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Bret Saberhagen

Bret Saberhagen

Position(s):
P
Born:
April 11, 1964
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6' 1"
Weight:
160 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-04-1984 with KCA
Allstar Selections:
1985 BR, 1985 CY, 1985 TSN, 1985 WsMVP, 1989 CY, 1989 GG, 1989 TSN

Intro

A 19th round draft selection, Bret Saberhagen became the youngest player to ever win the Cy Young Award, when he collected the honor at the age of 21 in 1985. That season he won Game Seven of the World Series, leading the Royals to their first World Championship. Also during that series, he became a father, as he lived a storybook season. In 1989, Saberhagen won his second Cy Young, posting 23 wins with a 2.16 ERA, after going 18-2 in his last 20 decisions and blazing a miniscule 1.29 ERA over the last two months of the season. That big year followed a poor '88 campaign, in what was a bizarre every-other-year pattern for the hurler. Not until 1994 was Saberhagen able to have a winning record in an even-numbered year, and the inconsistency occurred in mid-season as well, with the right-hander often having a poor second half after a great first half of the season. In 1987, Saberhagen was 13-2 with a 2.17 ERA in April, May and June; 4-8 with a 4.68 ERA in July, August and September. The following season he was 10-6 (3.34) through the end of June, and 4-10 (4.27) the rest of the way. In 1990 he was 5-3 with a 2.75 ERA in early June before an arm injury kept him from winning a game the rest of the year. In his 30s, Saberhagen had four injury-plagued years with the Mets, joined the Rockies for the stretch run of their 1995 wild card season, and battled injuries in four seasons with the Red Sox, with moderate success.

Unform Number

#31 (1984-1986, 1995 Rockies), #18 (1987-1993), #17 (1994-1995 Mets, 1997-1999, 2001)

Replaced By

Pedro's brother, Ramon Martinez.

Best Season

Saberhagen pitched more consistently in '89, but 1985 gets the edge because of his stellar performance in the World Series. Saberhagen allowed only 12 Cardinal baserunners in his two complete game wins.

Factoid 1

In 1994, Bret Saberhagen had more wins (14) than walks (13). It was the second time a pitcher had accomplished that since the end of World War I.

Transition

June 7, 1982: Drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 19th round of the 1982 amateur draft; December 11, 1991: Traded by the Kansas City Royals with Bill Pecota to the New York Mets for Kevin McReynolds, Gregg Jefferies, and Keith Miller; July 31, 1995: Traded by the New York Mets with a player to be named later to the Colorado Rockies for Juan Acevedo and Arnold Gooch (minors). The New York Mets sent David Swanson (minors) (August 4, 1995) to the Colorado Rockies to complete the trade; October 29, 1996: Granted Free Agency; December 9, 1996: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox; October 31, 1997: Granted Free Agency; November 17, 1997: Signed as a Free Agent with the Boston Red Sox; November 5, 2001: Granted Free Agency.

Strengths

Control and poise.

Weaknesses

Inconsistency

Feats

Saberhagen turned a rare feat on August 21, 1991, when he faced Bernie Williams of the Yankees five times and struck him out each time.

The New York Media

Saberhagen had a difficult time adjusting to the media microscope he was placed under while playing in the Big Apple. He once sprayed bleach at a group of reporters in the clubhouse, which resulted in a fine and a five-game suspension. Another time, Saberhagen tossed a firecracker at reporters.

The Tiger Tamer

No team has ever been hotter than the Detroit Tigers at the start of the 1984 season. They won 18 of their first 20, 26 of 30 and 35 of 40. Saberhagen defeated them in their tenth game of the season, ending their nine-game winning streak to start the season. Saberhagen beat the Tigers two more times that year, but Detroit swept the Royals aside in the playoffs.

Notes

"In 1986, former Royals star pitcher Bret Saberhagen, coming off a World Series championship season, pontificated so well during his hearing that he not only won his case but the arbiter asked for, and received, an autograph from the player." — Jim Street, MLB.com, January 30, 2007

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