Ron Darling

Ronald Maurice Darling Jr. (born August 19, 1960) is an American former right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) who played for the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, and Oakland Athletics. Darling currently works as a color commentator for national baseball coverage on TBS, as well as for the Mets on both SNY and WPIX; he also co-hosts several MLB Network programs.

During his 13-year career, Darling amassed a 136–116 won-loss record, with 13 shutouts. He had 1,590 strikeouts and a 3.87 ERA. In 1985, he was picked for the All-Star team.

Darling had five pitches in his repertoire: the slider, a curveball, a circle changeup, a splitter, and a four seam fastball. In the beginning of his career, Darling's weak point was control, and he finished three seasons in the top four in base on balls; as his career progressed, his control improved considerably. He was considered one of the better fielding pitchers of the time and won a Gold Glove Award in 1989. Darling had one of the best pickoff moves among right-handers. An above-average athlete, he was sometimes used as a pinch runner. In 1989, he hit home runs in two consecutive starts.

Ron Darling
Ron Darling, April 2009 cropped
Darling in 2009
Pitcher
Born: August 19, 1960 (age 58)
Honolulu, Hawaii
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 6, 1983, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
August 15, 1995, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Win–loss record136–116
Earned run average3.87
Strikeouts1,590
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Early life

Darling was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a Hawaiian-Chinese mother and a French-Canadian father. After growing up in Millbury, Massachusetts, he attended St. John's High School in Shrewsbury, Massachusetts.

College

Darling attended Yale College, where, according to a Mets broadcast televised on April 24, 2015, he had two majors that were collectively called "American studies." At Yale, Darling began his college career for the Yale Bulldogs in the Ivy League as a position player and did not pitch regularly until his sophomore season.

On May 21, 1981, Darling faced future Mets teammate Frank Viola, then playing for St. John's University, in an NCAA post-season game, and he had a no-hitter through 11 innings. In the 12th inning, St. John's broke up the no-hitter and then scored on a double-steal to beat Yale 1–0. Darling's performance remains the longest no-hitter in NCAA history, and the game is considered by some to be the best in college baseball history and was the subject of a New Yorker story by Roger Angell, who attended the game.[1]

Darling was set to graduate in December 1982, but he was drafted by the Texas Rangers in June 1981.[2]

Darling went on to play more games in Major League Baseball than any Yale alumnus since 19th-century pitcher Bill Hutchinson.[3] He was the last former Yale Bulldog to reach the Major Leagues until pitcher Craig Breslow made his debut in 2005 (and was not followed by another Yale player until catcher Ryan Lavarnway in 2011).[4][5]

Career

Minor leagues

Darling was selected in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1981 MLB draft by the Texas Rangers. He put up mediocre numbers with the AA Tulsa Drillers, and before the 1982 season began, Darling and Walt Terrell were traded to the Mets for Lee Mazzilli. For the Mets, Darling and Terrell would eventually combine for seven double-digit win seasons. Three seasons later, the Mets traded Terrell to the Detroit Tigers for Howard Johnson. For Texas, Mazzilli never regained his limited glory of the late 1970s.

Darling would have compiled decent numbers with the AAA Tidewater Tides in 1982 and 1983 except for very high base on balls counts during both seasons. Despite his control problems, Darling was called up to the majors in late 1983. The Mets had the worst record in the National League and second-worst in the majors when Darling debuted on September 6, 1983. He was impressive in that start but left the game down 1–0 and the Mets lost 2–0. The Mets were also last in offense in the N.L. Each of Darling's first three starts—in which he went 0–3—were all decent pitching performances (11 strikeouts,  9 walks, 2.08 ERA, and 6 runs over the course of the three starts).[1] He finished his season with a complete game victory and was in the Majors for good.

New York Mets

Building to a championship

In 1984, Darling won a spot in the starting rotation and maintained a spot there almost uninterrupted until 1990. While his early walk percentages were poor—he even led the league in walks in 1985—he never again showed the terrible walk percentages he had while playing AAA ball.

