Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#12 Paul Mirabella

Card: This is Mirabella's third Topps card. His rookie card is in the 1981 set.  Although he played in thirteen big league seasons Mirabella only had five cards.  Such is the life of the journeyman left-handed reliever.

Picture: Nice picture of Mirabella getting ready to fire towards the plate.  The background is so out of focus it makes it seem kind of weird.  Topps got lazy and posted an inset picture that is so similar to the action shot that it must have been a frame or two prior.

Player: Mirabella, Mirabella. Each time I type that name I want to type Mirabelli... as in former catcher Doug Mirabelli.
Anyway, Paul Mirabella was a 1st round pick of Texas Rangers in the 1976 January draft. He started at A ball in '76 and moved up a level each year.  While at AAA in '78 Paul got the call to the big leagues appearing in ten games with four of them starts.
In the off-season Mirabella was traded to the Yankees in a ten player deal that brought Dave Righetti to NY and Sparky Lyle to the Rangers.  Mirabella bounced between Columbus and New York and was once again traded in the off-season in a six player deal to Toronto.
Inserted into the rotation for the '80 Blue Jays, Mirabella would throw a career high 130.2 innings with 22 games started and 11 relief appearances.  Paul didn't get much support and suffered a 5-12 record despite an ERA on par with the league average of 4.34. He spent most of '81 starting games for AAA Syracuse with an 11-7 record and 3.06 ERA. In December the Jays traded Paul to the Cubs who traded him in March back to Texas, his original team.
Although he spent the entire year in the big leagues, Paul had a 4.80 ERA in 40 games, all in relief.  He failed to make the Rangers in '83 and was released.  Paul played in both the Orioles and Phillies organizations in '83 with only three games in the big leagues.
Paul spent all of '84 with the Mariners, sporting a 4.37 ERA in a career high 52 games.  He spent most of the next two years pitching for Seattle's AAA affiliate Calgary pitching in only 18 games for the Mariners. 
Released by the Mariners in October of '86, Mirabella latched on with the Brewers where he would struggle in 1987 with a 4.91 ERA.  1988 would be Mirabella's best year with four saves and a 1.65 ERA in 60 innings.  Unfortunately Mirabella couldn't build on that success and would scuffle in '89. In the off season found himself pitching in the Senior Baseball Association.  He bounced back for one more year of ball with the Brewers and had a decent finish to his career with a 3.97 ERA in 59 innings.
For his career Mirabella finished with a 19-29 record, 13 saves and nearly as many walks (239) as strikeouts (258) in 499.2 innings.

Stuff: Mirabella was a soft-tossing lefty with a sinking fastball around 83-84 mph. Mirabella also threw a curve and a slider.

Flipside: The complete game shutout in 1980 came in his second start of the year on April 17 against the Brewers.  Mirabella gave up seven hits, three walks and struck out three.  This would be the only shutout of his career.

Oddball: Mirabella wore ten different numbers in the big leagues and he never repeated a number that he had worn with a previous team.  In order Paul wore:13, 36, 50, 55, 42, 51, 34, 39, 52, and 27.
Mirabella is one of five players who played in the Senior Baseball League who made it back to the majors.

History: Mirabella never made it into the post-season and is likely remembered as a well traveled lefty.  Paul was a part of two big trades that involved stars such as Sparky Lyle, Dave Righetti, Damaso Garcia, and Chris Chambliss.  The last interview I found of Mirabella indicated that he was co-owner of a used tire shop in New Jersey.

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