Miguel Ángel Cuellar Santana (May 8, 1937 – April 2, 2010) [KWAY-ar] was a Cuban left-handed starting pitcher who spent fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Cincinnati Reds, St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros, Baltimore Orioles and California Angels. His best years were spent with the Orioles, helping them capture five American League East Division titles, three consecutive American League (AL) pennants and the 1970 World Series Championship. He shared the AL Cy Young Award in 1969 and won 20-or-more games in a season four times from 1969 to 1974. He was a part of the last starting rotation to feature four pitchers with at least twenty victories each in one season. Cuellar, nicknamed Crazy Horse while with the Orioles, ranks among Baltimore's top five career leaders in wins (143), strikeouts (1,011), shutouts (30) and innings pitched (2,028), and trails only Dave McNally among left-handers in wins and shutouts.
|Born: May 8, 1937|
Santa Clara, Cuba
|Died: April 2, 2010 (aged 72)|
|April 18, 1959, for the Cincinnati Reds|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 3, 1977, for the California Angels|
|Earned run average||3.14|
|Career highlights and awards|
A clever pitcher with an excellent screwball and change-up, Cuellar was signed by the Cincinnati Reds as an amateur free agent in 1957 after drawing attention with a no-hitter he pitched for an army team in 1955 while serving in the Cuban army during the Batista regime.
Cuellar made his major league debut with Cincinnati in a 14–9 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies at Crosley Field on April 18, 1959. He entered the contest in relief of Don Newcombe in the second inning with the Reds losing 4–2. In his two innings of work, Cuellar surrendered a grand slam to Gene Freese in the third and a two-run double to Al Schroll in the fourth. His only other appearance with the Reds came three days later in its 7–4 defeat to the Milwaukee Braves at County Stadium on April 21. Again he pitched two innings in relief, but he gave up two runs.
Cuellar next spent five years in the minor leagues and Mexican baseball, including periods with the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians farm systems. He was acquired in 1964 by the St. Louis Cardinals, where his win-loss record was 5–5, primarily as a relief pitcher, while the Cardinals made a late-season surge as the Philadelphia Phillies collapsed in September. This took the Cardinals and Cuellar to the 1964 World Series.
Cuellar was traded along with Ron Taylor to the Houston Astros for Hal Woodeshick and Chuck Taylor at the June 15 trade deadline in 1965. Upon joining the starting rotation in 1966 for the Astros, Cuellar won his first six decisions. The last of them was a 3–2 complete game over the Cardinals at the Astrodome on June 25, in which he recorded a career-high 15 strikeouts. In his final start of the campaign, a 4–3 road win over Cincinnati in the second match of a September 28 twi-night doubleheader, he hit his first major-league home run off of Sammy Ellis to lead off the top of the fifth. Cuellar finished at 12–10, with a 2.22 earned run average (ERA) which was second in the National League to Sandy Koufax's 1.73.
Cuellar improved his win-loss record to sixteen victories in 1967 for the Astros, setting a team record for left-handed pitchers. (This stood for six years until Dave Roberts surpassed it with seventeen in 1973). He made the first of four Major League Baseball All-Star Game appearances at Anaheim Stadium on July 11. He came into the contest in relief of Chris Short in the eleventh. Of the seven batters he faced, the only baserunner he allowed in the two shutout innings he pitched was Carl Yastrzemski who hit a two-out single in the twelfth inning.
Cuellar was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in December 1968. Finally, he had established a permanent role with one of baseball's up-and-coming franchises, as he found spot in the Orioles' starting rotation. With the acquisition of Cuellar, joining the likes of Jim Palmer and Dave McNally, and sluggers Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson and Boog Powell, the Orioles began one of the strongest sequences of years in professional baseball in 1969. In August of that year, Cuellar accomplished a sequence where he retired 35 batters in a row, without issuing a walk or giving up a hit. The streak was ended on Sunday, August 10 by César Tovar of the Minnesota Twins, as Cuellar was three outs away from recording his first career no-hitter; Tovar's hit, which came in the top of ninth inning, was the only one the Twins would manage against Cuellar in his complete-game shutout (a 2-0 home victory).