With Darling and Terrell each getting their first long-term chances in the Majors and with the debut of young star and eventual Rookie of the Year Dwight Gooden, the Mets went from second-worst in the majors in 1983 to fourth-best in the majors in 1984; the Mets finished second-best in their division and missed the postseason. Darling had difficulty pitching on the road in 1984 compared to pitching at pitcher-friendly Shea Stadium; his road ERA was more than 50% higher than his home ERA. He had a streak of seven wins in seven starts in June (5–0) and July (1.88 ERA) including a pair of complete game four-hit shutouts, but the other two-thirds of the season were not nearly as successful. The Mets were in first place at the end of July but Darling's 2–6 record the rest of the way was little help, and the Chicago Cubs won the division by 6 ½ games. Darling finished 12–9 overall with a 3.81 ERA.

The 1985 season was an improvement for Darling, despite a career-high 114 walks. His April included a one-hit seven-inning no-decision and a five-hit shutout with 11 strikeouts. On July 4, Darling pitched on one day of rests, making the only relief appearance of his first seven seasons during a marathon 19-inning 16–13 win. Darling finished the legendary game in which 13 runs were scored in the extra innings alone; during that game, the Mets blew four leads and nearly blew a fifth. After starting 9–2, he was selected to his only All-Star team but did not participate in the game. Overall, he posted his career-best winning percentage in 1985 with a 16–6 record. His record could have been even better but in eight of his starts, he received seven no-decisions and a loss despite allowing less than two earned runs in each game. On October 1, Darling pitched nine shutout innings on only four hits, but the game was scoreless until the 11th. The Mets narrowly missed the postseason, but Darling established himself as a clear number-two starter behind Gooden's untouchable 24–4 season.

World Series

Ron Darling 1986 by Barry Colla
Darling in 1986

In 1986, everything came together for the Mets, and Darling was no exception. He finished with a 15–6 record and posted his career-best 2.81 ERA, which was third-best in the N.L. He also received the only Cy Young Award votes of his career, finishing fifth behind Mike Scott of the Astros. The Mets led the way most of the season, and their top four starters all received Cy Young votes. On May 27, Darling tied his career-high with 12 strikeouts in a five-hit complete game victory which, despite a poor April, raised his record to 6–0. He was good on the road but even better at home with a 10–2 record at Shea. His worst blemish was off the field when on July 19, he and teammates Bob Ojeda, Rick Aguilera, and Tim Teufel were arrested outside a bar in Houston, Texas for fighting with security guards (who were also off-duty police officers). All four were released in time for the following game. Darling and Teufel pleaded guilty in 1987 to a misdemeanor charge of resisting arrest, were sentenced to a year of probation, and were ordered to pay $200 fines.[6] The probation period was cancelled by a judge one month later.[7] The incident fed into the Mets' reputation as a rowdy crew that season. Despite the run-in, Darling was featured on the cover of the August 25 issue of Sports Illustrated.

The 1986 National League Championship Series was tied 1–1 when Darling started Game 3, but he pitched poorly and left losing 4–0. The Mets recovered to win both the game and eventually the series. Darling opened the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. He pitched extremely well in Game 1, allowing only a single unearned run, but lost a hard-luck 1–0 game to Bruce Hurst. With the Mets in danger of falling into a 3–1 series deficit, Darling started Game 4 and extended his 0.00 ERA to 14 innings as the Mets won easily, 6–2. After Game 6, Bill Buckner and the Sox bounced back in Game 7, scoring three early runs against Darling. Shaky into the fourth inning, Darling was relieved, but the Mets recovered to win their second World Championship.

Post-championship decline

Darling went 12–8 in 1987 but had to battle most of the way—as did the rest of the team. Darling's April ERA was over 6.00, and he didn't win a game in either May or June, going 0–4 with 8 no-decisions between victories. He rebounded to win six consecutive starts after the All-Star break, but a good second half only lowered his ERA to 4.29—the worst of his first seven seasons. On June 28, Darling had a no-hitter through seven innings, but the Mets wound up losing the game. They were poised for a run at the division in mid-September when Darling went out with one of the few injuries of his career. He missed the last couple weeks of the season and the Mets missed the postseason.

