Gil Meche

Gilbert Allen Meche (/ɡɪl mɛʃ/; born September 8, 1978) is a former right-handed Major League Baseball starting pitcher. Shoulder and back problems caused the former first round pick to retire in 2011 at 32 years old.[1]

Gil Meche
Gil Meche
Meche with the Kansas City Royals
Pitcher
Born: September 8, 1978 (age 40)
Lafayette, Louisiana
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 6, 1999, for the Seattle Mariners
Last MLB appearance
October 3, 2010, for the Kansas City Royals
MLB statistics
Win–loss record84–83
Earned run average4.49
Strikeouts1,050
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early years

Meche, who is Cajun,[2] was a star pitcher at Acadiana High School in his hometown of Lafayette, Louisiana, and was a member of the U.S. Junior Olympic team that brought home gold in the 1995 World Junior Baseball Championship. After his junior year of high school, Meche earned Most Valuable Pitcher honors at the 1995 National Amateur All-Star Tournament at just sixteen years old. However, shortly afterwards, he suffered a viral infection that caused him to miss a considerable amount of playing time his senior year.[3] Nonetheless, Meche was named to the All-America Second Team by the American Baseball Coaches Association and Rawlings.[4] He intended to attend Louisiana State University, but reconsidered when the Seattle Mariners surprised him by selecting him in the first round of the 1996 Major League Baseball draft.[5]

Seattle Mariners

Meche debuted with the Mariners on July 6, 1999, two months shy of his twenty-first birthday, making him the second-youngest debut for the Mariners at that time (only Ken Griffey, Jr. was younger). Pitching with a 2-1 lead over the Anaheim Angels and two outs in the sixth, Meche walked two consecutive batters to force in a run and surrender the lead. He ended up with a no-decision.[6] His first win came on July 19 against the Arizona Diamondbacks.[7] For the season, Meche went 8-4 with a 4.73 earned run average.

Meche lost his first four decisions of the 2000 season. On June 13, 2000, he tossed a one-hitter against the Kansas City Royals.[8] After coming back to go 4-0 with a 2.64 ERA through his July 4 start against Anaheim, Meche was lifted in the sixth inning having thrown 113 pitches. His season was cut short due to what was thought at the time to be a dead arm. He went 1-2 with a 3.15 ERA in five rehab starts, but did not pitch at the major league level again for the rest of the season.

In February 2001, Meche underwent arthroscopic surgery to partially repair a frayed rotator cuff, and at the time he was expected to only be on the disabled list for six months.[9] As it turns out, he ended up missing the entire season, and undergoing surgery again on October 3, 2001 on his right AC joint.

Meche went 4-6 with a 6.51 ERA in 2002 for the Texas League's San Antonio Missions, but did not pitch at the major league level again until April 5, 2003. Despite giving up four first inning runs, and taking the loss against the Texas Rangers, Meche came back to pitch four solid innings in which he allowed just two earned runs on solo shots by Iván Rodríguez and Juan González.[10] From there, Meche went 15-13 with a 4.59 ERA in what was at the time far and away a career high 186.1 innings pitched to earn the Sporting News' American League Comeback Player of the Year award.

Meche's 2004 season got off to a slow start as his record stood at 1-5 with a 7.06 ERA following a June 1 start against the Toronto Blue Jays.[11] He was optioned to the Pacific Coast League's Tacoma Rainiers, and returned to the M's on July 30, to go 6-2 with a 3.95 ERA in thirteen second half starts.

In 2005, Meche won 10 games despite posting an ERA of 5.09 and failing to reach 150 innings despite pitching in 26 starts. He averaged less than 6 innings in over half of his starts.

In 2006, Meche won 11 games while losing 8 in 32 starts. He struck out 156 batters in 186.2 innings.

Kansas City Royals

After signing one year contracts with the Mariners for the 2005 and 2006 seasons, Meche signed a five-year contract with the Kansas City Royals on December 7, 2006 worth $55 million, matching Mike Sweeney's contract as the largest in club history until Alex Gordon agreed to a four-year $72 million deal in 2016.[12] His record stood at 5-6 with a 3.54 ERA when he was named the Royals' sole representative at the 2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in San Francisco.[13] Meche finished the season with a 9-13 record, while posting career bests in ERA (3.67), innings pitched (216) and a league-leading 34 starts.