During the 1969 season, Cuellar achieved a win-loss record of 23–11, struck out 182 batters, and recorded an excellent 2.38 earned run average, as Baltimore won a club-record 109 games and the very first American League East Division title (prior to the season, both the American League and National League had been divided into East and West Divisions). For his outstanding year, Cuellar tied the Detroit Tigers' pitcher Denny McLain for the American League Cy Young Award. Cuellar becoming the first pitcher born in Latin America to win the Cy Young Award. (Note that following this tie in the voting, the system for voting was changed in a way that did not eliminate the chances for ties for the Cy Young Award, but it did make this tie far more unlikely. No two pitchers have ever tied for the Cy Young Award in either Major League since then.)
Cuellar started Game One of the American League Championship Series against the West Division Champion Minnesota Twins, but he recorded a "no-decision." The Orioles won this game 4–3 in 12 innings, thanks to a Paul Blair RBI single, long after Cuellar had left the game. This was the left-hander's only appearance in this series, as the Orioles went on to sweep the Twins three games to none en route to the American League Pennant and a berth in the World Series.
In the World Series against the New York Mets, Cuellar started Game One and was the winning pitcher in a 4–1 victory. He also started Game Four, but left after seven innings, trailing 1–0. However, the Orioles tied the game 1–1, giving Cuellar a "no-decision" in a game the Mets eventually went on to win, 2–1, in 10 innings. In the next game, the Mets completed one of the biggest World Series upsets ever, winning the 1969 Series four games to one against the heavily favored Orioles.
Cuellar's win-loss record was 24–8 in 1970 with a 3.48 ERA and 190 strikeouts. Cuellar lead the league in victories and in complete games, but he finished just in fourth place in rather-odd voting for the American League Cy Young Award. Once again, the Orioles swept the American League Championship Series in 1970 over the Minnesota Twins, three games to none. Cuellar's pitching was rather ineffective in Game One of the 1970 American League Championship Series, but Cuellar helped a huge amount with his bat. Cuellar hit the only grand slam home run by any pitcher in a League Championship Series thus far as of 2015. Also, since the designated hitter has become so well established in the American league, it seems to be likely that no other AL pitcher will ever have the chance again.
Nevertheless, Cuellar did not pitch long enough to earn a win in the Championship Series game, because Orioles manager Earl Weaver removed Cuellar from Game One during the fifth inning, even though the Orioles had a 9–6 lead. Also, since the Orioles swept the Championship Series, there was no need for Cuellar to pitch in it again.
Cuellar had a rocky start in Game Two of the 1970 World Series against the upstart National League Champion Cincinnati Reds, with Weaver again pulling him out of the game again, this time in the third inning. In Game Five, Cuellar was again hit hard early, giving up three runs to the Reds in the first inning. It was then that his pitching coach, George Bamberger, advised Cuellar to stop throwing his screwball for the rest of the game. Pitching with just his fastball, curveball, and changeup, Cuellar shut out the Reds for the next eight innings to defeat them 9–3, clinching the World Series title for the Orioles, winning four games to one.
In 1971, Cuellar's regular-season win-loss record was 20–9 with a 3.08 ERA and 124 strikeouts as the Orioles won the American League East Division for the third year in a row. In the American League Championship Series against the Oakland Athletics, Cuellar won Game Two by the score of 5–1. The Orioles won the American League Championship for the third year in a row and earned a berth in the World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
In the 1971 Series, however, Cuellar pitched and was the losing pitcher in Game Three and Game Seven against the Pirates. Cuellar and the Orioles were narrowly edged in the decisive seventh game by a score of just 2–1. This was the very unusual year in which the Orioles had four twenty-game winners in their starting rotation, and their manager, Earl Weaver, decided to continue his usual pitching rotation that had already been established.
During the five-year stretch of 1969–73, Cuellar was a part of a very strong Orioles pitching staff, teaming with future Hall of Famer Jim Palmer and Dave McNally to form the heart of the finest starting rotation that the Orioles have ever had. Cuellar, Palmer and McNally combined for eight individual 20-win seasons in the 1969, 1970 and 1971 seasons, as the Orioles won the American League championship and advanced to the World Series all three years. Together, the trio racked up a combined win-loss record of 188–72 (.723 winning percentage), while the rest of the Orioles' pitching staff recorded a very good 130–92 record (.586 winning percentage).
On May 29, 1970, Mike Cuellar became one of only 20 American League pitchers to throw a four strike-out inning.
