Monday, April 29, 2013
no. 170 - mike cuellar
Who is the man: Mike Cuellar had just finished one of the greatest seasons anyone would have in 1970, winning 24 games and pitching the victory in the final game of the World Series against the Reds.
Can ya dig it: Is that Earl Weaver in the background on the left?
Right on: I'm not sure what that structure is behind Cuellar -- perhaps the netting behind home plate -- but it make it appear as if Cuellar and his teammates are in a tunnel.
You see this cat Cuellar is a bad mother: I'm giving away the write-up on the back of the card, but it needs to be said here. In 1970, Cuellar tied for the major league lead in wins with 24, hit a grand slam in the AL playoffs against the Twins, and won the Game 5 finale of the World Series with a complete-game six-hitter (after giving up three runs in the first!).
Shut your mouth: In the same year Cuellar did all that, he also led the American League in earned runs allowed (115, tied with Mickey Lolich) and home runs allowed (34).
No one understands him but his woman: Cuellar was known as one of the craftiest pitchers around, perpetually outsmarting hitters. On his baseball-reference bullpen page is this quote from his former catcher Elrod Hendricks:
"Mike always thinks two pitches ahead. When they make an out on one of his set-up pitches, he looks like they've spoiled his fun."
(A word about the back): Cuellar won 67 games between 1969-71. I don't care what you think about wins as a stat, 67 wins to a pitcher's name in three years is doing something right.