Érik Bédard

Last updated
Érik Bédard
Erik Bedard on July 31, 2013.jpg
Bedard with the Houston Astros
Born: (1979-03-05) March 5, 1979 (age 39)
Navan, Ontario, Canada
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
April 17, 2002, for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
July 12, 2014, for the Tampa Bay Rays
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 71–82
Earned run average 3.99
Strikeouts 1,246

Érik Joseph Bédard (pronounced [eʁik beˈdɑʁ] baydar; born March 5, 1979) is a Canadian former professional baseball pitcher. He pitched in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros and Tampa Bay Rays. With Baltimore, Bédard was the staff ace, setting the franchise single-season strikeouts per nine innings record at 10.93 in 2007. [1]

Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.

Pitcher the player responsible for throwing ("pitching") the ball to the batters in a game of baseball or softball

In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.


Early years

Bédard was born on March 5, 1979 in Navan, Ontario, a suburb of Ottawa. A Franco-Ontarian, Bédard began his baseball career in the Orleans Little League and the Ontario Baseball Association. He was a pitcher on the 1992 Orleans Junior Red Sox team which beat Glace Bay in the 1992 Canadian Championship. [2] Bédard did not play high school baseball, which is common in Canada due to the short season.

Navan, Ontario neighbourhood of Ottawa

Navan is a rural community in Cumberland Ward in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. It is located southeast of the suburban community of Orleans. Before its amalgamation with the city in 2001, Navan was within the City of Cumberland. It was named after the town of Navan in Ireland.

Ottawa Federal capital city in Ontario, Canada

Ottawa is the capital city of Canada. It stands on the south bank of the Ottawa River in the eastern portion of southern Ontario. Ottawa borders Gatineau, Quebec; the two form the core of the Ottawa–Gatineau census metropolitan area (CMA) and the National Capital Region (NCR). As of 2016, Ottawa had a city population of 964,743 and a metropolitan population of 1,323,783 making it the fourth-largest city and the fifth-largest CMA in Canada.

Franco-Ontarian ethnic group

Franco-Ontarians are French Canadian or francophone residents of the Canadian province of Ontario. They are sometimes known as "Ontarois".

Although 5 ft 4 in (1.63 m) and 120 pounds (54 kg) as a senior, he grew seven inches and gained 30 pounds (14 kg) during the summer between graduating from high school and beginning college. He accompanied a friend to a tryout at Norwalk Community College in Norwalk, Connecticut, and made the baseball team as a walk-on. [3]

Norwalk Community College

Norwalk Community College (NCC), formerly known as Norwalk State Technical College and Norwalk Community-Technical College, is a public community college in Norwalk, Connecticut. It is the second-largest of the twelve colleges in the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities system (CSCU) system. The school, which has an open admissions policy, offers 45 associate degree and 26 certificate programs.

Norwalk, Connecticut City in Connecticut, United States

Norwalk is a U.S. city located in southwestern Connecticut, in southern Fairfield County, on the northern shore of Long Island Sound. Norwalk is included statistically within both the New York metropolitan area as well as the Bridgeport metropolitan area.

While in college, he added 10 miles per hour to his fastball, gained another 30 pounds (14 kg), took the "lowest level" non-credit English language course to enhance his knowledge of the language, and became a junior college All-American. [4]

Fastball type of pitch in baseball

The fastball is the most common type of pitch thrown by pitchers in baseball and softball. "Power pitchers," such as former American major leaguers Nolan Ryan and Roger Clemens, rely on speed to prevent the ball from being hit, and have thrown fastballs at speeds of 95–105 miles per hour (153–169 km/h) (officially) and up to 108.1 miles per hour (174.0 km/h) (unofficially). Pitchers who throw more slowly can put movement on the ball, or throw it on the outside of home plate where batters can't easily reach it.

Professional career

Baltimore Orioles

As a left-handed starter, Bédard was drafted by the Baltimore Orioles in the sixth round of the 1999 Major League Baseball draft. [5] He made his professional debut with the Gulf Coast Orioles, where he allowed only one earned run in 20.1 innings for an 0.44 ERA, 4th best among all minor league pitchers that year. [6] He spent the 2000 season with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the South Atlantic League, where he was 9–4 with a 3.57 ERA in 29 games (22 starts). [7] In 2001 with the Frederick Keys of the Carolina League, he led all Orioles farmhands with a 2.15 ERA [6] and compiled a 9–2 record in 17 starts. [7]

Baltimore Orioles Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Baltimore, Maryland, United States

The Baltimore Orioles are an American professional baseball team based in Baltimore, Maryland. As one of the American League's eight charter teams in 1901, this particular franchise spent its first year as a major league club in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, as the Milwaukee Brewers before moving to St. Louis, Missouri, to become the St. Louis Browns. After 52 often-beleaguered years in St. Louis, the franchise was purchased in November 1953 by a syndicate of Baltimore business and civic interests led by attorney/civic activist Clarence Miles and Mayor Thomas D'Alesandro Jr. The team's current majority owner is lawyer Peter Angelos.

