Before the Red Sox acquired A’s reliever Andrew Bailey, and after his subsequent injury, Mark Melancon was considered to be a potential closer. Now, he may finally get that opportunity, but not in Boston. According to recent reports, the embattled reliever may be headed for the minor leagues.
Melancon’s fall from grace culminated in yesterday’s nightmarish outing against the Texas Rangers in which the right hander surrendered six runs, including three homeruns, without recording an out. Melancon’s implosion wasn’t entirely without precedent, as 131 pitchers (including 45 relievers) previously allowed at least as many runs without recording an out. However, the Red Sox’ right hander added his own unique touch by becoming the first pitcher to allow three long balls in the process. Unfortunately for Melancon, the debacle was only the latest in what has turned out to be an inauspicious Red Sox debut. In four appearances for Boston, the righty has amassed an ERA of 49.50, a number so high that it might even make Jamie Moyer blush.
Most Runs Allowed Without Recording an Out, Since 1918
|Hank Borowy||8/18/1951||DET||SLB||L 9-20||Reliever||5||9||4||1|
|Paul Wilson||5/6/2005||CIN||LAD||L 6-13||Starter||5||8||1||2|
|Paul Wilson||7/10/2003||CIN||HOU||L 2-11||Starter||6||8||1||0|
|Blake Stein||8/31/1998||OAK||CLE||L 6-15||Starter||4||8||3||0|
|Bobby Jones||9/17/1997||NYM||ATL||L 2-10||Starter||3||8||4||1|
|Bill Krueger||6/25/1984||OAK||KCR||L 0-16||Starter||6||8||1||1|
|Bob Kammeyer||9/18/1979||NYY||CLE||L 3-16||Reliever||7||8||0||2|
Tigers’ right hander Hank Borowy holds the record for most runs allowed without retiring batter. On August 18, 1951, the St. Louis Browns broke open a 9-9 tie by scoring 11 runs against Borowy (nine were charged to his record and two were inherited runners) in the bottom of the seventh inning. Thanks to Borowy’s generosity, the Browns were able to set franchise records for most runs in both an inning and an entire game.
Even though Borowy owns the distinction for giving up the most runs without recording an out, and Paul Wilson was a victim on two occasions, the most infamous outing probably belongs to the Yankees’ Bob Kammeyer. After an unsuccessful debut in July 1978, during which the Yankees’ appeared to gradually fall out of the pennant race, the then 27-year old righy was banished to the minors. However, with the team sputtering down the stretch in 1979, not to mention still reeling from the tragic death of team captain Thurman Munson, Kammeyer was given another chance.
Kammeyer’s return to the big leagues came on September 18, 1979. The right hander entered the game in the fourth inning, with the Indians already leading 4-0 thanks in large part to Cliff Johnson’s two-run homer in the first. Kammeyer’s first pitch of the inning was promptly deposited into the seats by Indians’ third baseman Ted Cox, an opening salvo that set the stage for an eight run outburst by the Cleveland lineup. However, the focal point of the inning turned out to be the only batter who didn’t get a hit.
When you mess with the ‘G boys’, Gossage and Guidry, you’re messing with the ball club. You’re asking for a ticket. I bet you the big kid with the boats will be here tomorrow.” – Reggie Jackson, quoted by UPI, April 23, 1979
Cliff Johnson started the 1979 season in pinstripes, but he was traded to the Indians in June, just weeks after getting into an altercation with Goose Gossage that left the reliever sidelined for three months. So, when Johnson was plunked with a pitch in the middle of the Indians’ uprising, more than a few eyebrows were raised, including those of the batter, who had to be restrained from charging the mound. However, that was nothing compared to the reaction one week later when New York Times’ writer Gay Talese reported that Martin actually paid Kammeyer $100 to deliver the beanball.
Although Martin never denied handing Kammeyer five $20 bills immediately upon his exit from the game, he insisted that the money wasn’t the payment of a bounty. Instead, Martin claimed that the $100 offering was nothing more than drinking money for not only Kammeyer, but also Rick Anderson and Paul Mirabella, two other young pitchers who were treated roughly by the Indians during the game.
That is ridiculous. I would never have anyone throw at Cliff. What’s it all about?” – Billy Martin, quoted by AP, September 27, 1979
American League President Lee MacPhail took the allegation seriously and launched an official investigation that eventually cleared Martin of wrongdoing. Although MacPhail concluded that a brushback pitch had been intended, his official finding stated that “there was no intent to hit the batter and testimony received by the American League office supports the league decision of no disciplinary action in this instance”.
The Yankees may have been exonerated, but neither Martin nor Kammeyer enjoyed the aftermath. Only weeks after paying off Kammeyer, Martin’s wallet got him into trouble once again when, on the night of October 23, he allegedly slapped five $100 bills on a Minnesota bar and challenged Joseph Cooper, a 52-year old marshmallow salesman, to a fight. Martin wound up winning the bout (although Cooper claimed he was sucker punched), but he eventually lost his job, at least for the time being.
Kammeyer wasn’t as lucky. The infamous eight running inning against the Indians turned out to be his last appearance in the major leagues, even though the right hander posted a 15-7 record with a 2.91 ERA for the triple-A Columbus Clippers in 1980. In fact, following that season, and just weeks after complaining about how the Yankees used their minor leaguers “as an inventory of spare parts”, Kammeyer disappeared from the game altogether. Needles to say, his unfortunate inning against the Indians still lives on.