Meche led the American League with 34 starts again in 2008, while improving to 14-11 with a 3.98 ERA, and pitching over 200 innings for the second consecutive year for a Royals club that finished 75-87 and in fourth place in the American League Central.

On June 16, 2009, Meche pitched a four-hit shutout against the Diamondbacks to improve his season record to 4-5 with a 3.31 ERA.[14] The 132 pitches he threw, however, took a toll on Meche and he began experiencing back and shoulder problems soon afterwards.[15] For the rest of the season, Meche went just 2-5 with an 8.06 ERA.

For the first time in his Royals career, 31-year-old Meche did not receive the opening day nod for Kansas City in 2010. Instead he was slated as the number-two starter behind reigning AL Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. Hampered by injuries again, Meche spent considerable time on the DL in 2010 and was 0-4 with a 6.66 ERA after making his final career start on May 25.[16] After five rehab appearances with the Northwest Arkansas Naturals and Omaha Royals, Meche returned to the Royals as a reliever that September. He made eleven appearances, giving up three earned runs in thirteen innings.

Retirement

Seasons W L PCT ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H ER R HR BB K WP HBP Fld%
10 84 83 .503 4.49 258 243 7 3 0 1432.1 1441 714 772 176 594 1050 38 29 .954

Despite a guaranteed contract that called for a $12 million salary in 2011, Meche chose to walk away from the game on January 18 as he considered it unfair for the Royals to pay him millions if he would be out all year in the last year of his contract.[1]

In popular culture

The rock group Band of Horses, which was founded in Seattle in 2004, wrote and dedicated their song "Wicked Gil" to Meche.[17]

References

  1. ^ a b Tyler Kepner (January 26, 2011). "Pitcher Spurns $12 Million, to Keep Self-Respect". New York Times.
  2. ^ Bernard, Shane K. (2008). Cajuns and Their Acadian Ancestors: A Young Reader's History. Univ. Press of Mississippi. pp. 74–. ISBN 9781604733211. Retrieved 13 February 2017.
  3. ^ Jeff Bower (July 6, 1999). "Prospectus Profile: Gil Meche". Baseball Prospectus.
  4. ^ "1996 ABCA/Rawlings High School All-America Teams". abca.prestosports.com. Retrieved 22 January 2018.
  5. ^ "Lafayette's Gil Meche in elite class of athletes". The Independent Weekly. January 28, 2011.
  6. ^ "Anaheim Angels 8, Seattle Mariners 2". Baseball-Reference.com. July 6, 1999.
  7. ^ "Seattle Mariners 7, Arizona Diamondbacks 5". Baseball-Reference.com. July 19, 1999.
  8. ^ 2001 Official Major League Baseball Fact Book. St. Louis, Missouri: The Sporting News. 2001. p. 163. 0-89204-646-5.
  9. ^ Jimmy Traina (2001). "Spring training 2001: Seattle Mariners". Sports Illustrated.
  10. ^ "Texas Rangers 8, Seattle Mariners 4". Baseball-Reference.com. April 5, 2003.
  11. ^ "Toronto Blue Jays 6, Seattle Mariners 5". Baseball-Reference.com. June 1, 2004.
  12. ^ "Royals sign Gil Meche to five-year contract". MLB.com. December 7, 2006.
  13. ^ "2007 Major League Baseball All-Star Game". Baseball-Reference.com. July 10, 2007.
  14. ^ "Kansas City Royals 5, Arizona Diamondbacks 0". Baseball-Reference.com. June 16, 2009.
  15. ^ "Gil Meche retires from baseball". ESPN. January 19, 2011.
  16. ^ "Texas Rangers 8, Kansas City Royals 7". Baseball-Reference.com. May 25, 2010.
  17. ^ The Five Best Sports Songs, [1] Paste Magazine - November 12, 2012

External links

1996 Major League Baseball draft

The 1996 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, was held on June 4 and 5, 1996. A total of 1740 players were drafted over the course of 100 rounds.

