Monday, October 17, 2016

One-Card Wonder Pt. 35: Paul Byrd

Paul Byrd was a lot of fun to watch.  His wind-up was a throwback to a bygone era.  Byrd would swing both arms behind his back while taking a step back then bringing the glove and ball together in front of himself and lift his front leg before throwing a pitch.  Byrd pitched for seven teams over a 14 year career and was an All Star while pitching for the Phillies in 1999 when he won 15 games.  He won 17 games for the Royals in 2002.  It was that season that he developed his unique wind-up.

Byrd spent parts of two seasons with the Red Sox.  He was picked up in a trade with the Indians in August of 2008.  He had been with the Indians and pitched a game against the Red Sox in the 2007 ALCS.  Despite pitching well, he lost the game.  Boston sent minor leaguer Mickey Hall to the Indians to complete the trade.  Byrd made it into just eight games down the stretch for the Red Sox, starting all of them and finishing with a record of 4-2 with a 4.78 ERA.  He struck out 26 and walked 10 in 49 innings.  He pitched one game in the ALCS against the Rays that season, giving up four runs in 3.1 innings.  After the season he was granted free agency.

But the 38-year-old Byrd did not hook on with another team.  So, in August of 2009, Byrd signed a contract to return to the Red Sox.  Byrd was 1-3 with a 5.82 ERA in seven games, starting six of them.  He struck out 11 and walked 11 in 34 innings.  He did not appear in the Majors after 2009.

Byrd's only card with the Red Sox is from the 2009 Topps Heritage High Numbers.  It is not surprising that he did not appear much in card sets.  He did after all only appear in 15 games over two seasons.  But at least he appeared once.  That is better than a lot of other players can say.

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