23 April 2011

a day that will live in infamy - courtesy of chan ho park, double dipper

[this is the sixteenth installment in the double dippers posts.  here are the previous posts - brett butler, omar daaleric young, nick willhitechris gwynn, mickey hatcherdave anderson, don zimmerrafael landestoy, dave hansen, jose vizcaino, hideo nomo, greg maddux, mike maddux, and jon garland.]

12 years ago today, the cardinals' fernando tatis hit two home runs in one inning off of the dodgers' chan ho park.  both of those home runs were grand slams.  park had a 2-0 lead heading into the top of the third and then gave up 11, highlighted by tatis' 8-rbi inning.  that's right up there with johnny vander meer's back-to-back no-hitters (one of which came against the dodgers) as far as records that will never be broken.

anyway, park was a big time pitching prospect for the dodgers in the mid-90's.  he debuted in 1994 and went on to post an 80-54 record for the dodgers through the 2001 season, including an 18-win season in 2000.  mike piazza had predicted cy young awards for park, and i was on board.
then, after a 15-win campaign and a spot on the nl all-star team in 2001 (a game in which he gave up the memorable home run to the retiring cal ripken jr), park parlayed his potential into a big free agent deal with the texas rangers.  that didn't go so well.

in texas, park was a below-.500 pitcher with an era well above 5 runs per game.  during the 2005 season, the rangers sent park to san diego for phil nevin.
park rebounded slightly in san diego, which is to say that he won more games (one) than he lost, and did manage, in 2006, to get his era back under 5.00.  he was even added to the padres' postseason roster, and pitched well in his lone nlds appearance.  after the season, he signed a deal with the mets.  in new york, park appeared in exactly one game, giving up 7 earned runs in 4 innings after which he was released.  he signed with houston, but did not appear in a game for the astros.

prior to the 2008 season, park was brought back to the dodgers.
used primarily as a reliever for the first time since 1996, park posted an era of 3.40 and notched the only 2 saves of his career.  he made 5 spot starts including a 6-inning, 4-hit, no runs, 7-strikeout performance against the angels.  park was part of the postseason squad that lost to the phillies in the nlcs, pitching in 4 games and not allowing a run in that series.  he flipped and joined philly for 2009, helping them reach the world series where they lost to the yankees, although park again appeared in 4 games without surrendering a run.  park flipped again, heading to the bronx for the 2010 season.  this time, he didn't end up in the postseason, but in pittsburgh after he was waived by the yankees in august.  despite pitching well for the bucs for the last couple of months of the season, park has not found a team willing to sign him for the 2011 season.  that's not how i, or mike piazza, thought it would turn out.

here's to you, chan ho park - dodger double dipper!

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