Tag Archives: Joe Slusarski

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Twenty


Date:  Monday, August 19.

Batting stars:  Mike Pagliarulo was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his fifth.  Kent Hrbek was 2-for-4 with a two-run homer (his fourteenth), a double, and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 2-for-4 with a home run (his thirteenth) and two runs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4.  Shane Mack was 2-for-4.

Pitching star:  Steve Bedrosian pitched three innings, giving up one run on two hits and two walks and striking out two.

Opposition stars:  Brook Jacoby was 3-for-5.  Terry Steinbach was 2-for-4.  Jose Canseco was 2-for-5 with a home run (his thirty-fifth) and two runs.  Rickey Henderson was 1-for-3 with a three-run homer (his eleventh) and two walks.  Joe Klink pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up three hits and a walk and striking out one.

The game:  Canseco hit a two-out homer in the top of the first to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead.  Puckett responded with a two-out homer in the bottom of the first to tie it 1-1.  There was no more scoring until the fourth, when Oakland exploded for five runs.  Terry Steinbach started the inning with a walk.  Jacoby singled and Brad Komminsk had an RBI single to give the Athletics the lead.  Mark McGwire walked to load the bases.  With one out, Mike Bordick laid down a squeeze bunt.  Rickey Henderson followed with a three-run homer to give Oakland a 6-1 lead.

The Twins came right back in the bottom of the fourth.  With one out, Hrbek and Chili Davis hit back-to-back doubles to score one run.  Harper singled, but Davis was thrown out at the plate.  Undaunted, Mack singled and Pagliarulo hit a three-run homer to cut the Athletics' lead to 6-5.

In the fifth, singles by Canseco, Jacoby, and McGwire plated a run to make it 7-5.  In the bottom of the fifth Knoblauch walked and Hrbek hit a two-run homer to tie it 7-7.

There was no more scoring until the ninth.  With one out, Dave Henderson walked.  He went to second on a ground out and Steinbach delivered an RBI single to give Oakland an 8-7 lead.  In the bottom of the ninth Randy Bush hit a pinch-hit one-out double, but a ground out and a pop up ended the game.

WP:  Klink (9-3).  LP:  Steve Bedrosian (4-3).  S:  Dennis Eckersley (34).

Notes:  Dan Gladden was on the bench for this game.  Mack moved to left and Gene Larkin went to right.  Knoblauch moved up to the leadoff spot and Larkin batted second.  Al Newman was at shortstop in Greg Gagne's place.

Bush pinch-hit for Newman in the ninth.  Scott Leius then pinch-ran for Bush.

Puckett raised his average to .328.  Harper went up to .306.  Mack got over .300 for the first time all season at .301.

David West started and lasted just 3.2 innings, allowing six runs on six hits and three walks.  He struck out four.  Terry Leach gave up one run in 2.1 innings to make his ERA 2.78.

The Athletics' starter was Joe Slusarski.  He pitched four innings and also allowed six runs.  He gave up seven hits and and one walk with one strikeout.

You may remember Brad Komminsk--he was a can't-miss prospect who missed.  The Braves took him with the fourth pick of the 1979 draft.  He tore up the minors and made his major league debut with Atlanta in mid-August of 1983.  He batted .222 in 36 at-bats, but he was only twenty-two.  He was doing well in AAA in 1984, came up to the majors at the end of May, and batted .203 in 301 at-bats.  He stuck with the Braves the entire 1985 season, but batted just .227.  He did draw a fair number of walks, but not enough to offset his low average.  Also, he was supposed to be a power hitter, and he was in the minors, but his high in home runs for Atlanta was eight in 1984.  He was with the Braves through 1986, was with Milwaukee in 1987, was in the minors all of 1988, played for Cleveland in 1989, was with Baltimore and San Francisco in 1990, and was with Oakland in 1991.  He hit well in AAA, but for some reason could not translate that to the majors.  It's true that he rarely got regular playing time--his high in at-bats in a season was 301--but it's also true that he never showed he deserved it.  For his career, in 1119 plate appearances, he batted .218/.301/.336 with 23 home runs.  He was in AAA with the White Sox in 1992-1993, played in the Northern League in 1996, and played one game of AAA for Detroit in 1997.  He was a long-time minor league coach and manager.

