Friday, October 29, 2010

Underrated Seasons: Danny Darwin 1993

I remember this season very well. It was one of the first seasons I was really paying attention. I had been collecting cards for a couple of years, but I did not start watching games frequently until about 1993. Even at the young age of 12, and all of the naivety that goes along with it, I could tell that Danny Darwin was having a great year, and I was perplexed as to why no one was talking about it.

The Red Sox had high hopes for 1993, they had completely overhauled their roster, bringing in new players at second base, right field,and designated hitter, and turning first base, shortstop, and third base over to younger players. The pitching rotation was the team's one strength in 1992, with Roger Clemens and Frank Viola taking up the first two spots. However, in 1993 Clemens slumped and Viola was injured a lot. So, the Red Sox rotation turned to two somewhat surprising players, rookie Aaron Sele and veteran Danny Darwin.

Darwin had been around for years and won the NL ERA title in 1990. He did not exactly come out of nowhere, but in 1993 he was 37 years old and had been a long man and spot starter for Boston in 1992 and was injured much of 1991. Certainly there were not a lot of expectations for him, which is what makes his 1993 season so remarkable.

Darwin lead the team in wins in 1993, with 15. He also lost 11 games, but Boston was not a good team that year. Darwin's ERA was 3.26 and his WHIP was 1.068 to lead the league. In 229.1 innings, he gave up only 196 hits and 49 walks, he simply did not allow very many baserunners. He struck out 130. Darwin's WAR that year was 5.1 to lead the team.

I remember a game he pitched against the White Sox that season that was on ESPN. I think it may have been the first game I watched in completion. Darwin was unhittable. He did not give up a hit until the seventh or eighth inning when he allowed a triple to Dan Pasqua that bounced off the center field wall. Even that ball would have been caught if Billy Hatcher had been just a couple of inches taller. He did not give up another hit the rest of the night.

Yet, Darwin was not an All Star that year, and he really did not get much recognition at all. In 1994 he was hurt again and only pitched in 13 games. He left as a free agent after the season.

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