Tuesday, April 26, 2005
April 26th, 1955
Mike Scott Born
Having learned the split-fingered fastball from pitching coach Roger Craig prior to the 1985 season, Mike Scott went out in 1986 and put it on the map, dominating the National League, going 18-10 with a 2.22 ERA, sixty-three percent better than average even factoring in the cavernous Astrodome, and was even better in the playoffs. How good was Scott for Houston against the Mets in 1986? He pitched two complete game wins, and allowed just one run, one walk, eight hits (that's a half a baserunner per inning) while striking out nineteen Mets. The statistics say it well, although my favorite reflection of Scott's dominance is that despite only appearing in two games and having his team lose the series in six games, Scott still won the series MVP!
The Mets of course, would scream to anyone who would listen--and probably several who wouldn't, notably the umpires--that Scott's "splitter" was actually a spitball, and claimed that balls recovered from Scott were all scuffed up. Scott was never caught, however, so I guess his 1986 domination will remain genuine, despite allegations of being a later-day Stan Coveleski.