The 1999 First-Year Player Draft, Major League Baseball's annual amateur draft of high school and college baseball players, was held on June 2 and 3, 1999. A total of 1474 players were drafted over the course of 50 rounds.

The Delmarva Shorebirds are a Minor League Baseball team based in Salisbury, Maryland. They are members of the Single-A South Atlantic League and affiliates of the Baltimore Orioles. The Shorebirds play at Arthur W. Perdue Stadium.

Bédard made his Major League debut on April 17, 2002, for the Orioles against the New York Yankees. He entered the game in the bottom of the eighth and allowed a single to the first batter he faced (Jason Giambi) before retiring Jorge Posada on a pop fly and striking out Robin Ventura swinging before he was replaced by another reliever. [8] He also appeared in a game on April 21 against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and allowed an RBI single to the only batter he faced (Ben Grieve). [9] He was optioned to the Double-A Bowie Baysox two days later [6] and pitched in 13 games for them, including 12 starts, with a 6–3 record and a 1.97 ERA. [7] He was named the Eastern League's best pitching prospect by Baseball America . [6] However, Bédard left his start on June 26 with pain in his left elbow and would undergo "Tommy John" ligament replacement surgery on September 10. [6]

New York Yankees Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in the Bronx, New York, United States

The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The Yankees compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. They are one of two major league clubs based in New York City, the other being the New York Mets of the National League. In the 1901 season, the club began play in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders were officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.

Jason Giambi professional baseball player

Jason Gilbert Giambi is an American former professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter. In his Major League Baseball (MLB) career, which began in 1995, he played for the Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees, Colorado Rockies and Cleveland Indians.

Jorge Posada professional baseball player

Jorge Rafael Posada Villeta is a Puerto Rican former professional baseball catcher who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the New York Yankees. Posada produced strong offensive numbers for his position, recording a .273 batting average, 275 home runs, and 1,065 runs batted in (RBIs) during his career. A switch hitter, Posada was a five-time All-Star, won five Silver Slugger Awards, and was on the roster for four World Series championship teams.

Bédard spent most of the 2003 season on the disabled list rehabbing his elbow [6] and returned to make only six short starts in the minors late in the season. [7] He received an invitation to big-league spring training the next year and made the most of his opportunity, beating out other pitchers for the fifth spot in the starting rotation. [6] In 2004, he posted a 4.59 ERA in 137⅓ innings of work. His strikeout numbers were 7.93 K/9, and he had 71 walks allowed. [5] Bédard was criticized for having a high pitch count (19.5 pitches/inning), forcing him to frequently make early exits from ballgames, and he was criticized for lacking a third type of pitch.[ citation needed ]

Bedard pitching for the Baltimore Orioles in 2006 091306 034 Erik Bedard.jpg
Bédard pitching for the Baltimore Orioles in 2006

Under the tutelage of pitching coach Ray Miller, who rejoined the Orioles in the middle of the 2004 season, Bédard refined his control of the changeup (his third pitch) to go along with his 91–93 mph fastball and slurve.[ citation needed ] In the beginning of 2005, he posted a 2.08 ERA, but after a sprained knee sidelined him for two months, he posted a 5.44 ERA. [5] He had one of his best statistical years in 2006, going 15–11 in 33 starts and posting a 3.76 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He also pitched a total of 196.1 innings, his highest in any season. [5]

Bédard was named the Orioles' 2007 Opening Day starting pitcher. On May 20, he recorded his first major league hit, a single up the middle in the 5th against the Washington Nationals. In his next at-bat, he looped an RBI single over shortstop, going 2–2 with a sacrifice in the game. On July 7, Bédard struck out 15 Texas Rangers, matching the Orioles franchise record set by Mike Mussina. In the same game, he faced the minimum number of batters (27), as the only two batters who reached base were later out on double plays. His 15 strikeouts also set the record for the most in a game by a Canadian. His performance throughout the month earned him the American League Pitcher of the month award for July 2007. [6]

Although he played for a losing team, Bédard's individual performance put him among those shortlisted to contend for the American League Cy Young Award. [10] Then-teammate Kevin Millar stated that Bédard "probably has the best curveball in baseball." [11] Bédard broke the franchise single-season strikeout record on August 26. The previous record was held by Mike Mussina, who had 218 in 1997. [6]

The results of an MRI on September 4 confirmed that Bédard suffered a strained oblique in his previous start on August 26. [12] Because the Orioles were eliminated from playoff contention later that week, manager Dave Trembley decided to shut down Bédard for the remainder of the season on September 9, prematurely ending his season by placing him on the 60-day disabled list. [13]

Bédard finished the season with a 13–5 record, posting a 3.16 ERA with 221 strikeouts. He was eligible for arbitration from the Orioles during the 2007–2008 offseason. [14]

