Monday, June 26, 2006

June 26th, 1969

Mike Myers Born

Not, of course, the comic actor or the fictional serial killer, although this Mike Myers does have a link to both. For one, his nickname is Shrek, based on a supposed facial resemblance to the eponymous cartoon character voiced by the acting Mike Myers. Myers also enters games at Yankee Stadium (and elsewhere during different points of his career) to the theme from Halloween, the film series in which serial killer Michael Myers appears.

The links go deeper than that, however. What Michael Myers is to innocent townsfolk, Mike Myers is to left handed hitters. Throwing from an extreme side arm slot--almost underhand--that was suggested by Hall of Famer Al Kaline when Myers first came up with the Tigers, he is devastating on lefties. For his career, lefties have hit under .210 in more than a thousand career at-bats. The Yankees, tired of the antics of the Felix Heredias and Gabe Whites of the world, signed Myers this season for just that purpose, and have so far been rewarded. Although Myers gave up a towering home run to Yankee nemesis David Ortiz, for the year he has retired twenty-five of thirty-five lefties he's been called upon to face, including ten by strikeout.

Of course, the downside of Myers' motion is that while it kills lefties, righties absolutely destroy him to the tune of a better than .300 average for his career. This is what Mike Myers, the pitcher, has in common with Mike Myers the actor. Acting Mike Myers does comedy, while pitching Mike Myers facing right-handers is basically a joke.

That creates one of the odder elements of Myers' career, although he has appeared in nearly eight hundred games and currently ranks in the top fifty all time for appearances (and almost in the active top ten) Myers has thrown fewer innings than anyone else on that list, not even five hundred for his career. If one sets the bar at a minimum numbers of games or innings, Mike Myers has a legitimate shot at ending his career with the highest ratio of games to innings pitched. Such is the life of a left-handed specialist.

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