Monday, November 21, 2005

 
November 21st, 1960

Mark Eichhorn Born


Mark Eichhorn made his debut for the Blue Jays in 1982, but suffered a shoulder injury, Eichhorn would not return until 1986. The shoulder injury had robbed Eichhorn of most of the velocity on his fastball and had forced him to turn to an unconventional sidearm motion. However, 1986 proved just how valuable the combination of Eichhorn's motion and devastatingly slow change-up could be. Appearing solely in relief, Eichhorn threw one hundred and fifty-seven innings with a sterling 1.72 ERA, a 14-6 record along with ten saves. (Eichhorn also had some class, turning down the chance to pitch five additional innings to meet the bare minimum and steal the ERA title for Roger Clemens.)

Eichhorn regressed slightly in 1987 but was again an effective reliever for the Jays. By 1988, either the league had begun to catch up to Eichhorn's unconventional combo or the innings total of the previous two seasons (nearly three hundred in over one hundred fifty appearances) caught up to Eichhorn and he was below average in both 1988 and '89. In 1990 however, Eichhorn regained his touch and began a string of successful seasons that would last through 1994, including excellent seasons for the Angels in 1991 and Orioles in 1994. Eichhorn returned to
Toronto in a mid-season 1992 trade and appeared in both the 1992 and 1993 playoffs for the Jays. Eichhorn was effective in extremely limited duty, appearing in exactly one game each series, and surrendering no runs in four and a third innings.

Eichhorn missed the 1995 season but returned in 1996 with the Angels, but he was below league average and retired after the year. Recently he was featured on the PBS special Smallball, as the coach of his son's Little League team.





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