This is the only draft to last 100 rounds. The last player taken was outfielder Aron Amundson, drafted by the New York Yankees in the 100th round.

This draft is also notable because a record four first-round draft picks were not offered contracts by the teams that drafted them and subsequently became free agents.

1996 Seattle Mariners season

The Seattle Mariners 1996 season was their 20th season, and the team was the runner-up in American League West, with a record of 85–76 (.528), 4½ games behind the champion Texas Rangers. The Mariners led the majors in runs (993), doubles (335), runs batted in (954), and slugging percentage (.484), but the pitching staff had the highest earned run average (5.21) in team history. Four Mariners scored at least 100 runs and four drove in at least 100 runs.

1999 Seattle Mariners season

The Seattle Mariners 1999 season was their 23rd since the franchise creation, and ended the season finishing 3rd in the American League West, finishing with a 79–83 (.488) record. In July, they moved into Safeco Field, replacing the Kingdome as their home, and the Kingdome was demolished eight months later.

2003 Seattle Mariners season

The Seattle Mariners 2003 season was their 27th since the franchise creation, and ended the season finishing 2nd in the American League West, finishing with a record of 93-69.

One notable fact about the 2003 Mariners is that they used only five starting pitchers the entire season. The five starting pitchers were Ryan Franklin, Freddy Garcia, Gil Meche, Jamie Moyer and Joel Piñeiro.

2005 Seattle Mariners season

The Seattle Mariners 2005 season was their 29th since the franchise creation, and their second consecutive season finishing at the bottom of the American League West, finishing with a record of 69-93 (.426). They only had one player in the 2005 All-Star Game, who was Ichiro Suzuki with his fifth selection for the All-Star Game.

Over the course of the disappointing season, the Mariners managed to have their longest winning streak over the course of a four-game series with the Angels (July 7–10), while having two losing streaks of seven between April 30–8 May / June 25 – July 2.

2006 Seattle Mariners season

The Seattle Mariners 2006 season was their 30th since the franchise creation, and their third consecutive season finishing at the bottom of the American League West, finishing with a 78–84 (.481) record.

Two players were featured in the All-Star Game: Ichiro Suzuki, making his sixth appearance in the All-Star Game, and José López, with his first appearance.

The Mariners' longest winning streak was 5 games, which they managed twice, between June 16–21 and June 24–29, counterpointed by their longest losing streak of 11 games from August 10–20.

2007 Kansas City Royals season

The 2007 Kansas City Royals season was the 39th season for the franchise, and their 37th at Kauffman Stadium. the season began with the team attempting to win the Central Division of the American League - a task not achieved since the division was formed in 1994.

In trying to improve on their 62–100 record in the 2006 season, the team avoided a fourth straight 100-loss season. Buddy Bell returned for his second and final full season as manager, while Dayton Moore began his first season as the team's general manager.

Anticipation surrounded the Royals' newfound approach to once again become a playoff contender with rebuilding the roster. Roster moves generated much interest in the Kansas City area, including the big-budget signing of starting pitcher Gil Meche, and the arrival of young, new talent—such as rookie third baseman Alex Gordon and designated hitter Billy Butler. The team's payroll for the 2007 season was increased to $67 million (22nd in the major leagues).

2007 Major League Baseball draft

The 2007 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft was Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players and was held on June 7, 2007 and June 8, 2007. The first day session of the draft included the first 25 rounds and was scheduled to be broadcast "live" from Orlando, Florida on television for the first time, on ESPN2 from 2:00pm to 6:00pm Eastern Daylight Time (1800–2200 UTC). Previously the conference call format draft was broadcast live, along with commentary, on both draft days exclusively from the MLB.com website as streaming audio. In total, the draft featured 50 rounds and 1453 selections.

2008 Kansas City Royals season

The Kansas City Royals' 2008 season began with the team searching for its 15th manager in franchise history. Trey Hillman, former minor league baseball and Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters (Nippon Professional Baseball) manager, was hired as the team's skipper on October 19, 2007.The team looked to improve upon its record of 69–93 from 2007. The team's payroll for the 2008 season was initially estimated to be around $57 million, and wound up at $58 million (24th in the major leagues).Despite another last-place finish in 2007, the Royals sought a breakout season in 2008. Renovations to Kauffman Stadium were ongoing throughout the 2008 season and it was completed in time for Opening Day in 2009.

