Mario Soto (baseball)

Last updated

Mario Soto
Pitcher
Born: (1956-07-12) July 12, 1956 (age 62)
Baní, Dominican Republic
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
July 21, 1977, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
June 16, 1988, for the Cincinnati Reds
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 100–92
Earned run average 3.47
Strikeouts 1,449
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Mario Melvin Soto (born July 12, 1956) is a former Major League pitcher, mostly as a starter, for the Cincinnati Reds from 1977 through 1988. He currently works in the Reds' front office.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, and 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.

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.

Starting pitcher baseball or softball pitcher who throws the first pitch for their team in a game

In baseball, a starting pitcher or starter is the first pitcher in the game for each team. A pitcher is credited with a game started if they throw the first pitch to the opponent's first batter of a game. Starting pitchers are expected to pitch for a significant portion of the game, although their ability to do this depends on many factors, including effectiveness, stamina, health, and strategy.

Contents

Career

For most of his career, the Dominican right-hander was essentially a two-pitch pitcher. He possessed a hard fastball (clocked in the low-to-mid 90s) and complemented it with a baffling circle changeup, both thrown from the three-quarters position. Soto's changeup was particularly effective against left-handed hitters. On occasion, Soto would also throw a slider, which he turned to more in the latter stage of his career. He less frequently threw a curveball.

Circle changeup

In baseball, a circle changeup is a pitch thrown with a grip that includes a circle formation, hence the name circle changeup. The circle is formed by making a circle with the index finger, holding the thumb at the bottom of the ball parallel to the middle finger and holding the ball far out in the hand. The ball is thrown turning the palm out.

Slider baseball pitch

In baseball, a slider is a breaking ball pitch that tails laterally and down through the batter's hitting zone; it is thrown with less speed than a fastball but greater than the pitcher's curveball.

Curveball type of pitch in baseball

In baseball, the curveball is a type of pitch thrown with a characteristic grip and hand movement that imparts forward spin to the ball, causing it to dive as it approaches the plate. Varieties of curveball include the 12-6 curveball and the knuckle curve. Its close relatives are the slider and the slurve. The "curve" of the ball varies from pitcher to pitcher.

From 1980 to 1985, Soto struck out 1,063 batters.

On May 12, 1984, Soto came very close to throwing a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals. However, with two out in the top of the ninth inning and the Reds up 1–0, outfielder George Hendrick spoiled the no-hitter with a game-tying solo home run. The Reds won the game for Soto in the bottom of the ninth, 2–1.

The 1984 Major League Baseball season started with a 9-game winning streak by eventual World Series champions Detroit Tigers who started the season with 35 wins and 5 losses and never relinquished the first place lead.

No-hitter also called a no-no, a baseball game in which a team was not able to record a single hit

In baseball, a no-hitter is a game in which a team was not able to record a single hit. Major League Baseball (MLB) officially defines a no-hitter as a completed game in which a team that batted in at least nine innings recorded no hits. A pitcher who prevents the opposing team from achieving a hit is said to have "thrown a no-hitter". This is a rare accomplishment for a pitcher or pitching staff: only 300 have been thrown in Major League Baseball history since 1876, an average of about two per year. In most cases in MLB, no-hitters are recorded by a single pitcher who throws a complete game; one thrown by two or more pitchers is a combined no-hitter. The most recent no-hitter by a single pitcher was thrown on May 7, 2019 by Mike Fiers of the Oakland Athletics against the Cincinnati Reds at Oakland Coliseum, also the 300th no-hitter in the history of the MLB. The most recent combined no-hitter was thrown on May 4, 2018 by Walker Buehler, Tony Cingrani, Yimi Garcia, and Adam Liberatore of the Los Angeles Dodgers against the San Diego Padres at Estadio de Béisbol Monterrey.

St. Louis Cardinals Major League Baseball team in St. Louis, Missouri, United States

The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Busch Stadium has been their home ballpark since 2006. One of the most successful franchises in baseball history, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, the second-most in Major League Baseball and the most in the National League. Their 19 National League pennants rank third in NL history. In addition, St. Louis has won 13 division titles in the East and Central divisions.

In 1983, Soto finished second in voting for the National League's Cy Young Award. Philadelphia's John Denny was the winner. Statistically, 1983 and 1984 were Soto's best seasons. He compiled a 35–20 record with a 2.92 earned run average and he established himself as the ace of the Cincinnati Reds' rotation. However, the Reds finished with losing records in both seasons.