The White Sox lost to Detroit 3-2, so the Twins maintained their lead.

Record:  The Twins were 71-49, in first place in the American League West, 3.5 games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game One Hundred Five


Date:  Saturday, August 3.

Batting stars:  Shane Mack was 3-for-5 with a home run (his thirteenth) and two runs.  Kirby Puckett was 3-for-5 with a double and two RBIs.  Brian Harper was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer, his sixth.  Chili Davis was 2-for-5.

Pitching star:  Rick Aguilera pitched 1.1 scoreless innings, giving up a hit and striking out one.

Opposition stars:  Dave Henderson was 3-for-5 with three home runs, his twentieth, twenty-first, and twenty-second.  Mark McGwire was 2-for-3 with a home run (his sixteenth), a double, and a walk.  Harold Baines was 1-for-1 with a home run, his fourteenth.  Jose Canseco was 1-for-5 with a home run, his twenty-ninth.

The game:  Henderson hit a home run in the first inning to give the Athletics a 1-0 lead.  They loaded the bases with two out in the inning but could do no further damage.  In the third Henderson struck again, making it 2-0.  Again Oakland threatened later in the inning, putting men on second and third with two out, but they again could not score.  Henderson hit yet another home run in the fifth, making the score 3-0.  In the sixth, McGwire hit a home run to increase the lead to 4-0.  In the seventh Canseco hit a home run to boost the lead to 5-0.

It looked bad, but the Twins came back in a big way in the eighth.  With one out Greg Gagne walked and Mack singled.  Chuck Knoblauch had an RBI double and Puckett delivered a two-run single, cutting the margin to 5-3.  Kent Hrbek walked and Davis had an RBI single to make it 5-4.  Harper then stepped up and hit a three-run homer.  It killed the rally, but it gave the Twins the lead at 7-5.

Baines hit a pinch-hit home run in the bottom of the eighth to cut the lead to 7-6.  The Twins got the run back in the ninth on Mack's home run.  The Athletics got a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth to bring the tying run to the plate, but Brook Jacoby flied out to end the game.

WP:  Steve Bedrosian (4-2).  LP:  Joe Klink (8-3).  S:  Aguilera (28).

Notes:  Mack was in left field in place of Dan Gladden, with Gene Larkin in right.  Mack also batted leadoff.  Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the eighth and stayed in the game in left field, with Mack moving to right.

Puckett raised his average back up to .331.  Harper went up to .315.  Terry Leach retired both batters he faced to make his ERA 2.82.  Aguilera lowered his ERA to 2.64.

Mack's batting average went up to .296, the highest it had been to this point in the season.

The Twins were able to keep Rickey Henderson completely off the base paths this game, as he went 0-for-5.

Oakland had ten hits.  Six of them were home runs, all solo home runs.  They also had two doubles and two singles.  They stranded eight runners and went 0-for-5 with men in scoring position.  I don't know what the record is for having all of your runs come on solo homers (which don't hurt you), but I would have to think that six is at least in the ball park, so to speak.

David West started for the Twins.  He pitched well other than the home runs, but his line is 5.1 innings, four runs, seven hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.  The Athletics starter was Joe Slusarski.  He pitched well for seven innings, but unfortunately for him he also started the eighth.  That makes his line 7.1 innings, four runs, nine hits, one walk, one strikeout.

This was Slusarski's rookie season.  He's another guy who got chance after chance despite not doing anything.  In 1991 he made 19 starts and went 5-7, 5.27, 1.58 WHIP.  In 1992 he made 14 starts and went 5-5, 5.45, 1.47 WHIP.  He made only two appearances in 1993 and none in 1994.  He was with Milwaukee in 1995 for 12 appearances out of the bullpen and went 1-1, 5.40, 1.80 WHIP.  He next appeared in the majors in 1991 with Houston for 3 games.  In 2000 he had his best major league season, going 2-7, 4.21, 1.33 WHIP in 54 relief outings.  In 2001 he made 12 appearances for Houston and Atlanta, going 0-1, 9.00, 1.81 WHIP.  Add it all together and he was 13-21, 5.18, 1.53 WHIP.  He appeared in 118 games, 34 starts.  His AAA numbers are 34-36, 4.12, 1.36 WHIP, not awful but not particularly impressive, either.  It's yet another case of how some guys get chance after chance without ever showing they deserve it, while other guys star in AAA and at most get one brief major league shot.