In 1988, Darling bounced back with a career-high 17 wins. He started quickly with two shutouts in his first four games. A first-half 10–5 record with 3 shutouts and a 2.70 ERA were not enough to earn an All-Star spot. On the season, he compiled a career-high 4 shutouts but also suffered one of his worst games, getting knocked out in the first inning of an 11–2 loss on July 19. Darling's home-versus-road discrepancy was enormous as he went 14–1 at Shea and only 3–8 on the road with a road ERA more than twice as high as his home ERA. He finished the season strong, winning his last five decisions. The Mets coasted into the playoffs, but Darling pitched poorly in the 1988 National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. With the series tied 1–1, he fell into an early 3–0 hole, but the Mets bounced back twice to win 8–4. In the deciding Game 7, Darling was again matched against 1988's best pitcher, Orel Hershiser, and he was over-matched. Darling gave up six runs and was knocked out in the second inning while Hershiser pitched a five-hit shutout, shocking the Mets and winning the series' Most Valuable Player award. The one-sided game was the last postseason appearance for the Mets until 1999.

After their 100-win 1988 season ended, the Mets started a decline that lasted well into the 1990s. Darling's 1989 started as poorly as 1988 had ended when he lost his first 3 starts with an ERA of 11.57. He recovered with a good May but was inconsistent for the entire season, finishing 14–14 with a 3.52 ERA. Darling's five losses in his last seven starts contributed to the Mets missing the postseason. Darling did become the first Mets pitcher to win the Gold Glove Award. He was also the last N.L. pitcher to win the award before Greg Maddux's remarkable streak of 13 consecutive Gold Gloves. On August 10, 1989, Darling won his 83rd game with the Mets to move him past Jon Matlack into fourth on the Mets' all-time wins list where he remains today (behind Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, and Jerry Koosman).

In 1990, the Mets were in transition, and manager Davey Johnson's job was in jeopardy. Darling was sent to the bullpen part-time for the first time in his career. His first relief performance in late April went well but was followed by three terrible starts. The rest of his season was a mix of starting and relief. With an ERA of 4.60 in late August, Darling was in the bullpen for the next month. He made two starts to close out his season and won them both, but the Mets could not catch the Pittsburgh Pirates. In total, 1990 was Darling's first losing season (7–9) and it was his worst ERA to-date.

Trade and American League

Darling was back in the New York Mets' starting rotation in 1991. Although his pitching was improved over 1990, he was still inconsistent, winning three games with scoreless pitching but getting hit hard in many other games. Unlike previous seasons, Darling posted poor numbers at Shea Stadium while pitching well on the road. He pitched scoreless two-hit ball over eight innings against the Montreal Expos on the road in his second-last game with the Mets. On July 15, 1991, Darling was traded with a minor leaguer to Montreal for former closer Tim Burke. Darling's three starts for Montreal were poor, with an ERA of 7.41, and on July 31, 1991, the Expos traded him to the Oakland Athletics for two minor leaguers. After the Darling trades, the Expos were left with three minor leaguers, none of whom played more than two games in the majors.

With Oakland, Darling immediately logged two seven-inning scoreless starts and won his first three decisions. Then, his poor control returned and Darling lost seven straight decisions including his last six starts. In three of those losses, he allowed two or fewer runs. Oakland, coming off its third consecutive league pennant, was barely above .500 before acquiring Darling. His acquisition did little to affect Oakland's record.

After the 1991 season, Darling became a free agent and re-signed with Oakland. In 1992, he had his last quality year, finishing with more than 200 innings pitched, a 3.66 ERA, and 15 wins. Inconsistent for most of the season, Darling also showed flashes of brilliance, including three complete game two-hit shutouts—the only two-hitters of his career. He was the victim of poor run support including a no-decision seven-inning one-hitter that was nearly a loss, an eight-inning two-hitter that turned into a no-decision after an unearned run, and two other games where he allowed one earned run and took the loss. Darling finished with the best record on the team percentage-wise. Oakland coasted into the postseason with little trouble, and Darling was called to start Game 3 with the series tied. He pitched well but gave up two costly home runs and took the loss. The A's went on to lose Games 4 and 6 as well and Darling never again pitched in the postseason.

