Kevin Appier

Robert Kevin Appier (/ˈeɪpiər/; born December 6, 1967) is a former right-handed Major League Baseball pitcher who played for the Kansas City Royals, Oakland Athletics, New York Mets, and Anaheim Angels. Appier's solid pitching during his first full season in the majors earned him several rookie accolades in 1990.[1] His fastball, tight slider and nasty forkball contributed to impressive pitching statistics, distinguishing himself as one of the American League's top right-handed starting pitchers throughout much of the 1990s.[1] Appier enjoyed the most success with the Royals in the early to mid-1990s as one of the league's earned run average leaders, a Cy Young Award contender in 1993 and culminating in 1995 with a selection to the American League All-Star team.[1] He was a starting pitcher on the World Series Champion Anaheim Angels in 2002 before retiring four seasons later.

Kevin Appier
Pitcher
Born: December 6, 1967 (age 51)
Lancaster, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 4, 1989, for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
April 23, 2004, for the Kansas City Royals
MLB statistics
Win–loss record169–137
Earned run average3.74
Strikeouts1,994
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Kansas City Royals

Appier had a strong rookie campaign for the Royals in 1990, going 12-8 and posting the league's fourth-best ERA (2.76), thus earning him Rookie Pitcher of the Year honors. In 1991, he had 13 wins (tied for the team best), and pitched 3 shutouts, two of which were back to back against the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He was the Opening Day starter in 1992 and posted a 15-8 record with the league's second-best ERA (2.46) for a team that only went 72-90. Highlights of the season included a career-high nine-game winning streak and the American League Pitcher of the Month award for July, in which he went 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA. In 1993, Appier posted an 18-8 record with an AL leading 2.56 ERA, set a club record of 33 consecutive scoreless innings, and finished third in Cy Young Award balloting. In 1995, he was selected for his only All-Star team, pitching 2 perfect innings for the American League. He reached a career high in strikeouts in 1996 with 207, and won his first of two Roberto Clemente Awards (the other in 1998). Appier suffered through his first sub-.500 season in 1997, despite posting a 3.40 ERA (7th best in AL)

Despite being one of the better pitchers in baseball during this time period, his accomplishments went largely unnoticed due to playing for the Royals, a small market team that was generally not in contention during Appier's tenure. In 1997, under the promise of the team's improvement, he signed a long-term extension. During that offseason, he suffered a fall at his home resulting in a separated clavicle. Though he recovered from that injury, in March 1998 he needed surgery for an unrelated long-term progressing shoulder ailment, the repair of a torn labrum,[2] causing him to miss nearly the entire 1998 season. In 1999, after losing faith in the direction of the Royals organization and eager to play with a contender, Appier requested to be traded. In the middle of the 1999 season, Appier was dealt to the Oakland A's for three pitchers, Jeff D'Amico, Brad Rigby and Blake Stein.

Oakland Athletics

As the Athletics made their surprising run winning the AL West title in 2000, Appier provided a solid veteran arm in support of Oakland's developing young starters, making his 8th Opening Day start and winning 15 games for the fifth time in his career. Despite a good showing, he lost his only start in that year's ALDS when the Athletics were shut out. In Game 5, after the Yankees scored 6 runs in the first inning, Appier (for the first time in 10 years) came in to relieve in the 2nd inning, pitching four innings and allowing one run. For the series, Appier posted a 3.48 ERA with 13 strikeouts in 10.1 innings pitched.

New York Mets

A free agent after the season, Appier signed a contract with the New York Mets, with which he tied for the team lead in wins, going 11-10 with a 3.57 ERA and went undefeated in his final 12 appearances, going 6-0 during that span. Making a playoff push, the Mets went 6-0 in his final six starts with Appier going 4-0 with a 1.87 ERA.

