Countdown To Pitchers And Catchers: #47 Jesse Orosco

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 long career of relief pitcher, Jesse Orosco.

By Mike Brandyberry

There are guys that play for a long time, there are guys that play for a really long time and then there is Jesse Orosco. The left-handed relief pitcher had a 24-year career, spanning from before my birth until after my college graduation.

Orosco debuted with the New York Mets on April 5, 1979. The lefty made two of his four career starts that season, but settled in as a reliever in the Mets pen. His best seasons as a professional were 1983 and 1984, earning appearances in the All-Star Game each year. In 1983, Orosco was 13-7, with a 1.47 ERA in 110 innings, finishing third in the Cy Young voting without ever making a start. His crowning moment as a professional was clinching the 1986 World Series for the Mets against the Boston Red Sox.

After leaving the Mets in 1987 and pitching a season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Orosco signed with the Cleveland Indians. He was 3-4, with a 2.08 ERA in 78 innings in 1989, his best season as a member of the Tribe bullpen. After the 1990 and 1991 seasons left Orosco with ERAs over 3.50, the Tribe parted ways with the 34-year old pitcher, assuming his career was near the end.

He would go on to pitch 12 more seasons in the big leagues.

Orosco left Cleveland for stints in Milwaukee, Baltimore, St. Louis, the Dodgers again, San Diego, the Yankees and finally Minnesota. Orosco retired from baseball after the 2003 season. Not a bad run for a guy who began his career when Jimmy Carter was President.

Orosco left baseball with a 87-80 career record and 3.16 ERA. His 1,252 appearances are the most all time for a pitcher in Major League Baseball history. Mariano Rivera, the current active leader, would have to make over 200 more appearances to rival him.

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