Following the team's 81st game, the mid-way point of the 2008 season, the Royals had a 37–44 record. The closest the team managed to crawl back to a .500 record after their 9–6 start to the season was within 6 games in mid-July. After compiling a 7–20 record in August, the Royals were eliminated from recording their first winning season since 2003. However, an 18–8 record in September let the Royals finish with a 75–87 record, their best since 2003.

Acadiana High School

Acadiana High School is located in Scott, Louisiana. Acadiana High School opened in 1969 following the consolidation of Judice High School, located in Judice Community, and Scott High School, located in Scott.

Donald Aguillard, a former assistant principal at Acadiana High, was among those parties who challenged the Louisiana Balanced Treatment Act regarding evolution and creation science, a measure authored by then State Senator Bill P. Keith of Shreveport, and signed into law by Governor David C. Treen. The law was invalidated by the United States Supreme Court in 1987 in the case named for Aguillard, Edwards v. Aguillard. As an original plaintiff, Aguillard became the defendant on appeal.

List of 1996 Seattle Mariners draft picks

The following is a list of 1996 Seattle Mariners draft picks. The Mariners took part in the June regular draft, also known as the Rule 4 draft. The Mariners made 60 selections in the 1996 draft, the first being pitcher Gil Meche in the first round. In all, the Mariners selected 35 pitchers, 11 outfielders, 5 catchers, 4 shortstops, 4 third basemen, and 1 second baseman.

List of Cajuns

This is a list of notable Cajuns, often from the Acadiana or Greater New Orleans regions of French Louisiana, though not limited in geographic origin.

To be included in this list, the person must have a Wikipedia article showing they are Cajuns or must have references showing they are Cajuns and are notable.

List of Kansas City Royals Opening Day starting pitchers

The Kansas City Royals are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Kansas City, Missouri. They play in the American League Central division. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day. The Kansas City Royals have used 23 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 48 seasons. The 23 starters have a combined Opening Day record of 13 wins, 20 losses and 15 no decisions. No decisions are only awarded to the starting pitcher if the game is won or lost after the starting pitcher has left the game.

The Kansas City Royals began to play in 1969. Wally Bunker was the Royals’ first Opening Day starting pitcher on April 8, 1969 against the Minnesota Twins. The Royals have played in two home ball parks. They played in Municipal Stadium from 1969 through 1972. They played three Opening Day games at Municipal Stadium, winning twice and losing once. The Royals’ starting pitchers received no decisions in both of the wins, leaving their record in Opening Day starts at Municipal Stadium no wins, one loss and two no decisions. They moved to Royals Stadium, which was subsequently renamed Kauffman Stadium, 1973. They have played 20 Opening Day games there, and their starting pitchers have eight wins and eight losses with four no decisions. This makes their record at home in Opening Day games eight wins and nine losses with six no decisions. In Opening Day games on the road, their starting pitchers have a record of four wins and eleven losses with eight no decisions.Kevin Appier has most Opening Day starts for the Royals, with seven, including six in a row from 1992 to 1997. He has a record of 1–4 with two no decisions in those starts. The other Royal pitchers who have made at least three Opening Day starts are Dennis Leonard with four, and Paul Splittorff, Bud Black, Bret Saberhagen, Jeff Suppan and Gil Meche with three apiece. Bunker, Dick Drago, Steve Busby, Larry Gura and James Shields have each made two Opening Day starts for the Royals.Black, who has two wins as an Opening Day starting pitcher, is the only Royals pitcher who has won more than one Opening Day start. Black had a record in Opening Day starts of 2–1. Only two Royals pitchers had more than one loss in Opening Day starts, Kevin Appier with four losses and Dennis Leonard with three.The Royals played in the World Series in 1980, 1985, 2014 and 2015, winning in 1985 and 2015. Leonard, Black, Shields and Ventura were the Opening Day starting pitchers in 1980, 1985, 2014 and 2015 respectively, when the Royals played in the World Series, and they had a combined Opening Day record of 2–1 with one no decision.