Anaheim Angels

After the one season campaign in New York, Appier was traded to Anaheim for Mo Vaughn. During a solid season with the World Series winning Angels in 2002, Appier went 14-12 with a 3.92 ERA. In Game Two of the ALDS, Appier went 5 innings, giving up 3 runs, and left the game leading 4-3, but received a no-decision in an Angels victory after a blown save by Francisco Rodríguez. In Game One of the ALCS, Appier went 5 innings in a 2-1 loss against the Minnesota Twins. He also started Game Five, going ​5 13 innings and leaving with the Angels leading 3-2 in the game that sent Anaheim to the World Series, though he once again did not receive the decision. He finished the ALCS with a 3.48 ERA. Starting Game Two of the World Series, Appier did not factor into the decision after allowing 5 runs in 2+ innings, as the Angels went on to win the game 11-10. With the Angels facing elimination, Appier started Game Six, pitching four innings of shutout ball before yielding a fifth inning 2-run HR, and leaving with a man on base who eventually scored via stolen base and wild pitch off Francisco Rodriguez, leaving him with an 11.37 ERA for the Series, which the Angels won in seven games.

Return to Kansas City

In 2003, Appier was plagued with a previously undiagnosed flexor tendon injury and was eventually released at the end of July. He signed with the Royals, but after five starts needed surgery. After missing most of 2004, Appier briefly retired, but came out of retirement and re-signed with the Royals to a minor-league contract before the 2005 season, failing to make the team in Spring training and retiring on March 29. In October, Appier applied for reinstatement with Major League Baseball and signed a minor-league contract with the Seattle Mariners. During 10 games with the AAA Tacoma Rainiers, Appier was 1-2 with a 4.54 ERA. On June 3, 2006, Appier asked for and was granted his release by the Mariners, officially retiring the next month.

In 2011, Appier was inducted into the Kansas City Royals Hall of Fame. During his 13 seasons with Kansas City, he accumulated an overall record of 115-92 with and ERA of 3.49 over the course of 287 games.

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c Porter, David L. (2000). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: A-F. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. pp. 34–35. ISBN 031329884X. Retrieved 2012-04-05.
  2. ^ Walker, Ben (25 March 1998). "Appier Lost To Pitching Staff Until At Least All-star Break". The Nevada Daily Mail. Nevada, Missouri. p. 12. Retrieved 23 July 2010.

External links

1989 Kansas City Royals season

The 1989 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing second in the American League West with a record of 92 wins and 70 losses. The Royals' record was tied for the third best in baseball, but in the pre-wild card era, the team did not qualify for the post-season.

1990 Kansas City Royals season

The 1990 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 6th in the American League West with a record of 75 wins and 86 losses.

1993 Kansas City Royals season

The 1993 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 3rd in the American League West with a record of 84 wins and 78 losses. This was George Brett's final season in the major leagues, as well as the team's final season in the AL West.

1994 Kansas City Royals season

The 1994 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 3rd in the American League Central with a record of 64 wins and 51 losses. The season was cut short by the 1994 player's strike. The season marked the Royals' alignment into the new American League Central division.

1999 Kansas City Royals season

The 1999 Kansas City Royals season involved the Royals finishing 4th in the American League Central with a record of 64 wins and 97 losses.

1999 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1999 season involved the A's finishing 2nd in the American League West with a record of 87 wins and 75 losses. In doing so, the Athletics finished with their first winning record since 1992. The campaign was also the first of eight consecutive winning seasons for the Athletics (the last of these coming in 2006).

2000 American League Division Series

The 2000 American League Division Series (ALDS), the opening round of the 2000 American League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 3, and ended on Sunday, October 8, with the champions of the three AL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:

(1) Chicago White Sox (Central Division champion, 95–67) vs. (4) Seattle Mariners (Wild Card, 91–71): Mariners win series, 3–0.

(2) Oakland Athletics (Western Division champion, 91–70) vs. (3) New York Yankees (Eastern Division champion, 87–74): Yankees win series, 3–2.The Mariners and the defending World Series champion Yankees went on to meet in the AL Championship Series for the right to advance to the 2000 World Series against the National League champion New York Mets.

2000 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 2000 season was the team's 33rd in Oakland, California. It was also the 100th season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 91-70.

The A's, in winning the division, snapped an eight-year postseason drought. The division championship was also the first of the so-called "Moneyball" era. Over the next six seasons, the Athletics would reach the postseason a total of four additional times.

The season saw the debuts of eventual ace starters Barry Zito and Mark Mulder. These two pitchers, along with Tim Hudson (who had debuted one year prior), would comprise the top of Oakland's rotation (known popularly as the "Big Three") until the end of the 2004 season. Of the three, Hudson fared the best in 2000; he won twenty games (the most in the American League) and reached the All-Star Game in his first full season as a starter. For his efforts, Hudson finished second in that year's American League Cy Young Award voting.

