Dan Quisenberry

Dan Quisenberry

Quiz, Q
February 7, 1953
6' 2"
170 lbs
Major League Debut:
7-08-1979 with KCA
Allstar Selections:
1980 RR, 1982 RR, 1983 RR, 1984 RR, 1985 RR

Dan Raymond "Quiz" Quisenberry[1] (February 7, 1953 – September 30, 1998) was an American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Kansas City Royals. Notable for his submarine-style pitching delivery and his humorous quotes, he led the American League in saves a record five times (1980, 1982–85), and retired in 1990 with 244 saves, then the 6th-highest total in major league history.


Born in Santa Monica, California, Quisenberry signed with the Royals as an amateur free agent in 1975, and was considered a marginal prospect. He made his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals in the middle of the 1979 season at the age of 26. Quisenberry finished the season having appeared in 32 games and posting a 3-2 record with a 3.15 earned run average and 5 saves.

During spring training the following year, manager Jim Frey suggested that Quisenberry learn the submarine style delivery from Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve to confuse hitters, because he could not overpower them. From 1980 to 1985, Quisenberry was the American League's dominant closer. With the exception of the strike-shortened 1981 season, he won the Rolaids Relief Man Award and finished in the top five in voting for the Cy Young Award during this span.

Quisenberry was hardly the prototypical closing pitcher. Unlike many of his peers, he didn't possess a hard fastball, and thus had to rely on pinpoint control, guile, and deception, which was augmented by the submarine delivery he first used in 1980. His primary pitch was a sinking fastball, which causes hitters to hit the ball on the ground rather than in the air. He also possessed a curveball in his repertoire, as well as a changeup he developed in 1984 [2] and an occasional knuckleball. Although Quisenberry was not a strikeout pitcher, he offset this deficiency by seldom walking batters or throwing wild pitches. His 45 saves in 1983 was briefly a single season record (tied in 1984 by Bruce Sutter and broken in 1986 by Dave Righetti). Quisenberry was the first pitcher in major league history to save more than 40 games in a season twice in his career.

Dan QuisenberryIn 1983, the Royals signed Quisenberry to a lifetime contract, similar to the contract of his teammate, George Brett. However, a rocky start in 1988 led to Quisenberry's relegation to middle relief and mop-up duty. Shortly before the 1988 All-Star break, Quisenberry was released by the Royals. Ten days later the St. Louis Cardinals, managed by ex-Royals manager Whitey Herzog, signed Quisenberry as a free agent. After pitching for a year and a half in St. Louis, Quisenberry signed to play the 1990 season with the San Francisco Giants. Quisenberry tore his rotator cuff just five appearances into the 1990 season, and was faced with serious injury for the first time in his career. At the age of 37, after 12 seasons in the majors, Quisenberry retired.

In the 1996 Hall of Fame Balloting by the Baseball Writers Association of America, Quisenberry received 18 votes, just under the 24 vote (5%) cut-off to remain on the ballot. In the same election, Bruce Sutter – a pitcher with remarkably similar overall statistics – received 137 votes; he went on to be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

Along with Sutter and Rich Gossage, he was at the forefront of the transition from relief ace to the La Russian ninth inning closer. Quisenberry's Adjusted ERA+ of 146 ties him for third all-time among qualifying pitchers.[3] His career rate of walks per 9 innings pitched is the lowest since 1926.[4] In addition, Quisenberry accrued the 22nd most all-time in Cy Young shares.[5]


After his baseball career ended, Quisenberry embarked on a second career as a poet, publishing three poems in 1995 and a book of poetry titled On Days Like This in 1998.

In December 1997, Quisenberry was diagnosed with brain cancer; he died in 1998 in Leawood, Kansas.


    * Quisenberry's 45 saves in 1983 remains a team record, although his total was matched in 1993 by Jeff Montgomery.
    * In 1987, Quisenberry and Gene Garber tied for the Royals' team lead with 8 saves apiece; this ranks as the fewest for a team leader in Royals' history.
    * He held the AL record for career saves from 1987, when he surpassed Fingers' mark of 233, until 1992, when his AL total of 238 was broken by Jeff Reardon.
    * He was the first pitcher to record 40 saves in a season, doing so with 45 in 1983, and followed with 44 saves in 1984.
    * He was the only pitcher to earn 40 saves twice until Reardon did so in 1988.
    * Famous for his pitching control, Quisenberry surrendered only 11 walks in 1983 and 12 in 1984, in over 268 combined innings pitched, and was runnerup for the AL Cy Young Award in both seasons.
    * Quisenberry was the only pitcher to appear in every game of the 1980 World Series


   1. ^
   2. ^ The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching,Pitchers, and Pitches. Bill James and Rob Neyer. 2004.
   3. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+", Accessed July 25, 2007.
   4. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Bases on Balls/9IP", Accessed July 25, 2007.
   5. ^ "MVP and CY Young Award Share Leaders", Accessed July 25, 2007.

External links

    * Dan Quisenberry's Gravesite

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