Archive for the ‘Pitchers’ Category

Four years after pitcher Joaquin Andujar was sent away by the Cardinals, manager Whitey Herzog wanted to bring him back and give him a chance to earn a spot in the starting rotation.

Thirty years ago, in May 1989, Andujar wrote to the Cardinals, apologized for his behavior and asked to come back.

Herzog advocated for Andjuar’s return, but the front office wasn’t interested.

Spurned by the Cardinals, Andujar pitched successfully in a senior professional league, earned a tryout with the Expos but failed in his attempt to get back to the major leagues.

Good, bad, ugly

Andujar was a stalwart of the Cardinals’ staff from 1981-85. posting a 68-53 record. In 1982, he earned 15 wins in the regular season and three wins in the postseason, including the clinchers in the National League Championship Series against the Braves and the World Series versus the Brewers. Andujar had 20 wins in 1984 and 21 wins in 1985.

In his last year with the Cardinals, Andujar fell out of favor with management because of drug use and an on-field temper tantrum in Game 7 of the World Series against the Royals.

At a September 1985 federal trial of an accused drug dealer in Pittsburgh, Andujar and former Cardinals Bernie Carbo, Keith Hernandez, Lonnie Smith and Lary Sorensen were among major-league players identified as cocaine users. A month later, Andujar was ejected from the decisive game of the World Series for his tirade directed at umpire Don Denkinger.

Embarrassed by Andujar’s behavior and concerned he had become a divisive clubhouse presence, the Cardinals traded him to the Athletics on Dec. 10, 1985, for catcher Mike Heath and pitcher Tim Conroy.

After posting records of 12-7 in 1986 and 3-5 in 1987 with the Athletics, Andujar pitched for the Astros in 1988. He was 2-5 for Houston, became a free agent after the season and remained at home in the Dominican Republic when he received no major-league offer.

No, thanks

In April 1989, as the Cardinals neared Opening Day, Herzog sized up his starting pitching and openly lobbied for the club to sign Andujar. “I wish we had him now,” Herzog said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A month later, with the Cardinals in need of a No. 5 starter, Herzog pressed again for the team to sign Andujar.

“Herzog has hoped the Cardinals and Anheuser-Busch would reconsider their stance on not having Andujar around anymore,” the Post-Dispatch reported on May 20, 1989.

Knowing he needed to repair relations with upper management, Andujar, with the help of agents Alan Hendricks and David Hendricks, wrote a letter to Cardinals chief operating officer Fred Kuhlmann, “apologizing for his actions and hoping for a job,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

Herzog said Kuhlmann wrote Andujar “a polite reply,” but made it clear the club was uninterested, a stance supported by general manager Dal Maxvill.

“He can’t pitch,” said Maxvill. “He hasn’t pitched well since we sent him” to the Athletics.

Herzog wanted to place Andujar, 36, with the Cardinals’ top farm club at Louisville, give him a chance to work into shape and bring him to St. Louis in the summer.

“There’s nothing to lose,” Herzog said. “There are a lot of veteran pitchers who haven’t had as much success as he has.”

Super senior

In July 1989, the Post-Dispatch published a story from Cox News Service, which sent a reporter to visit Andujar in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic. Andjuar said he was supplying food and water to the poor as well as donating baseball equipment to youth players.

“It’s time the people know the good sides to Joaquin Andujar, not only the bad side,” Andujar said.

Asked whether he’d play again in the big leagues, Andujar replied, “I can still throw 90-something miles per hour, but I said last year somebody wanted Joaquin Andujar out of baseball and you see that’s true. If they don’t want me, I don’t want to play.”

A few months later, after the 1989 major-league season ended, Andujar joined the fledgling Senior Professional Baseball Association for players older than 35. Playing for manager Earl Weaver’s Gold Coast Suns in Pompano Beach, Fla., Andujar was 5-0 with a 1.31 ERA. Impressed, the Expos signed him to a minor-league contract in December 1989 and invited him to their big-league spring training camp in 1990.

“If they give me the ball and leave me alone, I can win 20 games,” Andujar said to the Associated Press. “I’m not going to play in the minor leagues. I’m not a minor-league pitcher.”