Darling re-signed with Oakland again after 1992, this time a multi-year deal for over $2 million per season, but he was unable to repeat his 1992 performance. The 1993 season was awful for Darling. Through July, his ERA hovered around 6.00, and he was relegated to long relief for over a week. He pitched better after July lowering his ERA to 5.16, but he lost five of his last six decisions.

Outside of July, Darling's 1994 would have been as bad as 1993. In July, he won five starts with one no-decision with an ERA under three. It was Darling's last hurrah. He stumbled through two starts in August before the 1994 Major League Baseball strike ended the season. With his torrid July, Darling reached double digits in wins once again but finished under .500 with a 4.50 ERA. Darling led the American League with 25 games started despite pitching that was average at best.

When the strike lasted into 1995, Darling started terribly, logging an ERA over 9.00 in his four starts without making it through the fifth inning in any of them. His only complete game of the season ended with a 1–0 loss on May 30. Darling won only four games with an ERA of 6.23. After a bad loss, Oakland released him on August 19, 1995 (his 35th birthday), bringing his playing career to an end.

Post-retirement

Since 2000, Darling has been active in television. He worked as a broadcaster for the A's, had a FOX show called Baseball Today, and appeared on The Best Damn Sports Show Period.[8] He also provided baseball analysis for the YES Network, Fox Sports Net and, in 2004, CSTV.[9]

Darling appeared on the Hall of Fame balloting for 2001, receiving one vote.

In 2005, Darling was involved in banking ventures in Southern California.[10] He was then hired to be the television color commentator for the inaugural season of the Washington Nationals. Darling worked alongside veteran play-by-play announcer Mel Proctor on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which suffered from low viewership because of legal battles between Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Comcast cable television.[11] Darling and Proctor were not asked back by the Nationals for 2006.

In 2006, Darling was hired by SportsNet New York as a color commentator and studio analyst for the Mets, joining veteran Gary Cohen and former Mets teammate Keith Hernandez. Darling also appears on some of the SNY-produced WPIX broadcasts in the New York Metropolitan Area. He won an Emmy Award as Best Sports Analyst for his work on the Mets broadcasts. He appeared in a Sovereign Bank commercial in 2008, which is frequently shown on SNY and is often joked about among the three Mets broadcasters during games.

He threw out the ceremonial first pitch during Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium.

In 2007, Darling was a color analyst for TBS's coverage of the 2007 MLB playoffs. He was paired with play-by-play man Dick Stockton. As of 2008, he provides commentary for the network's regular-season coverage, paired with Chip Caray. During the playoffs, he joined Caray's other regular partner, Buck Martinez.

In 2013, Darling joined MLB Network as a studio analyst.

In 2015, Darling volunteered to provide play-by-play commentary for television broadcasts of Mets spring training games.[12]

In April 2019, Darling took a leave of absence from the Mets booth for health reasons.[13]

After Darling's book, 108 Stitches, came out, Lenny Dykstra sued Darling for writing that Dykstra used racial slurs toward Red Sox pitcher Oil Can Boyd during the 1986 World Series. Dykstra denies this and none of the Mets black players have any memory of it.[14]

Writing

  • The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound. (Alfred A. Knopf, March 2009)[15]
  • Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life. (St. Martin's Press, April 2016)[16]
  • 108 Stitches: Loose Threads, Ripping Yarns, and the Darndest Characters from My Time in the Game. (St. Martin's Press, April 2019)

Personal life

Ron was married to Irish Wilhelmina model Antoinette O'Reilly, with whom he had two children, Tyler Darling and Jordan Darling. She had small roles on television and in movies, sometimes using her married name, Toni Darling. During their marriage, they appeared in numerous magazine features together. In 2004, Darling married Joanna Last, a makeup artist for Fox Sports.[17] In February 2016 they had a son, Ronald Maurice Darling III.[18]

Darling lives in Brooklyn.[19] His younger brother, Edwin, a first baseman, was drafted by the New York Yankees in 1981 and played 69 games in their farm system over two seasons.[20]

On May 6, 2019, Darling announced that he had been diagnosed with thyroid cancer.[21]

In pop culture

Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, broadcast by NBC, ran so long that the network chose not to air Saturday Night Live rather than show it after the game. When it was shown for the first time two weeks later, Darling filmed a special introduction, apologizing on behalf of the Mets for preempting SNL.[22]

Darling is mentioned in the Law & Order season 13 episode "Under God". In the episode, Lennie Briscoe tells Ed Green how he blurts out Darling's first name for no reason because the pitcher reminds Briscoe of his daughter Cathy, who was killed in 1998. Cathy had a crush on the pitcher during the 1986 season when she was a teenager.