Seattle Mariners

On February 8, 2008, Bédard was traded to the Seattle Mariners in a 5-for-1 deal sending outfielder Adam Jones and pitchers George Sherrill, Tony Butler, Chris Tillman and Kam Mickolio to the Orioles. [15] On February 13, Mariners manager John McLaren announced that he would be their Opening Day starter. [16] Bédard then signed a one-year, 7-million dollar deal with the Mariners on February 15, avoiding salary arbitration. [17] He was 6–4 with a 3.67 ERA in 15 starts for the Mariners in 2008 [5] but on July 10, 2008, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with stiffness in his left shoulder. [18] He missed the rest of the season and underwent arthroscopic surgery on the shoulder on September 26. [6]

Bédard only played the first four months of the 2009 season before landing on the disabled list again due to a torn labrum in his pitching shoulder. He finished with a 5–3 record and a 2.82 ERA. [19]

On February 6, 2010, Bédard re-signed with the Mariners to a one-year contract with a mutual option for 2011. [20] At the start of the 2010 season, there was hope he would return to the majors as soon as May or June 2010. Since then, he suffered multiple setbacks while rehabbing his shoulder and did not pitch in the majors in 2010, though he did appear in three minor league rehab games. [6] [7]

After the 2010 season, the Mariners declined their 2011 option on Bédard's contract and re-signed him to an incentive laden non-guaranteed contract. [21] He appeared in 16 games for the Mariners to start the 2011 season, with a 4–7 record and a 3.45 ERA. [5]

Boston Red Sox

Bedard during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 Erik Bedard.jpg
Bédard during his tenure with the Boston Red Sox in 2011

On July 31, 2011, Bédard and minor league pitcher Josh Fields were traded to the Boston Red Sox for minor league outfielders Trayvon Robinson and Chih-Hsien Chiang as part of a three team deal that also involved minor leaguers Tim Federowicz, Stephen Fife and Juan Rodriguez going to the Los Angeles Dodgers. [22]

Bedard made eight starts for the Red Sox in August and September. He never went more than six innings, and had one win, two losses and a 4.03 ERA. [23] [24]

Pittsburgh Pirates

Bedard with the Pittsburgh Pirates Erik Bedard on June 14, 2012.jpg
Bédard with the Pittsburgh Pirates

On December 7, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates signed Bédard to a one-year, $4.5 million contract. [25] He was their 2012 Opening Day Starter. [26]

Bedard had 7 wins, 14 losses and an ERA of 5.02 in 24 starts, and was released on August 28. [27]

Houston Astros

After their move to the American League, the Houston Astros signed Bédard to a minor-league deal on January 21, 2013. [28] He recorded his first career save on opening day, March 31, 2013 with 3 1/3 innings of relief against rival Texas Rangers. On July 21, 2013, he pitched 6 and 1/3 innings of a no hitter when he asked to leave his no-hitter after 109 pitches. [29] In 32 appearances (26 starts) for the Astros, he was 4–12 with a 4.59 ERA. [5]

Tampa Bay Rays

On February 17, 2014, he signed a minor league contract with the Tampa Bay Rays. [30] He was released by the Rays on March 25 and became a free agent, exercising an "opt-out" clause in his contract after not making the starting rotation at the end of spring training. [31] A few days later, he changed his mind and agreed to report to the Durham Bulls, the AAA minor league affiliate of the Rays. [32]

On April 11 the Rays announced that Bédard had been called up from Durham to the major league team. [33] He pitched for the Rays until he was designated for assignment on July 28, 2014. [34] Bédard was released on August 3. [35] In 17 appearances (15 starts), he was 4–6 with a 4.76 ERA. [5]

Los Angeles Dodgers

On January 18, 2015, Bédard signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. [36] On March 23 the Dodgers announced that Bédard would miss four to six weeks after he strained his back during a spring training appearance, ending any chance he had to make the opening day roster. [37] After spending the start of the season in extended spring training rehabilitating his injury Bedard was assigned to the Class-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes on May 25. [38] He made three starts for the Quakes with a 1–1 record and 5.02 ERA [7] before announcing his retirement on June 11. [39]

See also

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  14. "2007 Arbitration Eligibles". Mlbcontracts.blogspot.com. Retrieved February 14, 2014.
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  30. Rays Baseball at Twitter.com
  31. ESPN, Tampa Bay Rays Release Veteran Erik Bedard, March 25, 2014
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  34. Matt Baker, Tampa Bay Times, Erik Bedard Designated for Assignment Archived August 9, 2014, at the Wayback Machine ., July 28, 2014
  35. @RaysProspects on Twitter.com, "Rays have officially released LHP Erik Bedard and RHP Juan Carlos Oviedo." August 3, 2014
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  38. "San Jose Giants: On Deck". MiLB.com. St. Petersburg, Florida. May 24, 2015. Nik Turley (0–0, ---) is slated to start on the mound for San Jose while the Quakes are expected to counter with former major leaguer Erik Bedard (0–0, ---).
  39. Hoornstra, J.P. (June 11, 2015). "Pitcher Erik Bedard halts comeback with Dodgers, announces retirement". Los Angeles Daily News. Retrieved June 11, 2015.
Preceded by
J. J. Putz
American League Pitcher of the Month
July 2007
Succeeded by
Andy Pettitte
Preceded by
Johan Santana
AL hits per nine innings leader
Succeeded by
Daisuke Matsuzaka