Friday, October 7, 2011

1996 Leaf Signature Series, Ben McDonald

#151 Ben McDonald

Here is another bargain that I could not pass up. I was able to add this Ben McDonald autograph to my collection for just one dollar. How could I pass this one up?

Ben was a stud college pitcher for Louisiana State in the late '80s. He won the Golden Spikes award with them in 1989 for being the best college player in the nation. For his efforts that season, the Orioles rewarded him by making him the number one pick in the draft that year.

Ben made it to the Major Leagues in the same season that he was drafted, making six relief appearances for the O's that September. After making ten minor league starts in 1990, Jeff moved up to the big club for good. Again, he started out in the bullpen before he was eased into the starting rotaion. He finished up that season 8-5 with a 2.43 ERA.

Unfortunately, Ben could not maintain that level of success in the Major Leagues. His record dipped to 6-8 the following year while his ERA rose to 4.84. He posted slightly better numbers in 1992 before having a career year in 1993. His record was only 13-14 that season, but he had career highs in ERA (3.39 [20 or more starts]), complete games (7), and strikeouts (171).

Back to back seasons of more than 220 innings caught up to Ben as he made only 24 starts in 1994 and 13 in 1995. After that season, the O's and Ben parted ways and Ben signed with the Brewers.

For some reason, I do not remeber Ben ever playing for the Brewers.

Ben had a strong 1996 with the Brewers. He went 12-10 that season with a 3.90 ERA in 221.1 innings. But the arm problems caught back up with him the following season, limiting him to just 21 starts.

The Brewers traded Ben to the Indians after that season was over. But, when the Indians learned that Ben wasn't going to be able to pitch at all that season, they traded him back to Milwaukee. Ben then retired from baseball.

For his career, Ben was 78-70 with a 3.91 ERA.

1 comment:

Carl Crawford Cards said...

Man, every time I see folks throwing down money on hot, young starting pitchers, I'm always reminded of my friends and I purchasing Big Ben's cards at outrageous prices in 1990.