The On Deck Circle

Baseball History, Commentary and Analysis

Brian Kingman interview…part 2

William Miller:

Following up on Part 1 of the Brian Kingman interviews, here’s Part 2. This one’s even better than Part 1.

Originally posted on Coco Crisp's Afro:


Part 2 of this amazing interview…just some nuances that are the ambrosia of baseball.

2) What was the day like when you took the photo for the Sports Illustrated cover, and how did that come about?

I am going to answer this two part question in reverse order: How it came about…

SI decided to put us on the cover for two reasons. First was our performance during the 1980 season. We went from 54-108 in 1979to 83-79 in 1980. That’s a remarkable 29 game turnaround. We racked up 94 complete games, which I believe is the modern day record. I don’t know though, does 1980 qualify as modern day or does it seem rather ancient to the readers of your blog? It was the most complete games since 1946, and
if you look below at the innings pitched per start, it was quite an aberration from the norm!

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2 thoughts on “Brian Kingman interview…part 2

  1. Jason A. Miller on said:

    The interesting subtext here is how these guys’ careers all imploded after 1981; the A’s went from the League Championship Series in ’81 to 94 losses in ’82. None of the five pitchers were ever effective again (Norris had drug issues, and McCatty is now Steven Strasburg’s pitching coach…).

    But, interesting, their implosions might NOT all have been due to pitch counts or overusage. Some of these guys were fluke pitchers winning on smoke & mirrors, with Lankford/Kingman/McCatty all having woeful K/IP ratios — a key predictor that a “winning” pitcher might be merely a short-term flash in the pan. Regardless of pitch counts or IP totals.

    • Hi Jason, I think you’re on to something. McCatty’s best season was the strike year of ’81. He led the league in ERA (2.33), shutouts (4), and wins (14). But it was also the only season where his ERA+ was above 100 (it was 148.) Yet his strikeout rate was an unimpressive 4.4 / 9 innings, about the same rate he had in several other less successful seasons. Looking up the A’s defensive numbers for ’82, they had a terrible defense. So, when you have a staff where basically all the pitchers are pitch-to-contact guys, and your defense completely sucks (and their offense wasn’t that great, either), those pitchers are going to be at the mercy of the eight guys behind them.
      Nice comment,

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