All Downhill From Here

by Fred Schwarz

Lefthanded pitcher Tom Milone of the Washington Nationals is making his major-league debut tonight. He retired the Mets in order in the first two innings, and then, in his first major-league at-bat, hit a three-run homer on the first pitch. I’d call that a halfway decent debut. [UPDATE: Downhill rather quickly, in fact. Milone gave up four runs in the top of the fourth, grounded out in the bottom of the fourth, and has been removed from the game with one out in the fifth. Sic transit gloria mundi.]

It reminds me of George (Doc) Medich’s major-league debut for the Yankees in 1972. In the top of the first, the Yankees batted around against the Orioles, and Medich, batting in the ninth spot, walked. (He says he is the only major-leaguer, among those who were strictly pitchers, to hit before he threw a pitch.) In the bottom of the inning, Medich was knocked around and did not retire a batter. The day after that game, he began medical school, and he didn’t appear in another game that year. So after his rookie season, he had a career on-base average of 1.000 and a career ERA of infinity. Medich went on to a pretty good career as a pitcher — better than his medical career, as it turned out, as he got into some legal trouble and lost his license a few years after beginning his practice.

Right Field

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