Au revoir

After reporting five days late to Expos spring training camp, Andujar, 37, had root canal surgery. He pitched in two exhibition games, yielding two earned runs in five innings, and was released on April 3, 1989, before the season began.

In an interview with the Toronto Globe and Mail, Andujar said, “I’m being blackballed” and mocked the Expos for releasing him.

“I’ve never seen a crazy ballclub like Montreal, believe me,” Andujar said. “They’re out of their minds. They’re all miserable _ from the manager to the bat boy.

“That club doesn’t know what they’re doing. Everybody in the world knows I can help a club like that one.”

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Like a couple of grand chess masters, managers Joe Torre of the Cardinals and Jim Leyland of the Pirates engaged in a series of maneuvers designed to outwit the other. Torre won, and the result was as unusual as it was satisfying.

Twenty-five years ago, on May 17, 1994, Torre utilized six pitchers to achieve a shutout against the Pirates at Pittsburgh.

The Cardinals tied a National League record for most pitchers used in a shutout. The American League record at the time was seven.

Since then, the American League Indians established a record by using nine pitchers in a shutout against the Tigers on Sept. 17, 2016, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Boxscore The previous record of eight had been done five times, MLB.com reported.

Tom terrific

The Cardinals-Pirates game was played on a 40-degree Tuesday night at Three Rivers Stadium. The starting pitchers were left-handers Tom Urbani for the Cardinals and Zane Smith for the Pirates.

Urbani entered the start with a season record of 0-3 and a 5.04 ERA. The Cardinals wanted to send him to the minor leagues, but balked when left-hander Rheal Cormier injured his shoulder.

Both starters worked fast and the first seven innings were played in less than 90 minutes. The Cardinals scored a run in the sixth and another in the seventh and led 2-0.

The Pirates’ lone hit against Urbani was a single by Carlos Garcia leading off the fourth.

“I set up hitters and I got them out the way I wanted to get them out,” Urbani said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Torre observed, “Even when he didn’t hit his spots, he had enough on the ball where they didn’t get good wood on it.”

Mix and match

In the eighth, the Pirates had two on via walks with two outs when Torre lifted Urbani and brought in right-hander John Habyan to face Lance Parrish. Leyland countered by using Dave Clark, a left-handed hitter, to bat for Parrish and Habyan walked him, loading the bases.

Torre called for left-hander Rob Murphy to pitch to Orlando Merced, a switch-hitter, but again Leyland countered and switched to right-handed batter Don Slaught. Murphy got Slaught to hit a grounder to shortstop Ozzie Smith, who threw to second baseman Jose Oquendo for the inning-ending force on Clark.

In the ninth, Torre used three pitchers to get three outs.

Garcia led off with a single against Mike Perez. After Jay Bell popped out to second, left-hander Rich Rodriguez came in to face the former Cardinal, Andy Van Slyke.

A left-handed batter, Van Slyke turned on a Rodriguez fastball and hit it high and far. Van Slyke’s drive had home run distance but landed a few feet foul down the right-field line.

“I was able to get away with a pitch,” Rodriguez said. “I had new life and once I did I figured I’d better make something happen.”

Rodriguez switched to sliders and struck out Van Slyke.

Playing the percentages, Torre brought in right-hander Rene Arocha to face right-handed Brian Hunter and got him to fly out to shallow left, ending the game.

Urbani pitched 7.2 innings, limiting the Pirates to one hit and four walks, and earned his second career win in the big leagues. Boxscore

In using Habyan, Murphy, Perez, Rodriguez and Arocha to complete the shutout, Torre emptied his bullpen.

“I didn’t have any left,” Torre said to the Associated Press. “(Arocha) was the last I had.”

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On the night he pitched an immaculate inning, Bob Gibson also was perfect at the plate.

An immaculate inning is defined as using the minimum number of pitches, nine, to strike out the minimum number of batters, three.

Fifty years ago, on May 12, 1969, Gibson faced three Dodgers batters in the seventh inning and struck out each on three pitches. He also produced three singles and a walk in four plate appearances, scored a run and stole a base in the Cardinals’ 6-2 victory at St. Louis.

“Gibson did everything but put in AstroTurf,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch marveled.

