September 28th, 2013

September 28 – Happy Birthday Pete Filson

filsonYankee fans heard a lot about Pete Filson in the early eighties. He was a left-handed starting pitcher who had been selected by New York in the ninth round of the 1979 amateur draft. The Yankees assigned him to their Class C Appalachian League team in Paintsville, Kentucky and in 13 starts during the 1979 season he went 9-0 with three shutouts and a 1.68 ERA. The native of Darby, Pennsylvania then proved that first year was no fluke when he followed it up with a 13-9 record in A ball in 1980 and a stellar 17-3 mark the following season.

The question wasn’t would Filson become a winner for New York at the big league level, it was just a matter of when he’d get the chance. But this was the early eighties and the ego-maniacal George Steinbrenner was pretty much dictating the personnel moves made by the Yankee organization. The Boss didn’t get along with Rick Cerone, New York’s staring catcher at the time so he directed the front office to replace him. The Twins’ first string receiver was available but he wouldn’t come cheap. The Yanks had to give Minnesota Filson in the deal.

Filson made his big league debut with the Twins during the 1982 season and spent the next three years pitching out of the Minnesota bullpen. In 1986, he was traded to the White Sox and a year later, he returned to the Bronx as part of the same deal that brought Randy Velarde to the Yankees.

Filson finally got to make his Yankee debut on August 29, 1987 in a relief appearance against the Mariners. He got rocked. He also got lit up in his second appearance against Boston a week later but then settled down and pitched well in his next three. That streak got him his first ever start in pinstripes and he made it a good one, pitching seven scoreless innings against Baltimore and earning his first and only Yankee victory. He pitched well in his next start as well but did not factor in the decision.

Filson turned 29-years-old that year and the Yanks decided to release him at the end of their 1988 spring training camp. He got one more shot at the big leagues in 1990. Filson ended up having a brilliant minor league career, putting together a 95-34 record during his decade pitching on farm teams with a 2.98 ERA. I think the Yanks screwed up his career when they traded him for Wynegar and he ended up stuck in the Twins’ bullpen during his prime. Southpaws did well in the old Yankee Stadium and God knows the Yanks could have used another good lefty starter during those seasons in the early 1980′s.

He shares his September 29th birthday with this former Yankee center fielder,  this former Yankee relief pitcher and this long-ago New York first baseman.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1987 NYY 1 0 1.000 3.27 7 2 3 0 0 0 22.0 26 10 8 2 9 10 1.591
7 Yrs 15 18 .455 4.18 148 34 43 1 0 4 391.2 398 198 182 51 150 187 1.399
MIN (5 yrs) 14 13 .519 3.98 130 24 38 1 0 4 323.0 316 148 143 39 123 164 1.359
KCR (1 yr) 0 4 .000 5.91 8 7 0 0 0 0 35.0 42 31 23 6 13 9 1.571
NYY (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 3.27 7 2 3 0 0 0 22.0 26 10 8 2 9 10 1.591
CHW (1 yr) 0 1 .000 6.17 3 1 2 0 0 0 11.2 14 9 8 4 5 4 1.629
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/28/2013.