Byrd attended Louisiana State University where he pitched as part of the Tigers baseball team that won the 1991 College World Series. He was originally drafted in the fourth round of the 1991 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. Byrd spent 5 years in the minor leagues before being traded to the Mets and making his major league debut on July 28, 1995.
Byrd is well known for his striking resemblance to actor Kelsey Grammer and because of this is called Frasier by his teammates. He is also known for using an "old-fashioned" windup, in which he swings his arms back prior to going into the full windup. He occasionally swings his arms back twice before pitching, which can disrupt the timing of a batter. Umpires have however, on at least two occasions during Byrd's stay with the Indians, given opposing batters "time" during Byrd's "double-pump".
As a member of the Phillies, Byrd was selected for the 1999 All-Star Game. Byrd's career was revived in 2002, when he won 17 games, despite pitching for a Royals team that would lose 100 games. On the strength of that season Byrd developed a cult following of fans known as the Byrd's Nest. Byrd parlayed his strong 2002 campaign into a two-year free agent contract with the Atlanta Braves. July 1, 2003 Byrd underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow. He was able to successfully come back from the operation and pitch in his first postseason appearance for the Braves during the 2004 NLDS.
In December of 2004, the Angels signed Byrd to a $5 million(USD), one year contract following the trade of right-handed pitcher Ramon Ortiz to the Cincinnati Reds. Paul went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA in 205 innings with the Angels. He was second in the AL with 21 quality starts.
On October 8, 2007, Byrd was the winning pitcher in a 6-4 win against the New York Yankees, giving the Cleveland Indians a 3-1 series win in the ALDS. Byrd pitched again on October 16, this time against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS. He went 5 innings, giving up 2 earned runs and striking out 4, gaining the victory in an Indians 7-3 win to take a 3-1 lead in the best of seven series.
On August 12, 2008, Byrd was traded from the Cleveland Indians to the Boston Red Sox for a player to be named later. He became the Red Sox fourth starter, ahead of Tim Wakefield and the struggling Clay Buchholz.
After the 2008 season, Byrd became a free agent. He later announced that he would sit out the first half of the 2009 season to spend more time with his family, and then possibly join a playoff contender part-way through the basrball season. In August 2009, Byrd re-signed with the Boston Red Sox and worked his way back into the starting rotation when the team's starting corps were wearing thin due to injuries.
HGH Controversy[edit | edit source]
On October 21, 2007, Paul Byrd was accused of using HGH by the San Francisco Chronicle. The paper accused him of spending $24,850 on HGH and syringes from 2002 to 2005. Byrd defended himself, claiming that he was being treated for a tumor on his pituitary gland, and took the drugs under medical supervision. Subsequent news reports, however, assert that Byrd began taking HGH before any pituitary gland condition was diagnosed and that one of the medical professionals to have prescribed Byrd HGH was a Florida dentist whose dental license had been suspended for fraud and incompetence.
References[edit | edit source]
- Salisbury, Jim. "ONE UP ON BIG UNIT \ BYRD SHUTS OUT ASTROS", Philadelphia Inquirer, 1998-08-18.
- Yahoo Sports
- Alipour, Sam. "Paul Byrd's struggle to walk with God", ESPN, 2007-10-17.
- Williams, Lance, Mark Fainaru-Wada. "Cleveland pitcher spent thousands on human growth hormone", San Francisco Chronicle, 2007-10-21. Retrieved on 2007-10-21. “Paul Byrd, the veteran pitcher who has helped the Cleveland Indians reach the brink of the World Series, bought nearly $25,000 worth of human growth hormone and syringes from a Florida anti-aging clinic that was targeted by law enforcement for illegally distributing performance-enhancing drugs, business records show.”
- Brown, Tim. "Byrd: HGH was for serious condition", YAHOOSPORTS.com, 2007-10-22. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
- Williams, Lance, Mark Fainaru-Wada. "Indians pitcher Byrd says growth hormone was prescribed by doctor", San Francisco Chronicle, 2007-10-22. Retrieved on 2007-10-22.
- Mitchell, George. "Mitchell Report on Steroid Use in Baseball", 2007-12-13. Retrieved on 2007-12-13.
[edit | edit source]
- Career statistics and player information from MLB, or ESPN, or Baseball-Reference, or Fangraphs, or The Baseball Cube
- The 100 Greatest Royals of All-Time- #88 Paul Byrd
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