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Countdown To Pitchers And Catchers: #12 Don Mossi

| On 08, Feb 2012

 

Today continues our countdown to the start of Indians pitchers and catchers reporting to Goodyear, Arizona on February 20. We’ll count down the days, profiling a former Indian who wore the corresponding number. Some players will be memorable, others just our favorites and some, the only one we could find who wore that number. Today, we chronicle the career of Don Mossi.

By Mike Brandyberry

In a tale of two careers sewn into one, Don Mossi shined as a relief pitcher with the Indians before becoming a quality starter in the Motor City.

Mossi was signed by the Cleveland Indians as an amateur free agent prior to the 1949 season. The left-handed pitcher progressed through the Tribe’s minor league system before making the major league club out of Spring Training in 1954. Mossi moved into the Tribe’s bullpen, becoming the left handed counterpart to young right hander, Ray Narleski.

He, along with Narleski, formed the back end of the Indians’ bullpen beginning in 1954. Narleski normally closed, with Mossi setting him up. In 1954, Mossi had a 1.94 ERA, then a 2.42 ERA in 1955. The tandem helped the Tribe win a record 111 games in 1954, before being upset by the New York Giants in the World Series.

After a successful run in the Tribe bullpen, Mossi was traded with Narleski and Ossie Alvarez to Detroit for Al Cicotte and Billy Martin after the 1958 season. While Narleski developed arm problems and flamed out of baseball, Mossi immediately became a starting pitcher in the Tiger rotation. He won 17 games in 1959, 15 more in 1961 and 11 in 1962.

Mossi was jettisoned to the Chicago White Sox in 1964 and finished his career in Kansas City in 1965. His career statistics are mixed since he spent half of his career at the back end of the bullpen and the other half in the starting rotation, but he retired with 101-80 record, 3.43 ERA and 50 saves.

Photo: Topps Baseball Cards