Dan Quisenberry

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Dan Quisenberry
Dan Quisenberry 1986.jpg
Quisenberry in 1986.
Pitcher
Born: (1953-02-07)February 7, 1953
Santa Monica, California
Died: September 30, 1998(1998-09-30) (aged 45)
Leawood, Kansas
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 8, 1979, for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
April 23, 1990, for the San Francisco Giants
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 56–46
Earned run average 2.76
Strikeouts 379
Saves 244
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Daniel Raymond "Quiz" Quisenberry[1] (/ˈkwɪzənbɛri/; February 7, 1953 – September 30, 1998) was an American right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Kansas City Royals.[2][3] Notable for his submarine-style pitching delivery and his humorous quotes, he led the American League in saves a record five times (1980, 1982–85), and retired in 1990 with 244 saves, then the 6th-highest total in major league history.

Career[edit]

Quisenberry pitching for the Kansas City Royals

Born in Santa Monica, California, Quisenberry played baseball at Costa Mesa High School and graduated in 1971. He then went to Orange Coast College and then onto Division III University of La Verne in La Verne, California. He went on to sign with the Royals as an amateur free agent in 1975, and was considered a marginal prospect. At the age of 26, he made his major league debut with the Kansas City Royals in 1979 on July 8, against the Chicago White Sox, pitching 2⅔ scoreless innings, and surrendering just two hits and no walks. Quisenberry appeared in 32 games and posted a 3–2 record with a 3.15 earned run average and five saves.

During spring training the following year, manager Jim Frey suggested that Quisenberry learn the submarine-style delivery from Pittsburgh Pirates reliever Kent Tekulve to confuse hitters, because he could not overpower them with a fastball. From 1980 to 1985, Quisenberry was the American League's dominant closer leading the American League in saves all six season (with the exception of the strike-shortened 1981 season). During that same span, he posted an ERA of 2.45 and won the Rolaids Relief Man Award each season. He also finished in the top five in voting for the Cy Young Award during this span.

Quisenberry was hardly the prototypical closing pitcher. Unlike many of his peers, he didn't possess a hard fastball, and thus had to rely on pinpoint control, guile, and deception, which was augmented by the submarine delivery he first used in 1980. His primary pitch was a sinking fastball, which causes hitters to hit the ball on the ground rather than in the air. He also possessed a curveball in his repertoire, as well as a changeup he developed in 1984.[4] and an occasional knuckleball. Although Quisenberry was not a strikeout pitcher, he offset this deficiency by seldom walking batters or throwing wild pitches. His 45 saves in 1983 was briefly a single-season record (tied in 1984 by Bruce Sutter and broken in 1986 by Dave Righetti). Quisenberry was the first pitcher in major league history to save more than 40 games in a season twice in his career. He won a World Series with the Royals in 1985 and was the winning pitcher of Game 6, notorious for Don Denkinger's blown call at first base.

In 1983, the Royals signed Quisenberry to a lifetime contract, similar to the contract of his teammate, George Brett. However, a rocky start in 1988 led to Quisenberry's relegation to middle relief and mop-up duty. Shortly before the All-Star break, he was released by the Royals. Ten days later the St. Louis Cardinals, managed by ex-Royals manager Whitey Herzog, signed Quisenberry as a free agent. After pitching for a year and a half in St. Louis, Quisenberry signed to play with the San Francisco Giants in 1990. He tore his rotator cuff just five appearances into the 1990 season, and was faced with serious injury for the first time in his career. At the age of 37, after 12 seasons in the majors, Quisenberry retired.

In the 1996 Hall of Fame Balloting by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Quisenberry received 18 votes, just under the 24 vote (5%) cut-off to remain on the ballot. In the same election, Bruce Sutter – a pitcher with remarkably similar overall statistics – received 137 votes; he went on to be elected to the Hall of Fame in 2006.

In 2013, Quisenberry's Hall of Fame candidacy was given a second look by the HOF Expansion Era Committee, which reexamines the credentials of overlooked players from 1973–present. He fell short of the 12 votes needed from the 16-member panel, while former MLB managers Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox were voted into Cooperstown for the 2014 class. Quisenberry will have another chance with the voters when the Expansion Era Committee next convenes in 2016.[5]

Along with Sutter and Rich Gossage, he was at the forefront of the transition from relief ace to the La Russian ninth inning closer. Quisenberry's Adjusted ERA+ of 146 ties him for eighth all-time among qualifying pitchers.[6] His career rate of walks per 9 innings pitched is the lowest since 1926.[7] In addition, Quisenberry accrued the 22nd most all-time Cy Young shares.[8]

Post-career[edit]

After his baseball career ended, Quisenberry embarked on a second career as a poet, publishing three poems in 1995 and a book of poetry titled On Days Like This in 1998. He also emerged as one of baseball's most quotable characters, with bon mots like "I found a delivery in my flaw" and "I've seen the future and it's much like the present, only longer."[9]. At least the latter quote, however, had been published verbatim nearly two decades prior, in the satirical collection of poems "The Profit", written under the pseudonym Kehlog Albran. [10]

In January 1998, Quisenberry was diagnosed with grade IV astrocytoma, a highly malignant form of brain cancer.[11] He died at age 45 in September 1998 in Leawood, Kansas.[3]

Records[edit]

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.familytreelegends.com/records/calbirths?c=search&first=Dan&last=Quisenberry&spelling=Exact&4_year=&4_month=0&4_day=0&5=Male&7=&SubmitSearch.x=68&SubmitSearch.y=8
  2. ^ Tucker, Doug (October 1, 1998). "Ex=Royal Quisenberry dead at age 45". Lawrence Journal-World. (Kansas). Associated Press. p. 1C. 
  3. ^ a b "Ex-hurler Quiz dies of cancer". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). October 1, 1998. p. C6. 
  4. ^ The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers: An Historical Compendium of Pitching, Pitchers, and Pitches. Bill James and Rob Neyer. 2004.
  5. ^ "Dan Quisenberry not picked by Hall of Fame committee",The Kansas City Star.
  6. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Adjusted ERA+", Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed July 25, 2007.
  7. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Bases on Balls/9IP", Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed July 25, 2007.
  8. ^ "MVP and CY Young Award Share Leaders", Baseball-Reference.com. Accessed July 25, 2007.
  9. ^ Baseball Almanac quotes
  10. ^ poem The Profit
  11. ^ Henderson, Heather (1999). "Dan Quisenberry – In His Own Words". The 1999 Big Bad Baseball Annual. Retrieved June 24, 2013. 
  12. ^ https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/h/hollagr01.shtml

External links[edit]