Monday, March 14, 2016

One-Year Wonder Pt. 23: David Cone

Every once in awhile, the Red Sox pick up a veteran player for a year, or just the stretch run that was a star at one point that I become fascinated with. It's a player that is basically only a role player at that point in their career, but may show flashes of their old brilliance. It's so unusual to see them as a member of the Red Sox, that I try to find as many of their cards as possible. This series will be about some of those players.
David Cone was one of those rare players that left the Yankees to join the Red Sox.  Of course, he was well past his prime when he did so, at 38 years of age and coming off of a season in which he was 4-14 with a 6.91 ERA.  Cone had previously been one of the top pitchers in the game, back when he was with the Mets, Royals, and Yankees.  He was a two-time 20 game winner and lead the league in strikeouts two years in a row while with the Mets.  He won the 1994 AL Cy Young Award while with the Royals in 1994, and he was an All Star five times.  He also threw a perfect game while with the Yankees.

But, as previously mentioned, Cone was 38 years old when he signed as a free agent with the Red Sox and coming off of the worst season of his career.  All that is not to mention the fact that he was hurt and would not make his debut in 2001 until mid-May.  But Dan Duquette loved reclamation projects, especially pitchers.  He had previously signed Tim Wakefield and Bret Saberhagen, who worked out, and Ramon Martinez and Steve Avery, who didn't, on the cheap.  He was looking to add David Cone to that list.

Unfortunately, this was one much more like Ramon Martinez than Bret Saberhagen.  Boston was pretty desperate for pitching help, especially after Pedro Martinez went down with an injury, leaving the rotation in the somewhat shaky hands of Hideo Nomo and Frank Castillo.  Cone went 9-7 with a 4.31 ERA and 115 strikeouts in 135.2 innings.  It was not a terrible season for Cone, but it certainly was not what the front office had in mind when bringing Cone in.  

Cone only lasted the one season in Boston.  He did not play in 2002 due to injuries.  He returned in 2003 for four games early in the season back with the Mets before retiring for good due to an ongoing hip problem.  


  1. I love "short-term stop" cards like this one. It might be jarring to see Cone on the Red Sox or Piazza on the Marlins or Kerry Wood on the Yankees; but, it sure does catch your eye!

  2. I agree. That's why I love doing posts like this. Hideo Nomo and Rickey Henderson are my favorite one-year wonder guys for the Red Sox.

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