According to this Toronto Sun story former Jay starter Tom Underwood passed away today from cancer. He was just 56.
I thought of Underwood as our first decent starting pitcher. He came up with the Phillies and pitch there for 3 seasons. The Phillies traded him to the Cardinals in the middle of the 1977 season. The Cardinals traded him to us after the season for Pete Vuckovich. Vuckovich would go on to win the Cy Young in 1982.
Underwood was our best starter in 1978 and 1979 going 15-30 with a 3.88 ERA in 62 starts. I know it doesn't sound all that great but we were an awful team in those days. In the 2 seasons we won just 112 games, losing 211.
After the 1979 season we traded him to the Yankees along with Rick Cerone for Chris Chamblis, Damaso Garcia and Paul Mirabella. Tom would go on to have an 11 year career, playing for 6 teams. He finished with a 86-87 record and a 3.89 ERA in 379 games and 203 starts.
A lefty, he wasn't a very big guy, he is listed at 5'11" and 170. He had a big curve and worked in a fastball.
He is sitting at 26th on our leader board for starts, 10th in complete games.
His brother, Pat Underwood also was a major league pitcher, pitching for 4 seasons with the Tigers.
I'm sorry to see hear this. Underwood was one of the first Jay players I liked, way back when. My condolences to his family.