Happy Birthday Mike Torrez

(Frank) Let’s talk baseball. (Deb) Yes that’s cheerier. I love baseball. (Frank) Well I got a grandson now that’s playing baseball and yes he’s pretty good. In fact their club team last year won every tournament they were in. (Deb) We have a fine tradition of baseball players in Kansas. (Frank) Yes we do. (Deb) A very long distinguished list. (Frank) Well and we have done the story about Evers to Chance to…and of course Evers is from Kansas. Mickey Mantle who grew up around Baxter Springs and played there and I mean it just kind of goes on and on. (Deb) Just goes on and on. (Frank) Because a lot of major leagues for a lot of years came to Kansas to scout a lot of the teams, sandlot teams and American Legion and they still kind of do. Anyway, one of the people we are going to talk about is a guy that played in some World Series, won some games in the World Series, was a pitcher and I’m glad I never faced him. Mike Torrez. (Deb) Amazing, amazing talent and we are going to wish Mike Torrez a happy 70th birthday this year. Great story, Frank. (Frank) Topekan Mike Torrez was inducted into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame ten years ago and the legendary player will turn 70 in August. His career began when he signed as an amateur free agent with the St. Louis Cardinals in September 1964. He made his debut at the age of 20 with the Cardinals. Mike seldom pitched in his first two seasons. He had a breakthrough season in 1969, going 10–4. He was traded to the Expos mid-season on June 15, 1971 for Bob Reynolds. In 1972 Mike went 16–12 with a 3.33 ERA in 240 innings. In the 1974 season, Mike logged a 15–8 win-loss record in 186 innings. Mike was acquired by the Baltimore Orioles from the Expos in 1974. In 1975 he had perhaps his best season of his career with the Orioles, going 20-9 with a 3.06 Earned Run Average in 270.2 innings pitched. However he also led the league in walks with 133. Mike was traded along with Don Baylor and Paul Mitchell by the Orioles to the Oakland Athletics for Reggie Jackson, Ken Holtzman and pitcher Bill Van Bommel in 1976. He was traded to Yankees early the next season. Mike won two games in the 1977 World Series for the World Champion Yankees, both of them complete game victories, and won 15 or more games in 6 consecutive seasons; he caught Lee Lacy’s pop-up bunt for the final out of that 1977 Series. After the Yankees 1977 championship season, he signed as a free agent with the Boston Red Sox. He won 16 games during the 1978 season. In the 1978 American League East tie-breaker game, he allowed a three-run home run to light-hitting Yankee shortstop, Bucky Dent, in the late innings of the division-deciding 163rd game. On January 13, 1983, the Red Sox traded Mike to the New York Mets. The Mets sent minor leaguer Mike Davis to the Red Sox to complete the trade. Released by the Mets in 1984, Torrez signed with the Athletics in July and they released him in August. As an actor, he appeared in Boston Red Sox: 100 Years of Baseball History, Jungle Assault and 1977 World Series.

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