Gibson is one of two Cardinals to pitch an immaculate inning. The other is Jason Isringhausen, who struck out Daryle Ward, Jose Vizcaino and Julio Lugo in order on nine pitches in the ninth inning of a 2-1 Cardinals triumph over the Astros on April 13, 2002, at St. Louis. Boxscore

9 perfect pitches

Gibson, 33, achieved his feat versus the trio of Len Gabrielson, Paul Popovich and John Miller. Gabrielson, a left-handed batter, and Popovich, a switch-hitter batting left, both struck out swinging. Miller, a right-handed batter substituting for starting pitcher Claude Osteen, struck out looking.

“I was throwing hard. All of them were good pitches,” Gibson said to the Post-Dispatch. “Good and low, most of them. Right on the corners. I don’t do that. Not nine straight pitches.”

Cardinals catcher Joe Torre said, “I’d just like to know what that Miller kid was thinking when Gibson shook me off twice on an 0-and-2 pitch. He shook me off a slider and then he shook off a curve. Then I called for a fastball and that’s what Gibson wanted. The kid took it.”

Gibson pitched a seven-hitter, struck out six and “proved he is just as good as ever _ and that’s almost as good as a pitcher can be,” the Los Angeles Times declared.

He told the Post-Dispatch he ached after throwing 123 pitches and the pain “starts here _ at the tip of my fingers _ and works up the arm and then into the shoulder and around down my side and all the way down to here _ my toes.”

Hit and run

Gibson made the Dodgers hurt for intentionally walking Steve Huntz, batting .083, to load the bases with two outs in the fourth. Gibson followed by drilling a two-run single, extending the Cardinals’ lead to 3-0.

“You have to drive in the runs yourself sometimes,” Gibson said.

In the seventh, Gibson scored on Julian Javier’s two-run single against Alan Foster.

With the Cardinals ahead, 6-2, in the eighth, Gibson worked a one-out walk from former teammate Pete Mikkelsen and swiped second. It was his second stolen base of the season and one of five steals for Gibson in 1969. He had 13 stolen bases in his Cardinals career. Boxscore

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Dave Pallone was a minor-league umpire who caused a major ruckus when he ejected three prominent Cardinals for arguing one call.

Forty years ago, on May 9, 1979, Pallone, substituting for major-league umpires who were on strike, tossed manager Ken Boyer, first baseman Keith Hernandez and catcher Ted Simmons in the ninth inning of a game at Houston’s Astrodome.

Pallone also ordered all of the players on the Cardinals’ bench to go inside the clubhouse and stay there until needed.

Pallone’s antics were part of a wild game in which the Astros prevailed over the Cardinals, 5-4, in 16 innings.

Questionable call

When big-league umpires went on strike in March 1979, the American League and National League brought in retired and amateur umpires and also hired eight replacement umpires, including Pallone, from the minor leagues.

Pallone was the second-base umpire in the Cardinals-Astros game.

In the ninth inning, with the score tied at 4-4, the Astros had Jimmy Sexton on first base with none out and Terry Puhl at the plate against Will McEnaney, the former Reds reliever who was making his first appearance with the Cardinals.

Puhl, looking to advance Sexton to second, bunted. McEnaney fielded the ball and threw to shortstop Garry Templeton, who was covering second. McEnaney’s throw was wide of the bag and Templeton had to reach to catch it.

Templeton said he kept his foot on the bag long enough to record the out, but Pallone disagreed and ruled Sexton safe at second.

“Bad call,” Templeton said to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “I couldn’t stand there all day.”

Law and order

Pallone’s call prompted multiple Cardinals to rush toward him to protest.

Hernandez arrived first. “When I ran up to him,” Hernandez said, “I couldn’t slow down. I bumped him inadvertently.”

Pallone said to Hernandez, “Don’t you bump me,” and ejected him.

When Simmons and Boyer joined the argument, Simmons called Pallone a scab for working in place of the strikers.

“That’s what he is, isn’t he?” Simmons said.

Pallone objected and ejected Simmons.

After Boyer voiced his views in language he admitted “you couldn’t print,” he was tossed, too.

When angry Cardinals flung towels, a baseball and a jacket from the dugout onto the field, Pallone ordered all the players on the bench to go into the clubhouse, though he didn’t eject them.

“Any time you throw equipment onto the field, you can’t let them sit on the bench,” Pallone told the Post-Dispatch.

