The worst MLB pitching debut was a perfect storm of humiliation | SB Nation

The worst MLB pitching debut was a perfect storm of humiliation | SB Nation


– Some MLB pitchers make
stellar first impressions. Stephen Strasburg hurled 14 strikeouts in his super hyped debut. Juan Marichal started
his Hall of Fame career with a one-hit shutout in 1960. A guy called Bumpus
Jones opened his brief, mediocre career with a no-hitter in 1892. But not everyone has a happy
first day on the mound. And in the deep history
of humiliating debuts, one stands out as the saddest combination of bad performance, bad luck, and very, very
uncomfortable circumstances. This is the worst MLB pitching debut. July 24, 2016, Saint Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals are hosting the LA Dodgers. And for the first time all season, Saint Louis is using an emergency starter. Because of a rain check double header, and a 16 inning game earlier this week, none of the five pitchers
in Saint Louis’ rotation are ready to go. So they went to their
triple A club in Memphis, and said, “Hey, hey, give us the next pitcher in your rotation. Not necessarily the best guy, or the readiest guy, just the next guy.” That lucky call up, is
this fellow, Mike Mayers. Making his first, and to
date, only career start due to sheer happenstance. It’s not the first time happenstance has dictated a pitching debut. In 1912, the Detroit Tigers
needed an emergency starer because Ty Cobb was suspended
for beating up a heckler, and Cobb’s teammates went on strike to protest the suspension. The Tigers found a bunch of randos to fill in for their next
game in Philadelphia. Including Allan Travers, a college student they found outside, who got 50 bucks to take the mound and
pitch a complete game, in which he gave up 24 runs on 26 hits. So at least Mayers is
a real baseball pitcher and not some random shmuck off the street. But is he ready to face
the playoff bound dodgers? Let’s see. Well, with a couple strikes, he’s got the count in his favor, but ugh, Chase Utley just kinda sticks out his bat, and pokes one into center
field for a single. The very first batter is on base, but hey, at least Mayers
faced a batter right? In the ninth inning of
a 1971 Astro’s game, Robin Yount’s older brother Larry Yount, was called to the mound to make his debut. He entered the game, but
aggravated an elbow injury while warming up, and was pulled before throwing his first pitch. Yount never got another opportunity. That non debut, debut,
was his whole career. Mayers arm feels fine,
so with a man on first, he deals to Corey Seager,
gets up two strikes again, but then Seager hits this weird
roller that just stays fair. No play at first or second,
so that’s two men up. Bad luck, and now Mayers
is starting to sweat. He’s sweating because remember, this isn’t a relief inning
in the middle of a game, he’s getting his major league
baptism as a starting pitcher. And it happens to be Sunday
Night Baseball on ESPN. People are watching. Including a large contingent
of Mayers family members. Who were gonna go watch him in Memphis, but took a surprise road trip detour to see him pitch on a way bigger stage. Oh, and Mayers is also sweating
because it’s 100 degrees. So yeah, whatever he does,
it’s gonna be as a starter in front of his family,
and a national TV audience, and Marlins man, and everybody. It’s gonna be a story. This is not like Fred
Hutchinson’s debut in 1939, in which he gave up 8 runs
in just 2/3s of an inning in relief against the Yankees,
but was totally overshadowed by Lou Gehrig’s decision that same day to end his legendary streak of
2,130 straight games played. Mayers still has a chance
to get outta this pickle. And with a full count
against Justin Turner, he throws what might be
strike three, but no. The umpire calls it ball four. Turner walks, bases loaded. And yeah, this felt like it was coming. Mayers misses his spot,
and serves Adrian Gonzalez a pitch straight down the middle, that Gonzalez crushes for a grand slam. Oh Mike, I feel for you man. Oh god, and his family looks so sad. This hurts. And before the broadcast
