Random Retro Baseball Player: Mark Langston | Sharapova's Thigh

Next up in our "Random Retro Baseball Player" series, we look at pitcher Mark Langston...

Years Played: 1984-1999.

Teams Played For: Seattle Mariners(84-89), Montreal Expos(89), California/Anaheim Angels(90-97), San Diego Padres(98), Cleveland Indians(99).

Position: Pitcher(457 Games, 428 Games Started).

Bats/Throws: Right/Left.

Career Line: 179-158, 3.97 ERA, 1.354 WHIP, 108 ERA+, 2464 K, 81 CG, 18 SHO, 2962.2 IP.

Best Season: 1991- 19-8, 3.00 ERA, 1.161 WHIP, 137 ERA+, 183 K, 7 CG, 34 G(All Started), 246.1 IP.

Awards/Leaderboard: 4-Time Al All-Star (1987, 1991, 1992, 1993).

7-Time AL Gold Glove Winner (1987, 1988, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995).

3-Time AL Leader In Strikeouts (1984-204, 1986-245, 1987-262).

4-Time AL Leader In Strikeouts Per 9 Innings Pitched (1984-8.160, 1986-9.213, 1987-8.669, 1989-8.915).

5th In AL Cy Young Voting In 1987 And 6th In 1991.

Fun Facts: While Mark had a terrific career, he was considered the "other guy" in a trade in 1989, when he was traded from Seattle to Montreal in exchange for some pitcher named Randy Johnson.

Langston had an absolutely sensational pickoff move, and picked off a whopping 91 baserunners in his career. That's the 2nd most pickoffs in MLB history.

In 1984, he finished 2nd in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, right behind teammate and Random Retro Baseball Player alum, Alvin Davis. In that remarkable rookie season, he led the AL in strikeouts, and his 17 wins set a Mariners franchise record.

He was also involved in a couple very odd injury incidents, although neither were serious. He once hurt his back doing a flip into a swimming pool. Another time he went flying out of a speeding golf cart. He didn't even miss a start either time.

Not only did he have a career in baseball, but he also did some voices on the show Captain Planet.

My Take: I lived in Los Angeles during a few of Langston's years on the California Angels, so I was very familiar with him. It was right when I got into collecting baseball cards as a kid, and with him being a local star, I had a ton of his cards.

Mark was an incredibly durable pitcher, throwing over 200 innings in 10 seasons. You don't see many pitchers like that anymore. And he was pretty darn good on top of that, winning double-digit games 11 times and having an ERA under 4 7 times.

He went from a high walk, high strikeout pitcher early in his career, to more of a control pitcher earlier in his career. He made the natural transition with age from thrower to pitcher.

Mark had a tremendous glove, something I've always found underrated when discussing pitchers. Some pitchers like Carlos Zambrano can help themselves with the bat, some like Kenny Rogers, Greg Maddux, and Mark Langston helped themselves with their glove. And not surprisingly, all those guys that could field their were a magician defensively won a ton of games. It's something that usually comes with putting in a ton of work to get better at, just like they did with their pitching.

I consider Mark to be one of the more underrated pitchers of the 80s and early 90s.


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