The Athletics also boasted a strong offense. The team scored 947 runs (an Oakland record) over the course of the season; this figure was the third-highest in the American League. The offense was led by Jason Giambi, who won the American League MVP Award at the end of the season. The team collectively hit 239 home runs in 2000 (also an Oakland record); in total, nine different Athletics hit at least ten home runs.

The Athletics fought the Seattle Mariners in the standings for most of the season. In the end, the Athletics narrowly prevailed; they finished only half a game ahead of the 91-71 Mariners (who won the AL Wild Card). The Athletics then played the New York Yankees in the ALDS. They would lose the best-of-five series three games to two.

2001 Major League Baseball draft

The 2001 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft, was held on June 5 and 6.

2001 New York Mets season

The New York Mets' 2001 season was the 40th regular season for the Mets. They went 82-80 and finished 3rd in the NL East. They were managed by Bobby Valentine. They played home games at Shea Stadium.

2002 American League Championship Series

The 2002 American League Championship Series (ALCS) was a matchup between the Wild Card Anaheim Angels and the Central Division Champion Minnesota Twins. The Angels advanced to the Series after dethroning the reigning four-time AL Champion New York Yankees in the 2002 American League Division Series three games to one. The Twins made their way into the Series after beating the Athletics three games to two. The Angels won the Series four games to one and went on to defeat the San Francisco Giants in the 2002 World Series to win their first World Series championship.

Antelope Valley High School

Antelope Valley High School is located in Lancaster, California, and is part of the Antelope Valley Union High School District, in northernmost Los Angeles County, California. It was founded in 1912, and had its first graduating class in 1912. It is located near the western edge of the Mojave Desert. At the time of its founding, the school was a residential boarding school serving students from farms and ranches from north Los Angeles and south Kern counties. At present, the school primarily serves the population of Lancaster, California.

Art Stewart

Art Stewart (born Feb. 6, 1927 in Chicago, Illinois) is a front-office executive and former Director of Scouting for the Kansas City Royals, a Major League Baseball team.

Baseball City Royals

The Baseball City Royals were a farm team for the Kansas City Royals from 1988 to 1992, after moving from Fort Myers, Florida, where they were known as the Fort Myers Royals.

The Baseball City Royals (based in Davenport, FL) were members of the Florida State League in 1988. Managed by Luis Silverio, they had the FSL's second-best record that year at 79-60 but lost the first-half central division to the Osceola Astros by two games and the second-half race to the Lakeland Tigers by half a game. They were sixth in the 14-team league in attendance (63,746). Outscoring opponents just 557-545, the team had two All-Stars - catcher Carlos Escalera (.253/~.293/.345) and pitcher Aguedo Vasquez (3-2, 33 Sv, 1.67, 54 H in 80​2⁄3 IP). Vasquez led the FSL in saves and games pitched (62) and won the league's MVP award. Going on to fairly long and productive big league careers would be a sizeable contingent of Kevin Appier (10-9, 2.75), 1B-DH Jeff Conine (.272/~.345/.443), 3B Sean Berry (.234/~.309/.319, 24 SB) and 2B Brian McRae (.308/~.378/.355).

In 1989, the Royals had a worse overall record by one game (78-61) but won the first half in the central division (42-27). In the playoffs, they fell 2 games to 0 to the St. Petersburg Cardinals. The attendance plummeted to 39,220 (12th). Silverio's club led the FSL in offense (698 runs) while they allowed 615. They had no All-Stars that season. OF Pete Alborano (.337/~.385/.411) and C Jorge Pedre (.327/~.367/.500) provided excellent contact, while Escalera improved to .294/~.344/.417. Also returning were Berry (.266/~.339/.378, 37 SB) and Conine (.273/~.335/.433, 32 SB, a team-high 14 HR and 91 K). Dazzling on the hill were Carlos Maldonado (11-3, 9 Sv, 1.17, 47 H in 77 IP) and Dennis Moeller (9-0, 1.77).

Brian Poldberg became manager in 1990 and the team fell to 60-78 while they drew a league-low 18,884. Outscored 675-542, the club had few bright spots. A few bright spots were Mark Parnell (2-2, 17 Sv, 1.86, 24 H, 40 K in 39 IP) and Greg Harvey (5-1, 2.04, 27 H in 40 IP) on the mound. OF Jacob Brumfield overcame a release in spring training and won the batting title at .366/.429/.417. He also paced the FSL in OBP and stole 47 bases in 57 attempts. He made the league's All-Star team.

