March 20 – Happy Birthday Paul Mirabella

After the 1978 season, the New York front office decided the Yankee bullpen wasn’t big enough for both Goose Gossage and Sparky Lyle so they traded “The Count” to Texas in a nine player deal. The key acquisition for New York was supposed to be outfielder Juan Beniquez, but he lasted just one season in the Bronx. The real gem in that deal for the Yankees was a young pitcher named Dave Righetti. Paul Mirabella, today’s birthday celebrant quietly accompanied “Ragu” and Beniquez to New York as part of that transaction.

A word of advice to those of you who have children you hope one day will win baseball scholarships to college or get drafted by an MLB team. If they are right-handed groom them to be catchers and if they throw with their left-hands teach them how to pitch. Why? If you study the history of Major League Baseball  you will find a large number of catchers in every era who were able to put together lengthy big league careers even though they can’t hit worth a lick. You’ll also discover that there’s always room on a big league roster for a pitcher who can throw from the left side.

Mirabella is a classic example. He had come up with Texas in 1978.  After going 0-4 in pinstripes during the 1979 season, he was sent to Toronto with Chris Chambliss in the deal that brought Rick Cerone to New York. He remained in the big leagues for the next eleven seasons even though his ERA as a reliever was 4.45, his record was 19-29 and he saved an average of just one game per season during his 13 years in the Majors. How? Because at least once every season since Major League Baseball was introduced to our culture, the manager of every big league team that has ever played has told the owner or general manager of that team that he needs a left hander who can come into a game and get a left-handed hitter on the opposing team out. That’s why and how Mirabella’s career lasted for thirteen seasons on six different teams.

He was born in Belleville, NJ in 1954. In the above baseball card, Mirabella does bear a slight resemblance to comedy actor, Sacha Baron Cohen, no? He also shares his March 20th birthday with the first pitcher in the history of the Yankee franchise to win 20 games in a season and the first one to lose 20 games in a season.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1979 NYY 0 4 .000 8.79 10 1 0 0 0 0 14.1 16 15 14 3 10 4 1.814
13 Yrs 19 29 .396 4.45 298 33 86 3 1 13 499.2 526 284 247 43 239 258 1.531
MIL (4 yrs) 8 5 .615 3.63 124 2 39 0 0 6 163.2 158 78 66 13 71 81 1.399
SEA (3 yrs) 2 5 .286 4.19 70 1 21 0 0 3 88.0 96 50 41 7 39 55 1.534
TEX (2 yrs) 4 3 .571 5.15 50 4 22 0 0 4 78.2 76 46 45 6 39 52 1.462
TOR (2 yrs) 5 12 .294 4.64 41 23 3 3 1 0 145.1 171 89 75 13 73 62 1.679
NYY (1 yr) 0 4 .000 8.79 10 1 0 0 0 0 14.1 16 15 14 3 10 4 1.814
BAL (1 yr) 0 0 5.59 3 2 1 0 0 0 9.2 9 6 6 1 7 4 1.655
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/13/2014.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: