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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Pickoff Moves

Today's Birthdays

Jim Canavan BRO b. 1866, played 1897, d. 1949-05-27

Chuck Finley CAL,ANA b. 1962, played 1986-1999, All-Star: 1989-1990, 1995-1996, 2000. A Top 100 Angel, Finley was originally a reliever converted to starting in 1987, probably the most successful such conversion in franchise history. A five-time All-Star and a Cy Young nominee in 1990 (Bob Welch of Oakland won it, with Finley placing seventh), Finley was long the Angels' staff ace on a series of teams that had almost no pitching whatsoever; following Randy Johnson's trade to Houston from Seattle in midseason 1998, Finley was considered the best lefty in the American League.

His height, normally an advantage in pitching, left him in poor position after his delivery, and he was considered one of the league's worst fielders. Nevertheless, he posted exceptional ERAs throughout his long career; he remains in the franchise top 10 for single-season ERA (twice!), is the franchise leader for career victories (165), eighth in career won-lost percentage (.541), single-season K/9 (8th, 8.65 in 1995) and career K/9 (3rd, 7.24), career games played (2nd, 436), first in career innings pitched (2675), second in career strikeouts (2151), first in games started (379), fourth in complete games (57), fourth in shutouts (14, tied with George Brunet), first in home runs allowed (254), second in walks allowed (1118), single-season hits allowed (9th, 243 in 1993, and 10th, 241 in 1996) and career hits allowed (1st, 2544), as well as a laundry list of others.

Finley finally grew tired of the last-place ace designation, and signed with the powerhouse Indians in 1999 to finally play for a winner. The joke was on him; the White Sox won the division in 2000, and when Cleveland did win the division in 2001, they were run over by the 116-win Mariners in the ALDS. Traded to St. Louis in midseason 2002, it proved to be his last year in the majors.

Jay Howell LAN b. 1955, played 1988-1992, All-Star: 1985, 1987, 1989. An inconsistent hard-thrower, Howell was notorious for having been caught with pine tar on his glove in Game 3 of the 1988 NLCS; he served a two-game suspension as a result. Also the losing pitcher for World Series Game 3 that year, the only game Oakland won, surrendering a solo homer to Mark McGwire that broke a 1-1 tie.

Bob Lee CAL,LAA,LAN b. 1937, played 1964-1967, All-Star: 1965. The ace of the mid-60's Angels bullpens, he had three good years but collapsed after a trade to the Dodgers. He spent one more year in the majors before retiring.

Jorge Orta LAN b. 1950, played 1982, All-Star: 1975, 1980. A very good hitter with the Chisox who played at times with in the Mexican League, he had an unsuccessful 1982 with the Dodgers, playing a fourth outfielder and hitting .217. Despite it, he held on for five more years in the majors.

Harold Reynolds CAL b. 1960, played 1994, All-Star: 1987-1988. Spending most of his 12-season career as a second baseman with the Mariners, he played out his final season with the Angels at that position, while Rex Hudler and Damion Easley took up most of the rest of the at-bats. He later became an analyst with ESPN, a position he recently vacated amid whispers of sexual harrassment allegations.

Minnie Rojas CAL b. 1933, played 1966-1968, d. 2002-03-23

Jeff Torborg LAN,CAL b. 1941, played 1964-1973. One of fifteen catchers to catch three or more no-hitters: September 9, 1965, Sandy Koufax's perfect game at Dodger Stadium against the Cubs; July 20, 1970, Bill Singer at Dodger Stadium against the Phillies; and May 15, 1973, Nolan Ryan at Royals Stadium, Ryan's first no-hitter.

Ben Wade BRO b. 1922, played 1952-1954, d. 2002-12-02

Astros Sign Carlos Lee, And Other Roster Notes


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