- P, DH
- November 18, 1967
- 5' 9"
- 160 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-08-1988 with KCA
- Allstar Selections:
- 1998 RR
Thomas Gordon (born November 18, 1967, in Sebring, Florida), nicknamed "Flash", is a former Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. He played with the Kansas City Royals (1988–95), Boston Red Sox (1996–99), Chicago Cubs (2001–02), Houston Astros (2002), Chicago White Sox (2003), New York Yankees (2004–05), Philadelphia Phillies (2006–08) and the Arizona Diamondbacks (2009).
High school career
Gordon attended Avon Park High School in Avon Park, Florida, and was a letterman in baseball.
Major league career
Gordon began his career as a starting pitcher with the Kansas City Royals, first appearing in five games at the age of 20 late in the 1988 season. He became an immediate sensation in Kansas City the following year, posting a 17-9 record and a 3.64 ERA in his first full season, and he finished second in the 1989 Rookie of the Year balloting. Gordon also recorded 153 strikeouts in 1989, the tenth highest total in the American League, all of which earned him the nickname "Flash."
Gordon continued to post top-10 strikeout totals during the 1990 and 1991 seasons, but his number of wins dropped each year while his ERA crept upwards. Finally, in 1992 Gordon had one of the worst season of his career, posting a 6-10 record and a 4.59 ERA. He bounced back with seasons of 11 or 12 wins from 1993 to 1995, but he never quite regained his rookie form. Prior to the 1996 season, Gordon left Kansas City and signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox.
In his first season in Boston, Gordon had a 12-9 record and a 5.59 ERA – the highest ERA of his career to that point. Over the next two years, however, the Red Sox converted Gordon from a starting pitcher to a closer and his career reignited. In 1998, Flash set the club's single-season record for saves (46) and was named to his first All-Star Team. His success continued in 1999 setting a major league record with his 54th consecutive save in June, but a nagging elbow injury limited him to just 21 appearances, which required ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction (or UCL) also known as Tommy John surgery, that forced him to spend 2000 on the disabled list. His popularity in Boston at this point led New England-based writer and Red Sox fan Stephen King to reference him as the object of infatuation for the young protagonist of the 1999 novel The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon. After subsequent stops in Houston and both sides of Chicago, Gordon landed in New York. He was an invaluable addition to the Yankees bullpen, serving as a set-up for closer Mariano Rivera, or as a middle reliever in tough situations.
At this point, Gordon had compiled a career 122-111 record with 1733 strikeouts, a 3.99 ERA, 114 saves, and 1896.2 innings in 671 games (203 as a starter).
He signed a three-year deal worth $18 million with the Phillies before the 2006 season. Gordon debuted in Philadelphia as a closer during the 2006 season, replacing Billy Wagner, who signed with the Mets after the 2005 season. On May 2, 2007, Gordon was placed on the disabled list due to a rotator cuff inflammation, at which time he was replaced in the closer slot by former starting pitcher Brett Myers. Following both pitchers' return from the DL, Myers retained the closer position, while Gordon was shifted to a late-inning reliever. Flash was named to the 2006 NL All Star Team as the leading vote getter from the players.
Gordon had fully rehabilitated his arm and was prepared for the '08 season.
However, on July 6, 2008, Gordon was placed on the 15-day disabled list for tenderness in his right elbow. Fellow reliever Brad Lidge praised Gordon calling him "a stud" and said that the Phils were hoping for him to return to the team after his 15 day stint. Prior to being placed on the disabled list, Gordon recorded a 13.45 earned run average giving up six runs in four total innings since June 11. He eventually was ruled out for the season but was able to earn his first World Series ring on the bench in the 2008 World Series.
On February 6, 2009, Gordon signed a one-year deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks. After spending most of the season on the disabled list, he was released on August 11.
On August 9, Gordon said that he still thinks he has what it takes to compete, but that he's "fine" with retirement.
Gordon is the father of shortstop Dee Gordon.
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- Tom Gordon