Saturday, August 25, 2012

#211 John Denny - Philadelphia Phillies

Topps broke out the paint on John Denny's ninth career base card.  He was traded by the Indians to the Phillies on September 11, 1982.  This put Topps in a bind as Denny pitched four games for the Phillies, and boom, the season was over.  It is quite the contrast from the other fine cards in the set.  I never have been able to figure out why Topps airbrushed the clouds in the background.  Maybe they thought it gave the card continuity. 

Player: John Denny somehow flew under the radar and was not drafted until the 29th round by the Cardinals in 1970.  The 17 year-old Denny quickly showed he was worthy of a pro career by posting a 1.29 ERA in Rookie ball.  He debuted with the parent team in '74 pitching two innings and allowing two unearned runs.

Denny made the Cards rotation in '75 and after a six week demotion to AAA in May/June, he was in the majors for the rest of his career.  He had a decent rookie year putting up a 10-7 record with a 3.97 ERA in 136 innings.  He excelled the following year leading the NL with a 2.52 ERA, while starting 30 games and logging 207 innings. 

His 1977 campaign started off well with a 5-0 record but he was shelved for a month mid-year with a hamstring injury and his ERA was nearly two runs higher than the year prior. 
Denny bounced back with a 14 win, 2.96 ERA effort in '78.  He could not keep the momentum going however and struggled with his control, walking 100 with a 4.85 ERA in '79.

Denny was traded to the Indians after the '79 season and was mediocre in his first year in the Junior Circuit.  He missed half the year due to injury and finished with a 4.39 ERA.  He came back with a strong effort in '81 and had three consecutive shutouts toward the end of the season.  In the strike shortened campaign he went 10-6 with a 3.15 ERA.  In '82 Denny was scuffling with a 5.01 ERA when he was dealt to the Phillies late in September.

Even the most optimistic Phillies fan couldn't have predicted the year that Denny would have in '83.  He won 19 games in 36 starts with a 2.37 ERA, all career bests.  Part of Denny's success was keeping the ball in the park as he allowed just 9 HR in 242 innings.  He was rewarded with the NL Cy Young award as well as Comeback Player of the Year.  Although he didn't pitch poorly, Denny and the Phillies came up short in the World Series, losing to the Orioles.

Denny was nearly as effective in '84 but missed over two months with an elbow injury.  He pitched only 145 innings but had a similar 2.45 ERA.  He was healthy but rather average in '85 with a 3.82 ERA in 230 frames of work.  In the offseason he was swapped to the Reds.  In Cincy, Denny made 27 starts before his season ended with a sprained wrist.  Even though he was just 33 years old and just a few seasons removed from his Cy Young season, Denny retired from baseball.

Stuff:  Early career, 90 mph fastball, curve, change. 
Later career, Mid 80s sinker, curve, slider, change.

Flipside:  This is a pretty fuzzy view of this card back.  So let's just look at Denny's K/BB ratio. Even though he led the NL with a 2.52 ERA in '76 he walked 74 and struck out 74.  In his Cy Young season in '83 he walked just 53 and whiffed 139 batters. 

Oddball:  Denny came from a long line of rough-and-tumble Arizona ranchers and demonstrated a hot temper that flared often during his career.  He was not afraid to plunk a batter especially if a batter took him deep or showed him up in any way.  This of course led to fisticuffs on several occasions.  A short list of guys Denny brawled with: Reggie Jackson, Reggie Smith, Rod Carew, Tim Flannery, teammate Ted Simmons, and Reds reporter Bruce Schoenfield.

History:  Denny won a Cy Young and started two World Series games in his career.  He finished with a 123-108 record and 3.59 ERA (105 ERA+) in 13 seasons.  If he had stayed healthy he may have been remembered as one of the better pitchers of his era.  His silent treatment toward reporters and violent nature did little to endear him towards those around the game. 

Saturday, August 18, 2012

#210 Jack Clark - San Francisco Giants

Jack Clark is shown here on his 7th Topps card and it looks like a cold day at Shea Stadium.  After some rather bland cards earlier in his career, Topps pictured Clark in similar batting shots five cards in a row.  Check out Clark's '83 card and then his '81-'86 cards side by side:
I am pretty sure that is Darrell Evans waiting on deck.  If it is, then this is from a May 9, 1982 contest which ended with a Rusty Staub walk-off pinch hit home run.  It is the only game the Giants played at Shea in which Evans batted behind Clark.  

The  look pretty cool side by side but Topps shook things up in '87 and scored big with this awesome shot.

Player:  Jack Clark was a slugging RF/1B for 18 seasons in the big leagues.  He was drafted in the 13th round in 1973 and came up to the Giants just two years later.  Only 19 years old at the time, Clark had 4 hits in 17 at bats in a late season audition.  After a great season at AAA in '76, Clark played in 26 games at the tail end of the Giants schedule and hit .225/.277/.382.

Clark broke into the starting lineup and started in RF for the Giants in '77, batting .252 with 13 HR.  He busted out in '78 with a .306/.358/.537 line smashing 46 doubles and 25 dingers.  He made the first of four All-Star teams and finished fifth in the NL MVP race.

Over the next five seasons Clark would hit between 17 to 27 HR a year with batting averages from .268 to .284.  He topped 100 RBI for the first time with 103 in '82 and showed good plate discipline with 90 walks. 

He was thriving in '84 batting .320 when he was sidelined in June with a knee injury for the rest of the year.  The Giants thought Clark took to long to come back from injuries as they expected him back before the end of the season.  That coupled with his unhappiness playing in cold, blustery Candlestick Park led to an offseason trade to the Cardinals.

