December 18 – Happy Birthday Scott Nielsen
It was appropriate that Scott Nielsen pitched three of his four big league seasons in the city of Wall Street because he was traded so often, he might have qualified for a slot on the big board. Selected by the Mariners in the sixth round of the 1983 draft, New York got him the first time a year later, for Larry Milbourne. He pitched well in the Yankee farm system, especially in 1986, when he had already won 13 games by the time he was called up to the Bronx in July of that season to fill in for Ron Guidry, who had suffered a severe cut on his pitching hand. Nielsen ended up going 4-4 for manager Lou Piniella that season, with a 4.02 ERA.
The following January, the Yankees traded the right-hander to the White Sox in the deal that brought Randy Velarde to New York. The Salt Lake City native saw quite a bit of action in the Windy City during the 1987 season as a reliever and spot starter. He finished that year with a 3-5 record and an ERA over six. That November the White Sox sent Nielsen back to New York along with former 20-game winner, Rich Dotson in exchange for Yankee outfielder, Dan Pasqua and two other players. The Yankees put him back in Columbus to start the ’88 season and he became the Clippers best starting pitcher. He was 13-6 in Triple A when he was called back up to the parent club in August of that year. But he didn’t pitch well for New York during the last two months of that season. The following July, he was traded to the Mets for Marcus Lawton but he would never again pitch in a Major League game. He ended his four-year big league career with a 9-11 record and three career shutouts. In 1988, Nielsen became one of just 38 big league pitchers who have allowed more home runs than batters struck out in the same season, when he gave up five HRs but struck out just 4 opposing hitters.
Nielsen shares his birthday with this great Yankee first baseman who passed away earlier this year.