Sunday, July 27, 2008
#552 Mark Thurmond
Why this card is awesome: Because of the interesting challenge trade mentioned on the back. Firstly, that link is quite perplexing, as Rob Neyer discusses a trade that I don't think actually ended up happening. Weird. Anyway, I guess the Tigers got the better end of the trade, as Thurmond had one decent year with them before they traded him away for Ray Knight. The 1988 season with Detroit was Knight's last and worst season. But the Padres did even worse with LaPoint, getting just half a season of fairly disappointing pitching before releasing him less than 6 months after the trade.
Cool stat: Thurmond has the lowest strikeout rate in the last 25 years for pitchers with at least 800 IP. Well, if you click that link, you'll see that's not quite true. Tommy John is ahead of him. But that covers just the tail end of John's career (those kinds of searches on B-R ignore stats from outside the specified date range.)
Thurmond seems to be a guy who fits Bill James' theory on strikeouts, which is that guys with below-average K rates (and Thurmond's was way below average) cannot sustain success for long periods in MLB. It makes one wonder about the Yankees' Chien Ming Wang.