In 1971, Pat Dobson joined the Orioles, and he posted a 20–8 record as a starting pitcher, forming the Orioles' one-year-only "Big Four" of 20-game winners. Only one other team in major league history, the 1920 Chicago White Sox, has ever had four 20-game winners.
Cuellar won 18 games apiece in both the 1972 and 1973 baseball seasons. In 1972, the Orioles did not make it to the playoffs, finishing behind the Detroit Tigers, but they were back again in 1973, winning the AL Eastern Division title. In Game Three of the American League Championship Series against the defending World Series Champion Oakland Athletics, Cuellar pitched every inning of an 11-inning game, ultimately losing by a score of 2–1 to the A's.
Cuellar had a great pitching season in 1974, finishing with a win-loss record of 22–10 and a 3.11 ERA, but with just 106 strikeouts. Cuellar pitched 20 complete games, including five shutouts, earning a sixth-place finish in the Cy Young Award voting that year. The Orioles won the Eastern Division once again, and they faced off again in the 1974 American League Championship Series against the Athletics, who were in the midst of establishing a dynasty of their own, winning the fourth of five Western Division crowns in a row, and winning the World Series three years in a row.
Cuellar split a pair of decisions against the Athletics, winning in Game One but losing the decisive Game Four; hence the Orioles lost the Championship Series to Oakland three games to one – with the final game again resulting in a very tight 2–1 score.
After two sub-par seasons in 1975 and 1976, Cuellar was released by Baltimore. He signed up as a free agent with the California Angels in 1977. Cuellar was released that May after appearing in only two games. Attempting a comeback at age 42 in 1979, he had a combined 7–6 record with three clubs in the Puerto Rican League and Mexican Leagues.
During his 15-season career Cuellar had a win-loss record of 185–130 with a 3.14 ERA, 1,632 strikeouts, 172 complete games, 36 shutouts, and 11 saves in 453 games and 2,808 innings pitched. In five American League Championship Series and three World Series appearances, Cuellar pitched in 12 games, winning four games and losing four with a 2.85 ERA while recording 56 strikeouts.
Also, on August 10, 1971, Cuellar threw the pitch that Harmon Killebrew hit for his 500th career home run.
In a 1976 Esquire magazine article, columnist Harry Stein published an "All Time All-Star Argument Starter", consisting of five ethnic baseball teams. Cuellar, a Cuban, was the left-handed pitcher on Stein's Latino team.
After his baseball career ended, Cuellar resided in Orlando, Florida, and he was an active participant in the Hispanic Heritage Month event.
On April 2, 2010, Cuellar died of stomach cancer at the Orlando Regional Medical Center in Orlando, Florida. He was the third of the Orioles' four 20-game winners in 1971 to perish, following Dave McNally in 2002 and Pat Dobson in 2006. Only Jim Palmer survives them.
The 1965 Houston Astros season was the franchise's first season in the Houston Astrodome, as well as its first season as the Astros after three seasons known as the Colt .45s. It involved the Houston Astros finishing in ninth place in the National League with a record of 65–97, 32 games behind the eventual World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers. The Astros were managed by Lum Harris.1967 Houston Astros season
The 1967 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. It involved the 69–93 Astros ninth-place finish in the National League, 32½ games behind the NL and World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals.1967 Philadelphia Phillies season
The 1967 Philadelphia Phillies season consisted of the Phillies' 82–80 finish, good for fifth place in the National League, 19½ games behind the NL and World Series Champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Phillies would not finish above .500 again until 1975.1970 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1970 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing first in the American League East with a record of 108 wins and 54 losses, 15 games ahead of the runner-up New York Yankees. The Orioles swept the Minnesota Twins for the second straight year in the American League Championship Series. They then went on to win their second World Series title over the National League champion Cincinnati Reds in five games, thanks to the glove of third baseman Brooks Robinson.
The team was managed by Earl Weaver, and played their home games at Memorial Stadium.1970 World Series
The 1970 World Series matched the American League champion Baltimore Orioles (108–54 in the regular season) against the National League champion Cincinnati Reds (102–60), with the Orioles winning in five games.
In this series Emmett Ashford became the first African American to umpire in the Fall Classic. It also featured the first World Series games to be played on artificial turf, as Games 1 and 2 took place at Cincinnati's first-year Riverfront Stadium.