List of Seattle Mariners first-round draft picks

The Seattle Mariners are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Seattle, Washington. They play in the American League West division. Since the franchise entered the league as an expansion team in 1977, they have selected 46 players in the first round. Officially known as the "First-Year Player Draft", the Rule 4 Draft is Major League Baseball's primary mechanism for assigning amateur baseball players from high schools, colleges, and other amateur baseball clubs to its teams. The draft order is determined based on the previous season's standings, with the team possessing the worst record receiving the first pick. In addition, teams that lost free agents in the previous off-season may be awarded compensatory or supplementary picks. The First-Year Player Draft is unrelated to the 1976 expansion draft through which the Mariners filled their roster.

Of the 46 players selected in the first round by the Mariners, 17 have been pitchers, the most of any position; of whom 12 were right-handed and 5 left-handed. They have also drafted nine outfielders, eight shortstops, seven catchers, three first basemen and two third baseman. Seattle has never drafted a second baseman in the first round. The Mariners have drafted 22 players out of high school, and 24 out of college. All of the college selections came from four-year institutions; the team has never selected a junior college player in the first round. The Mariners have drafted 11 players from high schools or colleges in California, four players from Florida, and a single player from their home state of Washington. One of the Mariners' 2007 picks—Canadian Phillippe Aumont—is the only selection from outside the United States.

One Mariners first-round selection is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Ken Griffey Jr. was inducted in 2016, having received an all-time record of 99.3% of the possible votes from the Baseball Writers' Association of America. Two of the Mariners' first-round selections, Alex Rodriguez and Griffey, are members of the 500 home run club. Rodriguez won a World Series title with the New York Yankees, four Hank Aaron Awards, three American League MVP awards, and was named to 13 All-Star teams. The Mariners have held the first overall pick four times, most recently in 1993. The Mariners have made eight selections in the supplemental round of the draft and 11 compensatory picks over their history. These additional picks are provided when a team loses a particularly valuable free agent in the previous off-season, or, more recently, if a team fails to sign a draft pick from the previous year. The Mariners have failed to sign two of their picks, Scott Burrell in 1989 and John Mayberry, Jr. in 2002. For failing to sign these picks, the team received the 38th pick in the 1990 draft and the 37th pick in the 2003 draft, respectively.

Matt Tolbert

Christopher Matthew Tolbert (born May 4, 1982) is an American former professional baseball infielder. After graduating from Centreville Academy in 2000, Tolbert attended University of Mississippi for four years; he was later drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in 2003 and the Minnesota Twins in 2004.

San Antonio Missions

The San Antonio Missions are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League and the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They are located in San Antonio, Texas, and are named for The Alamo, originally a Spanish mission located in San Antonio. The Missions play their home games at Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium, which opened in 1994 and seats over 6,200 people with a total capacity of over 9,000.

Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award

The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award is the oldest of three annual awards in Major League Baseball given to one player in each league who has reemerged as a star in that season. It was established in 1965. The winner in each league is selected by the TSN editorial staff.

In 2005, Major League Baseball officially sponsored its own Comeback Player of the Year Award for the first time. TSN and MLB honored the same players in 2005—Ken Griffey, Jr. in the National League and Jason Giambi in the American League. The Players Choice Awards, awarded by the Major League Baseball Players Association, also began a Comeback Player honor in 1992.

Listed below are the players honored with the TSN award by year, name, team and league.

Wisconsin Timber Rattlers

The Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are a minor league baseball team of the Midwest League, and the Class A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. The team is located in Appleton, and are named for the timber rattlesnake, which oddly enough is not indigenous to the area. The team plays its home games at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium, which opened in 1995 and seats 5,170 fans (plus grass seating). The Timber Rattlers have won nine league championships, most recently in 2012. World Series-winning Managers Earl Weaver and Jack McKeon were Managers at Appleton. Baseball Hall of Fame members Pat Gillick, Earl Weaver, and Goose Gossage played for Appleton. Five future Cy Young Award winners and three Most Valuable Player recipients were on Appleton/Wisconsin rosters. The 1978 Appleton Foxes were recognized as one of the 100 greatest minor league teams of all time.

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