Saturday, December 03, 2005

 
December 3rd, 1970

Paul Byrd Born




Paul Byrd has performed the neat trick of having his career appear dead only to resurrect it not once, not twice but thrice. After two up-and-down years with the Mets, and a season and a half in Atlanta, Byrd was waived by the Braves and picked up by the Phillies. To that point he was twenty-seven years old and had thrown one hundred and twenty-five innings and had an ERA just under four and a half. However, like W.C. Fields, Byrd would rather have been in Philadelphia as he immediately took to his new surroundings, finishing the season with a 2.29 ERA in Philly and then posting a season as a league average starter the next year.

The wheels appeared to come off the tracks in 2000 though, as Byrd posted a 6.51 ERA and after an even worse start to 2001--8.10 in ten innings--Byrd was shipped off to
Kansas City. Byrd once again proved not quite ready to accept retirement however finishing the year strongly and then posting a pretty good season for a pretty awful Royals team in 2003, leading them in ERA (3.90), wins (17, almost a quarter of the Royals' wins that season), innings, strikeouts, complete games and BB/9 among other categories.

All those innings took their toll on Byrd' arm, and necessitated surgery causing him to miss the entire 2003 season. By now, Byrd was thirty-three and coming off major arm surgery. Few would've blamed him for calling it a career. Unwilling to do, Byrd instead returned to the Braves--with whom he had signed a contract prior to the arm troubles--and pitched well in 2004 for the Braves. After that season, he signed with the Angels and won twelve games in the regular season, plus one more in the playoffs.

Byrd is now thirty-five and a free agent once again, with reported offers as long as three years from teams like
Cleveland, Texas, Baltimore and the Angels. Even before whatever contract he signs for 2006 and beyond, Byrd has already made nearly twenty million dollars, money well earned for a man who has repeatedly brought his career back from the dead.





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