Said Boyer: “I doubt very seriously if that guy knew what he was doing.”

Missed opportunities

After order was restored, the Astros had Sexton on second, Puhl on first and none out, but McEnaney worked out of the jam. Craig Reynolds grounded into a force, and after Jeffrey Leonard walked, loading the bases, ex-Cardinal Jose Cruz bounced into a double play.

Entering extra innings, Cardinals coach Red Schoendienst instructed the bench players to return to the dugout and Pallone made no attempt to send them back.

“You just can’t stop the game every time and ask them to leave,” Pallone said.

Joaquin Andujar, the future Cardinals ace, worked two innings in relief for the Astros and escaped a tight spot in the 11th. With one out and George Hendrick on third, Ken Reitz grounded to Reynolds at short and Hendrick was thrown out at home. “You’ve got to take a chance with one out,” third-base coach Jack Krol said.

The Cardinals, though, weren’t done. Lou Brock singled and Bernie Carbo walked, loading the bases, before Andujar struck out Templeton.

In the 14th, the Astros loaded the bases with none out, but Tom Bruno kept them from scoring. After Bob Watson flied out to shallow left, Julio Gonzalez was supposed to try a suicide squeeze, but he missed the sign, took the pitch and Leonard, running from third to home, was tagged out. The inning ended on Gonzalez’s fly out to right.

Bruno’s luck ran out in the 16th when Watson looped a soft liner just beyond second baseman Ken Oberkfell, scoring Leonard from third with the winning run. Boxscore

Controversial career

A few days later, after the big-league umpires ended their strike, the American League and National League formally hired the eight replacement umpires and allowed them to stay.

Pallone was treated as an outcast by the union umpires, but he remained in the National League from 1979 to 1988, and worked the 1987 League Championship Series in which the Cardinals beat the Giants despite four home runs by Leonard.

On April 30, 1988, Pallone and Reds manager Pete Rose got into an argument during a game in Cincinnati. Rose thought Pallone poked him and he shoved the umpire in retaliation. Rose was ejected and Pallone was removed from the game for his protection when fans pelted the field with debris. Video.

Rose was suspended for 30 days and fined for his actions.

Five months later, Pallone was forced to resign for what was termed unprofessional behavior. He briefly was linked to a police investigation of a male sex ring in upstate New York, but charges never were filed against him.

Pallone wrote a book, “Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball,” about his umpire career and his life as a gay man, and said he had sexual relationships with players.

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Much like being forced to ride in the back of a bus, African-American customers attending a National League Cardinals game or an American League Browns game at Sportsman’s Park in St. Louis were restricted to seats behind the outfield walls.

Seventy-five years ago, on May 4, 1944, the Cardinals and Browns became the last big-league teams to end segregated seating.

Until then, African-Americans, or anyone defined as Negroes, could purchase tickets only in the outfield bleachers or in the outfield pavilion at Sportsman’s Park. The pavilion was a roofed section behind the right-field wall. A 25-foot screen, extending from right to right-center, was built atop the wall.

Blacks weren’t allowed to sit in Sportsman’s Park’s double-decked grandstand, meaning any seats behind home plate and along the lines, or, in other words, the seats with the best views.

African-American baseball fans in St. Louis were unable to buy tickets to seats of their choice to watch Cardinals clubs featuring Rogers Hornsby in the late 1920s, or the Gashouse Gang of the 1930s, or the Stan Musial teams of the early 1940s.

Three years after the racist restriction was lifted, Jackie Robinson of the Dodgers integrated the big leagues in 1947. Dodgers executive Branch Rickey, credited with bringing Robinson to the majors, was head of Cardinals baseball operations during the time Sportsman’s Park had segregated seating.

Bowing to racism

Located at the corner of North Grand and Dodier, Sportsman’s Park was home to both St. Louis teams from 1920-53. The Browns moved to Baltimore after the 1953 season and Sportsman’s Park was renamed Busch Stadium. The Cardinals played there until they moved into a downtown stadium in 1966.

Sportsman’s Park was owned by the Browns, but both they and the Cardinals agreed to segregated seating.

In his book, “Branch Rickey: A Biography,” author Murray Polner said Rickey approached Cardinals owner Sam Breadon in the 1930s about the possibility of ending the discriminatory seating policy.