even gets out of replays, Mayers has given up a
double to Howie Kendrick. Finally, against the
sixth batter he faces, Yasmani Grandal, Mayers
records a strike out. What a relief, his family
finally has something to applaud. And this saves Mayers rom one potential ignominious achievement; the infinite ERA. According to some accounts
of Harry Heitmann’s 1918 debut for the Brooklyn Robins. Heitmann took the mound, gave up four hits that would all become earned runs, recorded zero outs, got
pulled from the game, then walked straight out of the stadium to enlist in the Navy and
never play pro baseball again. Zero outs means Heitmann
counts as having pitched zero innings in the ERA calculation. Which means ERA is loop de loop. That honestly, might be preferable
to a situation like that, of Frank Wurm, who in his 1944 debut, recorded a single out to go
with four runs surrendered. Never pitched again, and lived
on with a career ERA of 108. Mayers has not left the
field to volunteer for or military service, or
for any other reason, but that ERA is climbing, and he’s gotten himself in another pickle. After inducing his second out,
Mayers walks Jace Peterson, and ends up with men on second and third. And then, Scott Kazmir,
the god damned pitcher, drives in both runners to
make the score six nothing. Mayers finally gets out of the inning, and now you’ve gotta wonder
if his night is done. And where six runs in
an inning ranks among the worst debut starts ever. Because there had been some bad
ones even in recent history. Just a month before this game, Zach Eflin debuted as a Philly starter, and gave up nine runs, 8 of them earned. In two and 2/3 innings. In 1996, these same Saint
Louis Cardinals sent out Mike Buzby for a start
his in first ever game. Then pulled him down 13,
three after four innings. Then there’s Arnie Munoz, who in his 2004 debut for the White sox, gave up one run in the first inning,
then nine in the second. Eventually exiting his
first game with 11 runs surrendered in 3 innings. Those are all much longer
outings than this one, but hey, Mayers is back on the
mound for the second inning, and the Cardinals picked up a run for him, changing tides perhaps. Shit, maybe with such a big lead already, the Dodgers will go easy on Mayers. That’s what happened in Squire Potters debut for the Washington Senators in 1923. Potter pitched so poorly,
including nine runs in three innings, that
Cleveland base runners allowed themselves to be thrown out just to curtail the
embarrassment, kind of. But look, Mayers gets
the first batter out. So maybe he doesn’t need any help. Maybe things are turning around. Or maybe the next batter
gets on with a single, then Gonzalez picks up another
hit, and throw to third sails into the dugouts, so
Gonzalez winds up at third and another run scores. If Mayers can’t get out
of this inning intact, then that’s, oh no. Howie Kendrick homers, and
even though the Cardinals are trying to preserve
a bullpen full of dudes, who put in major work this
week, it’s time to pull Mayers. The final total, nine earned runs, in one and a third innings. That’s good for an ERA of 60.75. By far the worst in
recorded baseball history among starting pitchers, who gave up eight or
more runs in their debut. He got hit very hard, very, very quickly. It would be Mayers last start too. These days, he’s a regular, solid reliever in the Cardinals system,
but he’ll never forget that first taste of the majors. Many pitchers have gotten rocked, their first times out on the mound. Pitching history is
riddled with dismal debuts. During production of this
video, Arizona’s Yoan Lopez started his career in the majors, by facing exactly three batters, and giving up two home runs and a triple. There’s a lot of all flavors. But no one has ever done
it quite like Mike Mayers. For whom fate and mishap
collided in front of his family, and the whole damn country. Forming the worst pitching debut ever. A perfect storm of humiliation.