The White Sox lost to Baltimore 6-3, so the Twins gained a game.

Record:  The Twins were 62-43, in first place in the American League West, three games ahead of Chicago.

1991 Rewind: Game Three


Date:  Thursday, April 11.

Batting stars:  None.  The Twins had five hits, all singles, and no Twin had more than one.

Pitching star:  Scott Erickson pitched seven innings, giving up two runs (one earned) on eight hits and a walk and striking out three.

Opposition stars:  Joe Slusarski pitched seven shutout innings, giving up five hits and three walks and striking out two.  Dennis Eckersley pitched two perfect innings and struck out one.  Mike Gallego was 2-for-3 with a triple.  Jamie Quirk was 2-for-4.

The game:  The Athletics threatened in the second, as Willie Wilson reached on an error and Quirk singled him to third, but a strikeout and a ground out ended the threat.  The Twins mounted a small threat in the fourth.  Randy Bush led off with a single but was erased on a double play.  With two out, Kent Hrbek singled and Chili Davis walked, but Mike Pagliarulo lined out to end the inning.

Oakland broke through in the fourth, scoring when Mark McGwire doubled, went to third on a ground out, and scored on a passed ball.  They got singles from Gallego and Ernie Riles in the fifth, but could not add to the lead.  The Twins had their biggest threat in the seventh.  Davis led off with a walk, went to second on a ground out, and reached third with two out on a wild pitch.  Junior Ortiz then walked, but Al Newman hit back to the pitcher for the third out.

The Athletics got insurance runs in the eighth and ninth.  Quirk led off the eighth with a single and scored on Gallego's triple.  In the ninth, Jose Canseco walked and scored from first on a Harold Baines double.  The Twins did not get a baserunner after the seventh.

WP:  Slusarski (1-0).  LP:  Erickson (0-1).  S:  Eckersley (1).

Notes:  Bush was in left, replacing Dan Gladden.  Yes, it was a day game.  Gene Larkin was in right, replacing Shane Mack, with Kirby Puckett playing center.  Gladden pinch-ran for Larkin in the fifth and took over in left, with Bush moving to right.  Larkin was apparently injured running the bases, as he would not play again until April 20.

Ortiz was behind the plate in place of Brian Harper.  Newman was at short in place of Greg Gagne.  In addition to this being a day game, TK always liked to get his bench players into a game within the first few days of the start of the season, which makes good sense to me.

Davis was 0-for-2 with two walks, making his average 333.  Newman was 1-for-3 and so was also batting .333.

Rickey Henderson was caught stealing in the third inning.  For the series he was 1-for-3 in stealing bases.

It has also been many a year since I thought about Joe Slusarski.  This was his major league debut, and A's fans must have thought they really had something.  They didn't.   He pitched well through April, but he finished 5-7, 5.27, 1.58 WHIP.  It was the only year in which he pitched more than a hundred innings or made more than fifteen starts.  He started 1992 in the Oakland rotation but was sent back to the minors in late June and would never be part of a major league rotation again.  He bounced around, playing in the organizations of Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, California, and Milwaukee again, appearing in two major league games for Oakland in 1993 and twelve for Philadelphia in 1995.  He was moved to the bullpen in 1995 and stayed there the rest of his career.  He played in Taiwan in 1997, then came back to sign with Houston for 1998.  He got three games with the Astros in 1999 and was actually in the majors for most of 2000, appearing in 54 games and going 2-7, 4.21, 1.33 WHIP.  He would appear in twelve more games in 2001, eight for Houston and four for Atlanta, then his playing career was over. He was a minor league pitching coach from 2003-2009.  For his career, he was 13-21, 5.18, 1.53 WHIP in 305.2 innings (118 games, 34 starts).  It sounds like he was often trying to pitch through injuries, and that it worked about as well as it usually does.  At last report, Joe Slusarski was living in Austin, Texas and working in contract sales.

Record:  The Twins were 1-2, in fifth place in the American League West, two games behind California.