Darling had small roles in the films Shallow Hal and The Day After Tomorrow; he also played himself in Mr. 3000.[23]

See also

References

  • Darling, Ron (2009). The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.

Notes

  1. ^ Schonbrun, Zach (June 9, 2012). "Darling-Viola Pitcher's Duel Lives On in St. John's Baseball Lore". The New York Times.
  2. ^ Diskant, Ted (December 3, 1999). "Ron Darling". The Yale Herald. Archived from the original on September 30, 2007. Retrieved October 17, 2006.
  3. ^ Ron Darling (2006-06-17). Mets game broadcast. WPIX TV.
  4. ^ Kerzel, Pete (May 19, 2010). "Carolina League notebook". minorleaguebaseball.com. Retrieved August 20, 2011.
  5. ^ "Breslow Joins The Tribe". Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  6. ^ Durso, Joseph (January 27, 1987). "Darling, Teufel Get Probation". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Darling and Teufel Have Probation Lifted". The New York Times. 3 March 1987. Retrieved 27 December 2017.
  8. ^ Peay, Carla (September 7, 2005). "Not A Television Darling? Perhaps He Should Be". Black Athlete Sports Network. Archived from the original on March 16, 2006. Retrieved June 17, 2006.
  9. ^ Manuel, John (June 3, 2004). "Regionals Exposure On TV Grows". Baseball America. Retrieved June 17, 2006.
  10. ^ Marchand, Andrew (February 27, 2005). "Former Mets Avoid 'Roids'". New York Post. Retrieved June 17, 2006.
  11. ^ Dwyer, Timothy (June 28, 2005). "Nats Caught in a TV Rundown". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 17, 2006.
  12. ^ Rubin, Adam (March 6, 2015). "Darling embraces play-by-play experience". ESPN. Retrieved 6 May 2015.
  13. ^ https://www.sportingnews.com/us/mlb/news/ron-darling-announces-medical-leave-of-absence-mets-sny-analyst/1gul64xzeemg81htgjhz9vhqru
  14. ^ https://www.northjersey.com/story/sports/mlb/mets/2019/04/09/mets-lenny-dykstra-sues-ron-darling-over-book-claiming-racist-tirade/3417619002/
  15. ^ Darling, Ron (2010). The Complete Game: Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound (1st Vintage books ed.). New York: Vintage Books. ISBN 9780307390585. OCLC 401141370.
  16. ^ Darling, Ron. Game 7, 1986: Failure and Triumph in the Biggest Game of My Life (First ed.). New York. ISBN 9781250069191. OCLC 935784500.
  17. ^ Inside Weddings – Real Weddings – That's Amore
  18. ^ "Ron Darling Recalls Lessons From Life's Curveballs". The Washington Post. April 12, 2016. Retrieved April 25, 2016.
  19. ^ "Mets On-Air Talent". SportsNet New York. Retrieved October 1, 2018.
  20. ^ "Edwin Darling Register Statistics & History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
  21. ^ Snyder, Matt (May 6, 2019). "Mets broadcaster Ron Darling announces cancer diagnosis, hopes to return to booth in a month". CBS Sports. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  22. ^ "Cold Opening". NBC. November 8, 1986. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  23. ^ "Ron Darling". IMDb. Retrieved May 6, 2019.

External links

1985 New York Mets season

The New York Mets' 1985 season was the 24th regular season for the Mets. They went 98-64 and finished 2nd in the NL East. They were managed by Davey Johnson. They played their home games at Shea Stadium.