100 thoughts on “The worst MLB pitching debut was a perfect storm of humiliation | SB Nation

  1. I would have loved to watch this video if this idiot didn’t bring up something form 1920 every 2 seconds

  2. Wilson Alvarez, with Texas Rangers in July 24th, 1989. Started the game, went out with no outs, and 3 earned runs. Two HRs allowed to Toronto. Infinite ERA

    Two years later, with Chicago White Sox, August 11th 1991, no hitter against Baltimore. From infinite ERA to a No hitter in 2 games in 2 years, with 2 different teams

  3. I was at this game. was in 6th grade and played God bless America with my school band. I remember we left in the 3rd because we got shat on that bad

  4. It was a lot of bad luck too. Could have easily been like 4 runs with just a fraction of a second timing on those first couple hits

  5. There's a good chance he'll develop into a starting pitcher. It's not unheard of for a reliever to switch 4-5 years into his career. Id say it's more common for starters to switch around the same time, but it still happens
    Edit: also given that he's now a reliever, I'd say he just wasn't ready for the show. They didn't really give him much of a chance to be ready anyway lo

  6. yoan lopez went the rest of his season without giving up a run. he even went a full month of not giving up a run this season and has a 2.6 era. he bounced back very well.

  7. The cuts to historical events are brutal. I like some context but these are too random and free-form, especially for a video not even 8 minutes long.

  8. I’m not directly against profanity, but the way you do it is uncomfortable…like just bad placement and wrong usage. It’s like you are trying to show you’re an adult? I don’t know.w. It’s just awkward.

  9. Vicente Padilla had a terrible debut in 1999 against the Reds. Got a loss, a blown save, did not record an out, and gave up three runs on four hits. He went on To have a pretty good career.

  10. Haha yes! That reminds me of this time tally-ho johnson pitched 2000 innings in the 1804 sillyball league and had an ERA of π, here’s the box score! I even highlighted it!!

  11. His dad looked pretty upset. Didn't even clap at the end. He probably felt like his son was put in a bad situation completely unprepared

  12. There was a relief pitcher for the Braves several years ago that gave up grand slams in his first 2 appearances. I guess that pretty much wound him up because I never saw him again. Can't even remember his name.

  13. Give me a video on which team produces the best pitchers for other teams. As a Detroiter I have a feeling it is the Tigers.

  14. Absolute lies in this video, I googled him and he played in 4 games in 2016 and has played every year since 2016 in the MLB including 50 games in 2018 when this video was made you liar

  15. So his start sucked, at least he got to the majors. A lot of people don't. And yeh, some people would prefer to not go to the majors to have a start like this.

  16. Remember Chase Wright for the Yankees? He was a big time prospect. He gave up back to back to back to back homers against the Red Sox, and was never seen again lol

  17. Maybe it's just me, but I get irritated when I hear people talk about an infinite ERA. It's not infinite. To calculate ERA you divide the number of earned runs conceded by the number of innings pitched (obviously, each out constitutes 0.bar3). If you fail to record an out, you would be dividing by 0. Dividing by zero is not infinite, it's undefined.

  18. Why are you talking about a million other pitchers instead of the person you're supposed to be focused on. Terrible. Will never watch another one of your videos

  19. He got DFA'd a few weeks ago but no one picked him up. Cards re-added him to the 40-man and he went 2 IP with 1 ER (solo homer) a few nights ago but his stuff looked pretty decent. Dude's had a tough career so far, hoping he is able to find his footing a bit as a reliever.

  20. This man should do a video about Michael Jordan being cut from his school basketball team. This video is the opposite of Michael Jordan's advice about winners being the people who can overcome the first failures, which we all have. As Mayers overcame. So the sequel would have to be called "best comeback." I'm sorry for Mayers that he and his family have to endure this irrational, odd, gloating video.

  21. Yu Darvish has a major league debut that was very strange. He gave up five runs in the first four out, then he settled down and pitched all the way through the end of the sixth inning giving up no more hits. It started out like what are we paying him 50 million dollars for? Then it became oh crap he's good !

  22. If you ever want to get punched in the face and beat up keep pronouncing our city like that especially in Busch stadium. You will not last long

  23. The worst I’ve ever seen is Miguel ausencio for the royals…16 pitches, 16 straight balls. He was sent back down immediately

  24. Yeah I feel bad for him but I don’t really blame him for everything it seemed like a good amount of plays were just not taken advantage of by his team just in the clips plus that has gotta be immense pressure

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