Rickey said his proposal received “effective opposition on the part of ownership and on the part of the public, press, everybody.”

According to the book, Breadon told Rickey he personally didn’t care about segregated seating but believed removing the restrictions would be bad for business.

Rickey said the city of St. Louis had no ordinance segregating blacks from whites at Sportsman’s Park and the decision was made by the clubs. Rickey suggested Breadon end the Cardinals’ policy without making a formal announcement, but there was no interest.

Unable to generate support, Rickey “backed away, unwilling to offend Breadon or white customers.”

Right stuff

Satchel Paige had the courage to do what the Cardinals and Browns would not.

On July 4, 1941, the Kansas City Monarchs and Chicago American Giants were scheduled to play a special holiday Negro League game at Sportsman’s Park. The St. Louis Stars, a Negro National League team, had played their home games at Stars Park at the corner of Laclede and Compton before disbanding after the 1931 season.

Paige, the ace pitcher and showman, was the gate attraction for the game at Sportsman’s Park and he refused to play unless seating that day was unrestricted for all customers, according to Timothy M. Gay, author of the book “Satch, Dizzy & Rapid Robert: The Wild Saga of Interracial Baseball Before Jackie Robinson.”

Unwilling to risk playing without Paige, officials gave in to his demand.

In a March 2010 guest column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Gay wrote, “Thanks to Satchel Paige’s gutsy stand, blacks could sit wherever their pocketbooks would allow.”

An interracial crowd of 19,178 came to see Paige and the Monarchs win, 11-2. “It was almost unheard of in the St. Louis of that era for the races to commingle at a public venue,” Gay wrote, “but they did that day.”

In its game report, the Post-Dispatch declared the crowd was “the largest ever to witness a Negro baseball game in St. Louis.”

Paige pitched four entertaining innings. In the third, he “waved in his outfielders and gave the next batter his old trouble ball,” the Post-Dispatch reported. “His trouble ball is a hard fast one, usually thrown at the handle of the bat, because Satchel says no living human can hit such a ball with the handle.”

Paige struck out the batter.

“The record crowd enjoyed every minute that the master showman worked,” the St. Louis Star-Times reported.

Keep it quiet

Following Rickey’s advice from years earlier, the 1944 decision to end the segregated seating practice of the Cardinals and Browns was done without fanfare and received brief mention in publications. There were no press conferences nor any statements made to media.

“Restrictions confining Negroes to the right field pavilion have been lifted by both the Cardinals and the Browns, with the colored fans now being allowed to purchase grandstand seats,” The Sporting News reported. “St. Louis had been the only major-league city with this discriminatory rule.”

The Associated Press reported the St. Louis teams “have discontinued their old policy of restricting Negroes to the bleachers and pavilion at Sportsman’s Park.”

Breadon couldn’t be reached for comment, the Star-Times noted, and Browns general manager Bill DeWitt Sr. declined to comment.

Pioneer players

On May 21, 1947, Robinson became the first African-American to play a big-league game at Sportsman’s Park. The largest weekday crowd of the season, 16,249, came to see Robinson and the Dodgers play the Cardinals. “About 6,000 were Negroes,” according to the Post-Dispatch.

“Robinson was cheered each time he went to bat and the Dodgers as a team received more vocal encouragement than they usually get at Sportsman’s Park,” the Post-Dispatch reported. Boxscore

Two months later, the Browns followed the Dodgers and Indians, becoming the third big-league club with African-American players.

On July 17, 1947, second baseman Hank Thompson made his major-league debut for the Browns versus the Athletics before 3,648 at Sportsman’s Park. Boxscore Another black player, outfielder Willard Brown, debuted with the Browns two days later against the Red Sox before 2,434 at Sportsman’s Park.

Paige would play three seasons (1951-53) for the Browns.

The Cardinals waited until 1954 before first baseman Tom Alston integrated the team.

As late as 1961, the Cardinals had segregated housing for their players at spring training in Florida until first baseman Bill White, with the help of civil rights activist Dr. Ralph Wimbish, led an effort to have integrated accommodations.

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Scott Sanderson enhanced his status as a starter by pitching a 10-inning gem against the Cardinals before the largest crowd to attend a baseball game in Montreal.

