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Jesse Orosco

A photo of Jesse Orosco.

Template:RefimproveBLP Template:Infobox MLB player Jesse Russell Orosco (born April 21, 1957 in Santa Barbara, California) is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who holds the major league record for career pitching appearances. He pitched most notably for the New York Mets in the 1980s. He won a World Series in 1986 with the Mets and in 1988 with the Dodgers. He threw left-handed, but batted right-handed. He retired in 2003 after having been with the Mets, Dodgers, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, Baltimore Orioles, St. Louis Cardinals, San Diego Padres, New York Yankees, and Minnesota Twins. He retired when he was 46 years old, one of the oldest players to still be playing in the modern age. Orosco's longevity was greatly aided by the increasing use of left-handed specialist relief pitchers from the 1990s onward; in his last several years, he was used almost exclusively in this role.


Orosco was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 1978 Major League Baseball Draft. In February 1979, the Twins traded Orosco to the New York Mets to complete a deal that had been made two months earlier. In December 1978 the Mets traded veteran starter Jerry Koosman to the Twins for two players, one of whom was a player to be named later. The trade of that player, Orosco, completed the deal. Orosco made his debut on April 5, 1979 with the Mets. He played his last game on September 27, 2003 with the Twins. Orosco had his best seasons in the early and mid 1980s with the Mets. He had a career-best 1.47 ERA in 1983. That year, he also won 13 games and saved 17, with 110 innings pitched, making his first All-Star Team and finishing third in the National League Cy Young Award voting. He had 31 saves in 1984, which was 3rd in the National League, and went 10–6 in 60 appearances; good enough for his second All-Star selection. In 1985, he began sharing closing duties for the Mets with right-hander Roger McDowell, giving the Mets a vaunted lefty–righty combo coming out of the bullpen to close games. Orosco's clutch relief pitching in the 1986 postseason was one of the key reasons the Mets were world champions. He was on the mound for the final pitch of the final game of both the NLCS against the Houston Astros, and the World Series against the Boston Red Sox. Orosco ended both series by striking out the final batter. Orosco also provided one of the most memorable images of that World Series and it would become an iconic image to the Mets and their fans: after striking out Marty Barrett to end the series, he threw his glove way up in the air and immediately dropped to his knees while catcher Gary Carter ran out to the mound to embrace him. The photo was taken by Mets photographer George Kalinsky, who's also the photographer at Madison Square Garden. For many years—and probably to the chagrin of Red Sox fans—this was the final scene shown during the ending credits of the syndicated Major League Baseball news show This Week in Baseball. Having also become the first (and only) relief pitcher to get three wins in one playoff series (which he accomplished in the NLCS against the Astros), Orosco would primarily be remembered for that year. Coincidentally, Jerry Koosman, whom the Mets had traded to Minnesota in the deal that brought Orosco to New York, was on the mound for the final out of the 1969 World Series—to date, the only other Fall Classic the Mets have won. The final batter in that World Series, Davey Johnson, would be Orosco's manager on the '86 World Championship team. After getting traded away by the Mets in a huge deal involving over seven players, he found a very brief one-year home with the Dodgers, and then signed with Cleveland and stayed there for three years. His only real recognizable home besides the Mets came in Baltimore when he stayed with the Orioles for the latter half of the 1990s. While his best seasons came in New York, he had an excellent 1997 season, finishing with a 2.32 ERA, his best since the 1980s. His seasons of being a very good reliever were still not finished though. In 2003, he was on three different teams and finished with 33 innings pitched. The 2003 season also marked his return to New York, this time though with the Yankees. He was traded to the Yankees from the San Diego Padres for a player to be named later.[1] He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2004 season but decided to retire before spring training and finish a historic career. He was eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009; however, his lifetime stats made him a longshot for the Hall. He was the last active MLB player from the 1970s, outlasting Rickey Henderson (the last active position player) by over a week, though Henderson would play a few more seasons with independent minor league teams, and officially retire in 2007. While Henderson got inducted on the first ballot, Orosco was off future Baseball Writers Association of America ballots after only receiving one vote. He finished his career with an ERA of 3.16, and is the all-time record holder for games (by a pitcher), with 1252. He has 74 more than Cincinnati Reds' reliever Mike Stanton who is second with 1178. Orosco became eligible for the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2009. 75% of the vote was necessary for induction, and 5% was necessary to stay on the ballot. He received 0.2% of the vote and dropped off the ballot.

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  1. Corio, Ray. "At Age 46, Orosco Is Joining The Yanks", The New York Times, 23 July 2003. Retrieved on 30 May 2010.

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