1986 World Series

The 1986 World Series was the 83rd edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1986 Major League Baseball season. A best-of-seven playoff, it pitted the National League (NL) champion New York Mets against the American League (AL) champion Boston Red Sox. The Mets won the Series in the seventh game, after overcoming a deficit of two runs with two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 6. This was a game in which the Red Sox were twice one strike away from victory, and known for the famous error by Boston's first baseman Bill Buckner after their lead had already been blown. Game 6 has been cited in the legend of the "Curse of the Bambino" to explain the major comeback. It was also the first World Series to use the designated hitter only in games played at the American League representative's stadium, a policy which has continued since (prior to this, since 1976, the DH would be used in all parks in the World Series for even-numbered years, but in odd-numbered years, the DH rule would not be in effect).

1988 New York Mets season

The New York Mets' 1988 season was the 27th regular season for the Mets. They went 100–60 and finished first in the NL East. They were managed by Davey Johnson. They played home games at Shea Stadium.

1991 Montreal Expos season

The 1991 Montreal Expos season was the 23rd season in franchise history. After several winning seasons, the Expos faltered in 1991, winning only 20 of its first 49 games. Manager Buck Rodgers was replaced as manager by Tom Runnells. The team ultimately finished 71-90.

1991 New York Mets season

The 1991 New York Mets season was the 30th regular season for the Mets. They went 77-84 and finished fifth in the National League East for their first losing season since 1983. They were managed by Bud Harrelson and Mike Cubbage. They played home games at Shea Stadium.

An interesting note is that two Mets home games against the Cardinals were cancelled on August 19 and 20 due to the Crown Heights riot; this puts the 1991 Mets, alongside the 1992 Los Angeles Dodgers and the 2015 Baltimore Orioles to have games affected due to riots.

1991 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1991 season was the team's 24th in Oakland, California. It was also the 91st season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League West with a record of 84-78.

The 1991 season saw the Athletics' American League dominance come to an abrupt end. Between 1988 and 1990, the team had won three American League pennants and one World Series title; in the process, they won a combined 306 regular season games. In light of these accomplishments, the Athletics were initially favored to win yet another American League pennant.

A fourth consecutive World Series appearance, however, was not to be. In 1991, poor pitching (from both the starting rotation and the bullpen) served to take the Athletics out of contention. From 1988 to 1990, the Athletics had posted a team earned run average (ERA) of roughly 3.24 (easily the American League's best over that span); in 1991, however, they posted a sickly team ERA of 4.57 (the American League's second-worst). Of particular note were the struggles of ace Dave Stewart, whose 1991 ERA (5.18) was more than twice his 1990 ERA (2.56). 1990 Cy Young Award winner Bob Welch fared almost as poorly; his earned run average swelled from 2.95 (1990) to 4.58 (1991). In 1990, he had won a league-high 27 games; in 1991, he won a mere 12.

The Athletics' 1991 campaign, as such, is remembered mainly for the record-breaking exploits of Rickey Henderson. On May 1, he stole his 938th career base; in doing so, he succeeded Lou Brock as MLB's career stolen base leader. Henderson would end the 1991 season with 994 stolen bases.

Oakland would return to contention in 1992 with a record of 96-66. The 1991 season still, however, marked the end of the Athletics as a dynastic power. The 1992 team failed to dominate the league in the manner that the 1988–90 teams had; following that team's six-game ALCS defeat to the Toronto Blue Jays, Oakland wouldn't reach the postseason until 2000.

1993 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1993 season was the team's 26th in Oakland, California. It was also the 93rd season in franchise history. The team finished seventh in the American League West with a record of 68-94.

The Athletics' disastrous 1993 campaign was mired by inconsistency, injuries, and free agent losses. The team lost key contributors Dave Stewart, Harold Baines, and Mike Moore to free agency; the players ended up (respectively) in Toronto, Chicago, and Detroit. The A's also traded Walt Weiss to the expansion Florida Marlins for Scott Baker and Eric Hefland. The Athletics' roster was further weakened by the retirement of longtime third baseman Carney Lansford.