The 1991 Baseball City team had a 446-461 run margin and the Carlos Tosca-managed nine went 62-69. At 35-30 in the second half, they were one game behind Lakeland in the Central. Doug Harris (10-6, 2.47) finished ninth in ERA for the All-Star-less team. OF Kerwin Moore (.210/~.319/.322) led the FSL in steals (61) and strikeouts (141) while the top offensive threat was 3B Phil Hiatt (.298/~.344/.451, 28 SB). Brian Ahern (7-2, 2.00) was effective in 13 starts, while the bullpen boasted fine production from Matt Karchner (6-3, 5 Sv, 1.97, 49 H in 73 IP), Tony Long (7-3, 10 Sv, 1.96) and Skip Wiley (4-2, 17 Sv, 1.68). They drew 21,174 fans, next-to-last in the FSL.

In 1992, the Royals were 71-60 and finished sixth under the guidance of Ron Johnson. Their attendance of 17,406 was second-lowest, but almost 40,000 less than the next team. Making the playoffs as a wild card, they stunned the favorite Sarasota White Sox 2 games to 0 then beat the Osceola Astros 2 games to 1, before falling to Lakeland 2 games to 0 in the finals. They had a 532-464 edge in runs. FSL managers selected C Lance Jennings (.259/~.317/.420) as the 8th-best prospect in the loop and he was their only All-Star, sharing FSL All-Star honors with Dunedin's Carlos Delgado.

1B Joe Vitiello (.283/~.357/.388) made the league's top 10 in average, while 3B Joe Randa hit .275/~.318/.328 in 51 contests. Long (3-3, Sv, 1.83) again pitched well, as did Kevin Kobetitsch (3-0, 4 Sv, 1.26, .78 WHIP). Jon Lieber (3-3, 4.65) made seven appearances en route to a fine MLB career.

In 1993, Kansas City moved their high class-A affiliate to the Wilmington Blue Rocks. The Baseball City FSL franchise was then shifted to Daytona Beach, where it became the Daytona Cubs.

Blake Stein

William Blake Stein (born August 3, 1973) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Oakland Athletics and Kansas City Royals from 1998-2002.

On June 2, 1994, he was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 6th round of the 1994 amateur draft. On July 31, 1997, he was traded by the Cardinals with Eric Ludwick and T. J. Mathews to the Oakland Athletics for Mark McGwire. On July 31, 1999, he was traded by the Athletics with Jeff D'Amico and Brad Rigby to the Kansas City Royals for Kevin Appier. On June 17, 2001, Stein fanned eight straight Brewers for the Royals, and 11 in five 2/3 innings, but Milwaukee defeated Kansas City, 5-2. Only Nolan Ryan (twice), Ron Davis, and Roger Clemens had struck out eight in a row in the American League. Tigers pitcher Doug Fister would break this record on September 27, 2012, striking out nine Royals, but receiving a no-decision in a 5-4 Detroit victory.

When starting for the Athletics against the Cleveland Indians on 31 August 1998, Stein was unable to get out any of the first eight Indian batters out - the inning started walk-hit batsman-walk-single-single-walk-single-single, giving the Indians a 6-0 lead. Stein was pulled from the game by manager Art Howe, and became the first starting pitcher in Major League history to fail to get out any of the first eight batters of the game.After retiring from baseball, Stein attended Spring Hill College and graduated in 2005. He is now Assistant Principal for Discipline and Attendance at McGill-Toolen Catholic High School.

Forkball

The forkball is a type of pitch in baseball. Related to the split-finger fastball, the forkball is held between the first two fingers and thrown hard, snapping the wrist.

The forkball differs from the split-fingered fastball, however, in that the ball is jammed deeper between the first two fingers. The result is that the forkball is generally thrown slightly slower than the splitter, but has more of a "tumbling" action akin to the movement of a 12–6 curveball, as it will drop off the plate before it gets to the catcher's mitt.

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.

Two-seam fastball

A two-seam fastball is a pitch in baseball and a variant of the straight fastball. The pitch has the speed of a fastball and can also include late breaking action caused by varying the pressure of the index and middle fingers on the ball.

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