The 1983 Major League Baseball season ended with the Baltimore Orioles defeating the Philadelphia Phillies in the fifth game of the World Series. Rick Dempsey was named MVP of the Series. The All-Star Game was held on July 6 at Comiskey Park; the American League won by a score of 13–3, with California Angels outfielder Fred Lynn being named MVP.

National League Baseball league, part of Major League Baseball

The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, and the world's oldest current professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) of 1871–1875, the NL is sometimes called the Senior Circuit, in contrast to MLB's other league, the American League, which was founded 25 years later.

Cy Young Award Major League Baseball award given annually to the best pitcher in each league

The Cy Young Award is given annually to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award was originally given to the single best pitcher in the major leagues, but in 1967, after the retirement of Frick, the award was given to one pitcher in each league.

In a twelve-season career, all for Cincinnati, he was 100–92 with a 3.47 ERA in 297 games, 224 of them starts. He had 72 career complete games and 13 shutouts. He allowed 667 earned runs and struck out 1,449 batters in 1,730 and 1/3 innings pitched. He also earned four saves (all during the 1980 season).

Earned run average

In baseball statistics, earned run average (ERA) is the mean of earned runs given up by a pitcher per nine innings pitched. It is determined by dividing the number of earned runs allowed by the number of innings pitched and multiplying by nine. Runs resulting from defensive errors are recorded as unearned runs and omitted from ERA calculations.

Complete game

In baseball, a complete game is the act of a pitcher pitching an entire game without the benefit of a relief pitcher. A pitcher who meets this criterion will be credited with a complete game regardless of the number of innings played - pitchers who throw an entire official game that is shortened by rain will still be credited with a complete game, while starting pitchers who are relieved in extra innings after throwing nine or more innings will not be credited with a complete game. A starting pitcher who is replaced by a pinch hitter in the final half inning of a game will still be credited with a complete game.

Shutouts in baseball

In Major League Baseball, a shutout refers to the act by which a single pitcher pitches a complete game and does not allow the opposing team to score a run. If two or more pitchers combine to complete this act, no pitcher is awarded a shutout, although the team itself can be said to have "shut out" the opposing team.

By 1986, Soto's performance had rapidly deterioriated due to shoulder injury. On April 29, 1986, against the Montreal Expos, Soto became the 11th pitcher in major league history to surrender four home runs in an inning.

The Montreal Expos were a Canadian professional baseball team based in Montreal, Quebec. The Expos were the first Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise located outside the United States. They played in the National League (NL) East Division from 1969 until 2004. Following the 2004 season, the franchise relocated to Washington, D.C., and became the Washington Nationals.

Controversy

On May 27, 1984 against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, third baseman Ron Cey hit what was originally ruled a home run down the left field line. Believing the ball had gone foul, Soto and Reds manager Vern Rapp disputed the call, and during the argument, Soto shoved third-base umpire Steve Rippley, who had made the call. After conferring, the umpires changed their decision and ruled it a foul ball, drawing a protest from the Cubs. However, for shoving Rippley, Soto was ejected, prompting him to charge the field. Cubs coach Don Zimmer stepped in front of Rippley to prevent Soto from attacking the umpire, only to himself be tackled by Soto and (inadvertently) catcher Brad Gulden, which triggered a ten-minute brawl. Four days later, National League president Chub Feeney suspended Mario Soto for five games. [1]

In the second incident, on June 16, the Reds were playing the Atlanta Braves in Atlanta. Braves player Claudell Washington homered in the first inning off Soto. During Washington's second at-bat, Soto hit Washington in the shoulder with a pitch, but Washington only stared at Soto before going to first. On Soto's first pitch of Washington's third at bat, Washington swung and let go of his bat in the direction of first base and walked toward Soto. Umpire Lanny Harris attempted to intervene, but Washington threw Harris to the ground. Soto punched Washington, and both benches cleared. Reds catcher Dann Bilardello wrestled Washington to the ground and Soto threw the ball at Washington, but he struck Braves coach Joe Pignatano's shin instead. Soto was suspended five games and $5,000, and Washington received a three-game suspension and a $1,000 fine. [2]

2001–2016

In 2001, Soto was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame and Museum. He has also worked with the team as a pitching coach, helping several Reds pitchers develop a change-up. He currently[ when? ] works in the Reds' front office. Soto is credited as the person who taught Edinson Vólquez and Johnny Cueto their change-ups, which have been go-to strikeout pitches in their careers.[ citation needed ]

See also

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References

  1. "SPORTS PEOPLE; Soto Faces Suspension". June 19, 1984. Retrieved June 22, 2016 via NYTimes.com.
  2. Scott Andrew (November 3, 2013). "Claudell Washington and Mario Soto Fight" . Retrieved June 22, 2016 via YouTube.