The team's depleted pitching staff was no match for its American League (AL) competition. The Athletics, following a resurgent 1992 campaign, finished 1993 with a team ERA of 4.90; this was the worst such figure in the AL. The futility of Oakland's new-look starting rotation was especially noteworthy; of the team's five primary starters (Bobby Witt, Ron Darling, Bob Welch, Todd Van Poppel, and Shawn Hillegas), only one (Witt) managed a sub-5.00 ERA. On offense, the Athletics also struggled; the loss of their two best players (Mark McGwire and Rickey Henderson) to injury and a trade, respectively, contributed to their scoring only 715 runs (10th of 14 AL teams).

The Athletics' 68-94 finish was their worst since 1982. Moreover, the 1993 Athletics (as of 2018) remain the only team in Oakland history to finish last in the AL West after finishing first one-year earlier.

1995 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1995 season was the team's 28th in Oakland, California. It was also the 95th season in franchise history. The team finished fourth in the American League West with a record of 67-77.

The Athletics, for a third consecutive year, found themselves mired in mediocrity. As had been the case in both 1993 and 1994, an average-to-poor offense (headlined by Mark McGwire, Rickey Henderson, and Rubén Sierra) was sabotaged by one of the league's worst pitching staffs. For a third consecutive season, no Athletics starter posted an earned run average (ERA) of less than 4.50; only one such starter, Todd Stottlemyre, managed to record double-digit wins in the strike-shortened campaign.

The Athletics, despite their weak pitching, managed to contend in the first half of the season. On July 1, a win over the division-leading California Angels brought them within 1.5 games of first place; it also ran their record to a surprising 34-28. As had been the case in 1994, the A's followed their surprising start with a prolonged slump; between July 2 and August 15, the team went only 13-28. The collapse, along with an Angels surge (the Angels went 30-11 over the same span) left the A's 17.5 games out of first place. As had also been the case in 1994, Oakland mounted a dramatic comeback; an Angels collapse, combined with a surge of their own, allowed them to pull within five games of first place on September 20. The September 20th victory would be their last, as Oakland lost each of the regular season's final nine games. They finished the campaign eleven games behind the AL West champion Seattle Mariners.

The Athletics' on-field mediocrity, however, contained a few bright spots. Mark McGwire clubbed 39 home runs in a mere 104 games; he would hit at least 50 in each of the four subsequent seasons. The 1995 season also saw the debut of future superstar Jason Giambi. Giambi, in his first major league season, batted .256 with six home runs in 54 games. Lastly, the season was Tony La Russa's last as Oakland's manager. He, along with most of the Athletics' assistant coaches, would join the St. Louis Cardinals in 1996.

2011 National League Championship Series

The 2011 National League Championship Series (abbreviated NLCS) was a best-of-seven playoff pitting the winners of the 2011 National League Division Series, the St. Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers, against each other for the National League championship and the right to be the league's representative in the 2011 World Series. The series was the 42nd in league history.

The series began on October 9 to accommodate the World Series, which was scheduled to begin on October 19. TBS televised all games in the United States with Game 1 starting at 4:05pm EDT. Games 1, 2 and 6 were played at Miller Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, while the other games were played at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri. By coincidence, Brian Anderson, who usually called Brewers games on Fox Sports Wisconsin during the regular season, did the play-by-play for the NLCS on TBS, along with Ron Darling and John Smoltz. Anderson filled in for regular TBS lead baseball announcer Ernie Johnson, who was tending to a son in the hospital.This was the Brewers' first-ever appearance in the NLCS, having moved to the National League in 1998. As an American League team, the Brewers made the ALCS in their pennant season of 1982, defeating the California Angels, 3–2. Thus, the Brewers became the first franchise to play in the LCS as a member of each league. The Cardinals, meanwhile, appeared in the NLCS for the first time since winning the 2006 World Series. This was a rematch of the 1982 World Series (a.k.a. the "Suds Series", with both cities associated with the brewing industry with Milwaukee’s Miller Brewing Company, Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, and Pabst Brewing Company and St. Louis, whose Anheuser-Busch company is namesake of the Cardinals' ballpark), which the Cardinals won, 4–3.

The Cardinals would go on to defeat the Texas Rangers in seven games in the World Series.

Bob Brooke

Robert William Brooke (born December 18, 1960 in Melrose, Massachusetts and raised in West Acton, Massachusetts) is a retired American professional ice hockey forward who played 447 games in the National Hockey League between 1984 and 1990.