Sanderson died April 11, 2019, at 62. He was 23 and in his second major-league season with the Expos when he earned the complete-game win versus the Cardinals in the second game of a doubleheader on Sept. 16, 1979, before 59,282 spectators at Olympic Stadium.

After yielding seven hits in 4.1 innings, Sanderson retired the next 17 Cardinals batters in a row. Sanderson earned the win, but his effort was overshadowed by second baseman Dave Cash, whose improbable grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 10th lifted the Expos to a 5-1 victory.

Big chance

Banished to the bullpen in late July by Expos manager Dick Williams after a stretch of ineffective starts, Sanderson’s stint against the Cardinals was a turning point in his big-league career.

The Cardinals and Expos played consecutive doubleheaders Sept 15-16. In the opener of the Sept. 16 doubleheader, Expos starter Ross Grimsley was lifted after two innings and the club used three relievers in a 4-3 loss to the Cardinals.

Looking to salvage a split of the doubleheader before the big crowd, the Expos needed a strong performance from Sanderson, who was making his second start since July 27 and seeking his first win since Aug. 1.

“I was hoping somewhere along the way I could be used as a starter and help this team out when it needed it,” Sanderson said to the Montreal Gazette.

The Expos scored a run in the first against Cardinals starter John Denny on Cash’s RBI-double and the Cardinals tied the score in the second on Ken Oberkfell’s sacrifice fly, scoring Jerry Mumphrey from third.

Denny went seven innings, but Sanderson kept going. “I wanted to go as long as I could,” Sanderson said.

Unbelievable error

After the first two Expos batters made outs in the bottom of the 10th, “the game looked as though it would go on forever,” the Gazette reported.

Gary Carter sparked the rally when he looped a liner to left and hustled to second for a double, beating the throw from Lou Brock. Jerry White was walked intentionally, bringing left-handed batter Warren Cromartie to the plate to face left-hander Darold Knowles.

Cromartie hit a routine grounder “ever so softly” to Oberkfell at second base, the Gazette reported, for what appeared to be an inning-ending out.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Oberkfell fielded the ball cleanly enough, then inexplicably, as he prepared to throw to first, dropped it. Desperately, he reached for the ball on the ground but fumbled it again.”

Cromartie was safe at first and the bases were loaded.

“Obie wouldn’t boot that play away again if he tried for 100 years,” said Cardinals manager Ken Boyer.

Cromartie theorized Oberkfell made the error “because he was watching me bust my ass down to first.”

Said Oberkfell: “It was the easiest ball hit to me all day. I don’t know how I did it.”

Cashing in

Boyer brought in right-hander George Frazier to face Cash, who’d spent most of the season as a utility player before replacing Rodney Scott at second base in late August.

Cash hit Frazier’s third pitch over the left-field wall for his first home run of the season and the only grand slam of his 12-year career in the major leagues.

“I knew if I could hang in there long enough I’d get a chance,” Cash said to the Post-Dispatch.

In a baseball version of the red carpet treatment, Williams and Expos outfielder Ellis Valentine stretched out towels from the entrance of the clubhouse to Cash’s locker cubicle as the hitting hero arrived from the field.

“Almost overlooked in the euphoria,” the Gazette reported, was the effort of Sanderson, who showed the Expos he had the right stuff to stay a starter. Boxscore

Consistent winner

Sanderson finished the 1979 season with a 9-8 record and 3.43 ERA for the second-place Expos.

In 19 seasons (1978-96) in the major leagues, Sanderson, a right-hander, was 163-143 with a 3.84 ERA. His career record versus the Cardinals was 10-11 with a 3.63 ERA.

Sanderson pitched for the Expos (1978-83), Cubs (1984-89), Athletics (1990), Yankees (1991-92), Angels (1993), Giants (1993, White Sox (1994) and Angels again (1995-96).

Playing for manager Tony La Russa and pitching coach Dave Duncan, Sanderson was 17-11 with a 3.88 ERA in 34 starts for the 1990 Athletics, who won the American League pennant. The 17 wins were his single-season career high.

In six seasons with the Expos, Sanderson was 56-47 with a 3.33 ERA. In six seasons with the Cubs, he was 42-42 with a 3.81 ERA.

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