This was the last World Series in which all games were played in the afternoon. Also this was the third time in a World Series where a team leading 3–0 in the series would fail to complete the sweep by losing game 4 but still win game 5 to win the series. 1910 and 1937 were the others. This was the last World Series until 2017 in which both participating teams won over 100 games during the regular season.1971 Baltimore Orioles season
In 1971, the Baltimore Orioles finished first in the American League East, with a record of 101 wins and 57 losses. As of 2016, the 1971 Orioles are one of only two Major League Baseball clubs (the 1920 Chicago White Sox being the other) to have four 20-game winners in a season: Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Mike Cuellar, and Pat Dobson.1971 World Series
The 1971 World Series was the 68th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1971 season. A best-of-seven playoff, it matched the defending World Series and American League (AL) champion Baltimore Orioles against the National League (NL) champion Pittsburgh Pirates, with the Pirates winning in seven games. Game 4, played in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, was the first-ever World Series game played at night.
The teams proved to be evenly matched, as the Series went the full seven games; the home team prevailed in each of the first six. In Game Seven in Baltimore, the Pirates' Steve Blass pitched a four-hit complete game for a 2–1 win over Mike Cuellar and the Orioles.
In his final World Series appearance, Roberto Clemente became the first Spanish-speaking ballplayer to earn World Series MVP honors. He hit safely in all seven games of the Series, duplicating a feat he had performed in 1960.
Twenty-one-year-old rookie Bruce Kison pitched 6⅓ scoreless innings and allowed just one hit in two appearances for the Pirates; he set a record of three hit batters in a World Series game (#4), which also tied the 1907 record for a World Series.
This was the first of three consecutive World Series, all seven games, in which the winning team scored fewer runs overall. The trend continued for the next seven-game series in 1975.
These two teams met again in the fall classic eight years later, with the same result, as the Pirates won the final three games to win in seven.1972 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1972 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing third in the American League East with a record of 80 wins and 74 losses.1973 American League Championship Series
The 1973 American League Championship Series took place between October 6 and 11, 1973. The Oakland Athletics defeated the Baltimore Orioles, three games to two. Games 1 and 2 were played in Memorial Stadium in Baltimore; Games 3–5 were played at the Oakland Coliseum. It was the second match-up between the two teams in the ALCS.1973 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1973 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing first in the American League East with a record of 97 wins and 65 losses. They went on to lose to the Oakland Athletics in the 1973 American League Championship Series, three games to two.1974 American League Championship Series
The 1974 American League Championship Series was a best-of-five matchup between the East Division Champion Baltimore Orioles and the West Division Champion Oakland A's. It was a rematch of the previous year's series and third overall between the two teams. The A's beat the Orioles three games to one and received their third straight pennant in the process. They defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1974 World Series and won their third straight World Series championship.1974 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1974 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing first in the American League East with a record of 91 wins and 71 losses. The Orioles went on to lose to the Oakland Athletics in the 1974 American League Championship Series, 3 games to 1.1975 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1975 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing 2nd in the American League East with a record of 90 wins and 69 losses.1976 Baltimore Orioles season
The 1976 Baltimore Orioles season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Orioles finishing second in the American League East with a record of 88 wins and 74 losses.1983 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1983 followed the system in place since 1978.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and
elected two, Juan Marichal and Brooks Robinson.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.
It selected Walter Alston and George Kell.Corito Varona
Camilo Varona was a figure in Latin American baseball. He played for Cienfuegos of the Cuban League. He managed the Aguascalientes Tigres of the Mexican Center League in 1963, being replaced by Daniel Rios partway through the campaign. In 1964, he led the Tabasco Plataneros of the Mexican Southeast League to a 52-35 record. He later became a scout, discovering Fernando Valenzuela and signing Mike Cuellar, among many others. He was born in Cuba.Harry Dalton
Harry I. Dalton (August 23, 1928 – October 23, 2005) was an American front-office executive in Major League Baseball. He served as general manager of three American League teams, the Baltimore Orioles (1966–71), California Angels (1972–77) and Milwaukee Brewers (1978–91), and was a principal architect of the Orioles' dynasty of 1966–74 as well as the only AL championship the Brewers ever won (1982).
