When you think of great A’s pitchers of the last five years you may think of Mike Oquist, Jimmy Haynes, Mike Fetters, or maybe even Tim Hudson. Yet, amongst the recent Amazing A’s, one pitcher has, somehow, remained unappreciated. No, not Todd Van Poppel…rather, the recently departed, Gil Heredia.
Gil learns to dance…Steve Martin Style!
In an era when a lazy bum like Barry Bonds can hit 73 homers, you have got to respect a player that can manage a career ERA of 4.48. Gil won 28 games for the A’s in 1999 and 2000 combined, second only to All-Star Tim Hudson…which makes you wonder, why was Gil not selected to the All-Star game? The answer to such a seemingly complex question can be summed up in two words: Joe Torre. Gil was, dare I say…masterful when he faced Torre’s Yankees, losing only one game from 1998-2000 against them (2-1 overall record). As a result of Gil’s success against the Yankees, Torre was reluctant to select him to the All-Star team in 1999 or 2000.
Former A’s closer Jason Isringhausen blew nine saves in 2001 and now makes 7 million a year with the St. Louis Cardinals. Gil Heredia, on the other hand, blew zero saves in three years with the A’s, a truly astonishing feat. Yet, unlike Isringhausen, Gil does not demand the big bucks. In fact, he will probably accept a modest sub-million dollar paycheck from another team sometime during this off-season.
Gil had somewhat of a dissappointing 2001 season, winning “only” seven games. Gil never relied on a devastating fastball like many pitchers. Rather, he used his finesse and grace to dominate his opponents. Unfortunately, the finesse meter slipped from a 10 to an 8 during the 2001 season, causing Gil to be a little less effective. As a result, the A’s will not be bringing Gil back for the 2002 season as they make way for younger “better” talent…an obvious Schott and Hoffman conspiracy to destroy the franchise.
Gil Heredia, this is your life…we’ll miss ya buddy.