May 20, 2012
Except he wasn't really dominant. He just couldn't stay healthy, going on the Disabled List 14 times in 13 years (not counting his lost 1999), and his career record reflects that: 86-75. His best single season was 2003, when he went 14-11, 266 strikeouts, a 3.20 ERA, and was named to the NL All-Star team, leading the team to the NL Championship series.
When he was on, there was nobody better, but as injuries continued to mount (a torn rotator cuff being the worst, but with elbow difficulties and a knee hurt getting out of a jacuzzi thrown into the mix), he was moved into the bullpen. In 2008, he signed with the Cleveland Indians, being traded to the Yankees in 2010. Joining the Bronx Bombers for their pennant run on the last day of July, he showed that he still had a bit left in the tank, going 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA in 24 appearances as the setup man for the Yankees closer, Mariano Rivera.
He resigned with the Cubs for 2011, then for 2012, but after one last stint on the DL, he came in this past Friday for his last appearance, getting a strikeout to the only batter he faced. It was 1582nd strikeout in 1370.6 innings, which puts him 2nd all-time in strikeouts per 9 innings (10.317), behind only Randy Johnson (10.609). He was also the 1998 Rookie of the Year and holds the Major League record for strikeouts in a 9-inning game, with 20. Below is a video of every K from that particular game, May 6, 1998:
I was running a RadioShanty when this game took place, and was fortunate enough to have a satellite dish on the roof of the store... that picked up WGN. Every TV in the place had the game on, and as the innings ticked off, I got less and less work done. By the time of the 9th inning, there were seven other people watching the game with me: a few customers, a few employees of other stores.
This game is widely considered the best pitching performance ever. Yes, better than any perfect game, better than any no-hitter. The one hit he did give up was an infield single that could have easily been called an error. He also hit a batter, but Craig Biggio was hit by 285 pitches in his career (2nd all-time). If he hadn't've given up a hit already, there's no way he would have been pitching that far inside on him. No walks, 20Ks, zero runs. If it isn't the best start of all time, it's far and away the best I've ever seen.
It was also his fifth career start.
Posted by: Siergen at May 20, 2012 07:24 PM (PuIGa)
Posted by: Steven Den Beste at May 20, 2012 09:18 PM (+rSRq)
it's not nice to troll a duck when he's down. (heh heh heh...)
This is why we can't have nice things.
Posted by: Wonderduck at May 21, 2012 10:29 AM (OS+Cr)
Posted by: The Old Man at May 21, 2012 01:01 PM (dBz2M)
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