Friday, April 20, 2012

#159 Mike Stanton - Seattle Mariners

This is Mike Stanton as he appears on his second Topps card.  He isn't the long time left-handed reliever and he doesn't prefer to be called Giancarlo
Ultra-violet rays can be quite damaging, just check out his 'stache which was black when he started spring training.  Ok, all joking aside, he could have used some sun screen.
Player:  Mike Stanton had a rough start to his major league career.  After spending a few years in the Astros' minor league chain he debuted in 1975 and gave up 14 runs in 17.1 innings.  First impressions are sometimes hard to shake and Stanton would find the road back to majors a difficult journey. He bounced around the minors the next fours years for three different organizations, and even played in the short lived Inter-American League in '79.

Stanton finally broke through and made the Indians roster in 1980.  Although a starter in the minors the hard throwing right-hander would work from the pen in the majors.  He pitched in 51 games for the Tribe and despite a 5.56 ERA and 1.65 WHIP he somehow saved five games.  He showed improvement in '81 lowering his ERA to 4.36 and saving two games.

After the season, Stanton was sold to the Cardinals in December.  In February of '82, the Indians bought his contract from the Cardinals and released him five days later.  I'm not sure what the situation was with Cleveland and Stanton, but he tried out and made the Mariners' squad.  Working as a set up man for Bill Caudill, Stanton had a 4.16 ERA in 71 innings and saved seven games. 

The next two years he was at his best as he posted ERAs of 3.32 and 3.54.  He saved 15 games and logged 126 innings over the '83 and '84 seasons.  In 1985 he was not as effective and was released in June with a 5.28 ERA in 29 frames.  The White Sox gave him a try but he was pounded for 12 runs in 11.2 innings and released for the last time.

Stuff:  Fastball low 90s, sinker, slider

Flipside:  As listed, Stanton was drafted in the first round of the '73 January Draft, secondary phase.  He was the fifth player taken.  He was drafted three times before that by Atlanta, Kansas City, and Texas before signing with the Astros in '73.  

Oddball:  While playing in the Inter-American League, Stanton pitched for Maracaibo Petroleros de Zulia, a team based in Venezuela.  The upstart independent league was granted AAA status but had a slew of problems and folded before the season was over.  I had never knew of this league before researching Stanton.  He recorded a 2.70 ERA with a 3-2 record before things were shut down. 

History:  Stanton was a journeyman reliever and never sniffed the postseason.  He recorded 31 saves in his career with a 4.61 ERA in seven seasons. 
Evidently, Stanton stayed in the Seattle area and tore his rotator cuff in '99.

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