Brooke was the first of the "AB Pros," the handful of NHL players that grew up through the Acton-Boxborough youth hockey program of the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s (Tom Barrasso, Ted Crowley, Bob Sweeney, Ian Moran, and Jeff Norton). He graduated from Acton-Boxborough Regional High School in 1979. After graduation, Brooke played for the Yale University men's ice hockey team graduating in 1984 due to his hiatus to play international hockey as a member of the United States national team at the 1984 Winter Olympics in Sarajevo. He also played baseball for Yale alongside future New York Mets' pitcher Ron Darling.In the NHL, he played for the New York Rangers, Minnesota North Stars and New Jersey Devils. After joining the NHL, he also played for US team in the 1984 Canada Cup, 1985 and 1987 Ice Hockey World Championships as well as the 1987 Canada Cup.

Bob Ojeda

Robert Michael Ojeda (born December 17, 1957) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. Ojeda is best remembered as an anchor in the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets starting rotation (along with Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling), and for being the lone survivor of a March 22, 1993 boating accident that killed fellow Cleveland Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews. He is also a former pre- and post-game studio analyst for Mets broadcasts.

List of American League Championship Series broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast American League Championship Series games over the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

List of American League Division Series broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have covered the American League Division Series throughout the years. It does include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

List of Major League Baseball Wild Card Game broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have covered the Major League Baseball Wild Card Games throughout the years. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

List of National League Championship Series broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers that have broadcast National League Championship Series games over the years. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

List of National League Division Series broadcasters

The following is a list of the national television and radio networks and announcers who have broadcast the National League Division Series. It does not include any announcers who may have appeared on local radio broadcasts produced by the participating teams.

List of New York Mets broadcasters

Current broadcasters

Television: SportsNet New York (SNY) or WPIX channel 11

Gary Cohen, Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez, Steve Gelbs

Radio: WCBS 880 AM (English)

Howie Rose, Wayne Randazzo, Ed Coleman, Brad Heller

Radio: WEPN 1050 AM (Spanish)

Juan Alicea, Max Perez Jimenez, Nestor Rosario

Yale Field

Yale Field is a stadium in West Haven, Connecticut, just across the city line with New Haven, Connecticut. It is primarily used for the Yale University baseball team, the Bulldogs, and, until 2007 was also the home field of the New Haven County Cutters Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball minor league baseball team. Yale's baseball team has played continuously at the same site since 1885 while the field was constructed and opened in April 1928. It holds 5,000 people.

During President Bush's days baseball playing for Yale, the team played in both the 1947 and 1948 College World Series, losing to the University of California in 1947 and to USC in 1948. Yale's manager during this time was former big leaguer Ethan Allen. Yale Field hosted what is believed to be the first game of the NCAA Division I Baseball Championship in 1947 when Yale hosted Clemson.Yale Field was the site for one of the most famous college baseball games of all time. On May 21, 1981, during a qualifying game for the College World Series, Ron Darling from Yale and Frank Viola from St. Johns dueled through 11 scoreless innings before St. Johns broke through with a run in the 12th inning to win 1-0. Both pitchers went on to have distinguished Major League careers. Darling pitched 11 innings of no-hit ball (still a college playoff record) before surrendering a single in the 12th inning.

In attendance at the game was Yale President and soon-to-be Commissioner of Baseball, A. Bartlett Giamatti as well as pitching great and ex-Yale Baseball Coach, Smoky Joe Wood. Renowned baseball author Roger Angell was also at the game and wrote an article about the game for the New Yorker Magazine, entitled "The Web of the Game" (See New Yorker, July 20, 1981, p.97)

Ron Darling devoted an entire chapter to this game in his 2009 book; "The Complete Game, Reflections on Baseball, Pitching, and Life on the Mound", published by Alfred A. Knoff, a division of Random House.

Another legendary game took place at Yale Field in 1941. With Smoky Joe Wood as manager, and Joe Jr. on the mound, the Elis faced Colgate whose roster included two of Smoky Joe's other sons, Steve and Bob Wood. Yale prevailed 11-5.

Yale Field was also the name of the football stadium prior to the Yale Bowl opening in 1914.

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