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Today in Blue Jays history: Dave Stieb throws one-hitter

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Toronto Blue Jays

31 Years Ago Today

I was going to do a random Blue Jays recap today but then I notice that this is the anniversary of Dave Stieb throwing a 1-hitter against the Yankees. This was his second start of the 1989 season. Stieb ended the 1988 season with 1-hitters in each of his last two starts, so, with this game, he had three 1-hitters in four starts. that’s a pretty nice stretch.

Of course, the two 1-hitters at the end of the 1988 season both went to 2 outs in the ninth, before the hit to end the no-hitter attempt. Stieb finally got his no-hitter on September 2, 1990.

Anyway this game:

Blue Jays 8 Yankees 0

The lineups:


Lineup

BLUE JAYS YANKEES
Lloyd Moseby, CF Rickey Henderson, LF
Kelly Gruber, 3B Steve Sax, 2B
Ernie Whitt, C Don Mattingly, 1B
George Bell, LF Ken Phelps, DH
Fred McGriff, 1B Mel Hall, RF
Jesse Barfield, RF Mike Pagliarulo, 3B
Rance Mulliniks, DH Jamie Quirk, C
Nelson Liriano, 2B Tom Brookens, SS
Manuel Lee, SS Roberto Kelly, CF

The important part, Stieb made it until 1-out in the fifth inning before giving up the hit. With a Yankees’ lineup that had Rickey Henderson and Don Mattingly, the one hit was from Jamie Quirk.

Quirk had a long MLB career. He played 18 seasons. Lefty hitting catchers can stay play forever, everyone wants a left-handed hitting catcher. But, he wasn’t much of a hitter, career he hit .240/.298/.347 with 43 home runs in 984 games. My memory is that he wasn’t thought of as a good defensive catcher, but he must have been ok to play that long.

In 1989, he played only 13 games with the Yankees and had just 2 hits. The Yankees would release him on May 16th. He was grabbed up by the A’s near the end of the month and then the A’s released him July 24th. This time the Orioles picked him up and they held on to him through the rest of the season. For the 1989 season he hit .176/.278/.235 in 47 games.

Quirk played for 8 MLB teams in his career. His highest bWAR was 0.9 in 1988.

If I was going to guess which player would get the only hit off Stieb in this game, I don’t think Quirk would have been in the top 8.

Stieb’s pitching line was 9 innings, 1 hit, 4 walks, and 5 strikeouts. He threw 109 pitches.


On offense, we had 12 hits and 6 walks against three Yankees’ pitchers. Andy Hawkins went 4.1 innings, allowed 9 hits, 6 earned, 4 walks with 3 strikeouts. Lee Guetterman pitched 2.2 scoreless. Dale Mohocic pitched the last 2 innings, allowing 2 hits, 2 walks, and 2 runs.

We scored:

  • 3 in the second: Fred McGriff led off with a home run. Jessie Barfield doubled, and an out later, Nelson Liriano singled him home. Liriano stole season and Kelly Gruber singled him home. I forgot this, but Liriano stole a few bases for us. He had 41 steals in his first 3 seasons with the Jays. He didn’t steal as much over the rest of his career, finishing with 59 steals.
  • 3 in the fifth: George Bell singled, McGriff walked and Barfield hit a 3-run homer.
  • 2 in the eighth: Manuel Lee reached on error and Lloyd Moseby homered.

Jays of the Day: Stieb (.230), Barfield (.164, 4 for 5, homer, double, 3 RBI) and McGriff (.116, 1 for 3, homer, 2 walks).

After the game, the Blue Jays were 3-4 and the Yankees dropped to 1-6.

The Jays finished the season 89-73 finishing first in the AL East. That was the season that Jimy Williams started as manager and was fired when the team had a 12-24 record. The team turned it around with Cito Gaston, going 77-49 with him leading the team.

The Yankees finished 74-87, 5th in the AL East (I consider those the good old days). Dallas Green (no not the City and Color guy) started the season as manager and was fired with the team 56-65. Bucky Dent got the job and the team went 18-22 under his rule. He held the job at the start of the 1990 season, but then was fired after starting the season 18-31. Stump Merrill was the next lucky contestant. He’d manage 275 Yankees games before getting the boot.

Dave Stieb finished the season 17-8 with a 3.35 ERA in 33 starts, 206.2 innings. I thought that Stieb was almost criminally underrated. Like Roy Halladay in the first decade of this century, Stieb was the best AL pitcher of the 1980s. They were both very competitive. Competitive isn’t a strong enough word, but I’m not sure what would be work better. I change my mind on which of the two was the better pitcher constantly.