Born in West Springfield, Massachusetts—also the hometown of Baseball Hall of Fame manager Leo Durocher—Dalton graduated from Amherst College and served in the United States Air Force during the Korean War, earning a Bronze Star. After a brief stint as a sportswriter in Springfield, he joined the front office of the Orioles, newly reborn as the relocated St. Louis Browns, in 1954. For the next 11 years, Dalton worked his way up the organizational ladder, rising to the position of director of the Orioles' successful farm system in 1961.In the autumn of 1965, Baltimore general manager Lee MacPhail departed to become top aide to the new Commissioner of Baseball, William Eckert. Dalton was named Director of Player Personnel—in effect, MacPhail's successor. His first order of business was to complete a trade that brought Cincinnati Reds outfielder Frank Robinson to Baltimore for pitchers Milt Pappas and Jack Baldschun and a minor league outfielder. Robinson, 1961 National League Most Valuable Player, was one of the greatest stars in the game, but he had developed a strained relationship with the Cincinnati front office. In Baltimore, he would team with third baseman Brooks Robinson to lead the O's to the 1966 and 1970 World Series championships, and pennants in 1969 and 1971. Dalton was the man who hired Earl Weaver as manager, brought to the Majors young stars such as Bobby Grich and Don Baylor, and acquired key players such as Mike Cuellar, Pat Dobson and Don Buford. (Weaver, Frank Robinson and Brooks Robinson, along with pitching great Jim Palmer, a product of Dalton's farm system, are all in the Hall in Fame.)
After the Orioles lost the 1971 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Dalton was hired to turn around a stumbling Angels franchise. He acquired the great pitcher Nolan Ryan in a December 1971 trade with the New York Mets, but during Dalton's six seasons in Anaheim the team never posted a winning record. After the 1977 season, the Angels hired veteran executive Buzzie Bavasi as Dalton's boss, then released Dalton from his contract so that he could become the general manager of the Brewers.
Milwaukee had a group of talented young players, such as Robin Yount, Cecil Cooper and rookie Paul Molitor, but the nine-year-old franchise had never had a winning season. In 1978, Dalton hired George Bamberger, Weaver's pitching coach for many years, as the Brewers' new manager, and the team gelled into contenders in the American League East Division. By 1981, they made the playoffs and in 1982, Milwaukee won its first and only American League pennant (the Brewers moved to the National League Central Division in 1998). In the 1982 World Series, the "Harvey's Wallbangers" Brewers of manager Harvey Kuenn lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
The Brewers contended in 1983, but then began to struggle on the field. The team rebounded in 1987 and 1988, but when it returned to its losing ways, Dalton's position was weakened. After a poor 1991 season, he was replaced as general manager by Sal Bando. Dalton, who remained a consultant in the Milwaukee front office through his 1994 retirement, nevertheless was one of the most respected men in baseball, who had trained other successful general managers such as John Schuerholz, Lou Gorman and Dan Duquette, a fellow Amherst alumnus.On July 24, 2003, Dalton was inducted into the Milwaukee Brewers Walk of Fame outside Miller Park.
Harry Dalton died at age 77 in Scottsdale, Arizona, of complications from Lewy body disease, misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.Jim Hardin
James Warren Hardin (August 6, 1943 – March 9, 1991) was a professional baseball player who played in Major League Baseball, mostly for the Baltimore Orioles. Hardin was part of one of the best pitching staffs of the 1960s and 1970s, alongside Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, Tom Phoebus, and Mike Cuellar. With Baltimore, he earned a World Series ring in 1970 and was part of the dominant 1969 American League champions who lost that year's World Series to the "Miracle Mets." An 18-game winner in 1968, Hardin pitched four and a half years with Baltimore, half of one season with the New York Yankees and one year with the Atlanta Braves. He finished his career with a record of 43–32 and a 3.19 ERA. As a starting pitcher he was an "iron man", registering 28 complete games in 100 career starts — a rate rivaled by few contemporary pitchers and even fewer current starters.Screwball
A screwball is a baseball and fastpitch softball pitch that is thrown so as to break in the opposite direction of a slider or curveball. Depending on the pitcher's arm angle, the ball may also have a sinking action.
Carl Hubbell was one of the most renowned screwball pitchers in the history of Major League Baseball. Hubbell was known as the "scroogie king" for his mastery of the pitch and the frequency with which he threw it. Other famous screwball artists include Tug McGraw and Cy Young Award winners Mike Cuellar, Fernando Valenzuela, Mike Marshall, and Willie Hernández.
Members of the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame
"Wild Bill" Hagy Award