18-game winner in 1985 and was rewarded with a three-year deal with the Astros, valued at $2 million. However, there were rumors that Scott's dominating performance was the result of doctoring the baseball or cutting it or "scuffing" it. Scott had been accused of using sandpaper by the Chicago Cubs in 1985. In August 1986, Roger Craig, then the manager of the San Francisco Giants, complained that Scott's real secret was that he scuffed the baseball. "It's great," Scott said of the charges. "Any time you have hitters coming to the plate thinking you're doing something, it takes their minds off the pitch . . . Nine times out of 10 the umpire will look at the ball and throw it right back to me."[1]

1986[edit]

Scott enjoyed his most successful season in 1986, when he posted an 18-10 record with a 2.22 earned run average, striking out a league-leading 306 batters.[2][3] On September 25 of that season, he threw a 2-0 no-hitter against the San Francisco Giants at the Astrodome to clinch the National League West division title for the Astros. This game was voted one of the top five games played in the Astrodome after the Astros moved to Enron Field following the 1999 season.[4] He led a strong starting rotation that included Bob Knepper, Nolan Ryan, and Jim Deshaies.

Scott's outstanding form continued into the postseason, when Houston faced the Eastern Division champion New York Mets in the 1986 National League Championship Series. The Astros lost the series, 4 games to 2, but both Astros victories were courtesy of Scott's overwhelming starting pitching performances in Games 1 and 4. The Mets aggressively voiced their suspicions that Scott was doctoring the baseball to the media during the series. So dominating was Scott in those two games — 0.50 ERA, 19 strikeouts, 8 hits and only one walk in 18 innings — that the Mets considered Game 6 something of a "must win"; a loss would have meant facing an apparently unbeatable Mike Scott in Game 7 in the Astrodome. The Mets won Game 6 in 16 innings, averting another Scott start, to win the league pennant.

In recognition of his regular season performance, Scott was awarded the 1986 National League Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher. Scott was also voted the NL 1986 NLCS MVP, the first time in NLCS history that a member of the losing team was so honored (a year later, the San Francisco Giants' Jeffrey Leonard would become the second consecutive NLCS MVP of the losing team).

Later career[edit]

AstrosRet 33.PNG
Mike Scott's number 33 was retired by the Houston Astros in 1992.

In 1987, Scott was the National League starter in the All-Star Game, and threw two scoreless innings. He was also the opening day starter for the Astros. He went 16-13 with a 3.23 earned run average, eight complete games and three shutouts in 247.2 innings while finishing second in the National League with 233 strikeouts.

In 1988, Scott once more was named the Astros' opening day starter. On June 12, he was denied a second no-hitter when the Atlanta Braves' Ken Oberkfell singled to right with two outs in the ninth inning. He had a 14-8 record with a 2.92 earned run average, eight compete games and five shutouts in 218.2 innings while having 190 strikeouts.

In 1989, Scott won 20 games (while losing 10) and finished second in NL Cy Young Award voting, behind reliever Mark Davis of the San Diego Padres. He was for the third consecutive time the opening day starter for the Astros. He had a 3.10 earned run average, nine complete games and 172 strikeouts in 229 innings pitched.

Injuries began to plague him shortly thereafter. His 1990 season was his last full season. He had a 9-13 record with a 3.81 earned run average in 32 games, having four complete games, two shutouts and 121 strikeouts in 205.2 innings. He played in just two games in the 1991 season, losing both games while lasting a total of seven innings, giving up 10 earned runs and having three strikeouts. Scott retired after the 1991 season. As of the 2014 season, Mike is fourth all-time for the Astros in wins (110) and fifth in strikeouts (1318), and sixth in games started (259). "Astros Individual Records".1992 his jersey #33 has been retired by the Astros.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Craig turns on pitching pupil, accuses Astros' Scott of cheating." Kappler, Brian. The Gazette; Montreal; 12 Aug 1986: E3.
  2. ^ Great Scott's power burned brightest in '86
  3. ^ Voice of '86: Astros pitcher Mike Scott
  4. ^ Five greatest games at the Astrodome Archived 2009-04-09 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "Astros Retired Numbers". The Official Site of The Houston Astros. Retrieved 2008-11-27.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Joe Cowley
No-hitter pitcher
September 25, 1986
Succeeded by
Juan Nieves