Clark made an immediate impact in St. Louis.  In a lineup surrounded by speedsteers, Clark played first base and was the main source of power supplying a .281/.393/.503 line in 126 games.  After missing time with a rib cage injury, he hit the deciding HR in the NLCS triumph over the Dodgers.  In the World Series, Clark and the Redbirds lost to the Royals with Clark involved in several memorable plays.

After missing over half of the '86 season, Clark returned with a monster season in '87.  He batted .286/.459/.597  with a career high 35 HR and 176 OPS+.  The season didn't end well as he was sidelined late in the year with an gimpy ankle.  Clark struck out as a pinch hitter in the '87 NLCS, was removed from the roster, and couldn't help the Cards in the World Series.

Clark was a free agent after the season and signed with the Yankees where the injury prone veteran was able to DH.  Although he didn't hit for average in NY, he got on base and drove in runs.  He didn't enjoy the AL and requested a trade after clashing with manager Lou Piniella. 

Traded to the Padres, Clark hit 25 and 26 HR in '89 and '90 and led the NL in walks both years.  After two years in San Diego, Clark signed with the Red Sox.  In Boston, he hit .249/.376/.466 in '91 but was neither healthy or productive in '92.  Released by the Red Sox in February of '93 his career was over when he tried but failed to catch on with the Expos.  Clark retired with 340 HR, a .267/.379/.476 line, and a robust 137 OPS+.

Flipside:  Clark hit 46 doubles in '78 but never topped 30 in any other season. 

Oddball:  The Giants drafted Clark as a pitcher but he quickly showed that his future in baseball wasn't on the mound.  The 17 year-old Clark pitched 15 innings in Rookie-ball and was torched for 24 runs.  Clark however was a good athlete and played two years at 3B before moving to RF his last year in the minors.

History:  Clark was on two pennant winners in his three years in St. Louis but never won a World Series.  He had run-ins with teammates who were otherwise known as nice guys such as Ozzie Smith and Tony Gwynn.  Labeled a malcontent, Clark was dogged by injuries most of his career and went through the embarrassment of filing for bankruptcy while he was playing in Boston.

Despite all that, Clark won two Silver Slugger awards, posted 50.1 WAR, and received MVP votes in six different seasons. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

#209 Mike Moore - Seattle Mariners

Rookie card alert! This is indeed Mike Moore's first card and we see him delivering a pitch with a mess of green trees behind him.  Notice the cameo pic shows with him wearing a mesh hat with dark clouds overhead.
Strangely, Moore played for the same three teams in his career as the last player profiled.  Dan Meyer also played for the Mariners then the A's.  Meyer started his career with the Tigers while Moore ended his in Detroit.

Player:  Mike Moore was the number one overall pick in the '81 draft.  He didn't spend much time in the minors and pitched in 28 games during his rookie year in '82, starting 27.  Like a lot of young pitchers, Moore had trouble commanding his off speed pitches and struggled, posting a 5.36 ERA in 144.1 innings.  The highlight of his season was a four-hit shutout of the Indians on July 24.

Except for a two month tune-up at Salt Lake City in '83, Moore was in the big leagues to stay.  With ERA's around five and a poor Mariner offense, he posted a 20-39 record over his first three years in Seattle. 

Moore broke through in '85, winning 17 of his 27 decisions with a 3.47 ERA (121 ERA+).  He started 34 games, completed 14 of them, and worked 247 innings.  He finished 10th in Cy Young voting and ended the year with 6.0 WAR.

The next three seasons Moore was a workhorse with 102 games started and 725 innings.  Although toiling around league average (103 ERA+), he lost more than he won (29-47).

Moore didn't just lose on the field,  he took the Mariners to arbitration twice and lost both times.  Moore became a free-agent after the '88 season and he signed a 3-year / $3.8 million deal with the Oakland A's. 

With the A's Moore enjoyed the spacious Oakland Coliseum and much better run support.  Moore won 19 in '89 with a 2.61 ERA, made the All-Star team, and finished 3rd in CY voting.  He stayed in Oakland for four years and appeared in two World Series, winning games 1 and 4 of the '89 series victory over the Giants.  While he averaged 16 wins per season he had two very good years with sub-3 ERAs and two mediocre campaigns with ERA's of 4.65 and 4.12.

Once again a free-agent following the '92 campaign, Moore signed a 3 year/$10 million deal with the pitching desperate Tigers.  Although durable, Moore was no longer fooling batters.  His ERAs in his three years in Motown: 5.22, 5.42, and 7.53. 

Moore retired after the '95 season with a 4.39 ERA (95 ERA+) and a 161-176 record. 

Stuff:  Early career: mid-90s fastball, change, slider. 
Later in his career sinker and forkball.

Flipside:  Moore's one relief appearance came on 4/25, three days after pitching 5.2 innings in his first win.  He logged 1.1 innings out of the pen against the Twins and made his next start on 4/28 against the Indians.  He failed to make it out of the first inning against the Tribe allowing six runs while recording just one out. 
Although I think today's pitchers are handled too carefully, this usage seems a bit curious to subject to your #1 pitching prospect in his third week in the majors.

Oddball:  Moore's '95 season was absolutely brutal.  He pitched 132.2 innings and allowed 118 runs on 179 hits and 68 walks.  Amazingly, he started the year OK, allowing seven runs over his first three starts before allowing almost a run an inning over his last 22 starts.  Mercifully the Tigers ended the carnage when the released him in the first week of September. 

History:  Moore is another example of a pitcher who was rushed to the majors without getting a chance to refine his game in the minors.  Whether he would have had a better career with more seasoning is hard to tell but he did go on to win a World Series and 161 regular season games.

Monday, August 13, 2012

#208 Dan Meyer - Oakland A's

Dan Meyer's ninth Topps issue is way too bright which is compounded by the neon borders.  The electric green border matches his hat in the inset while the action photo shows Meyer in dark green helmet.
He is listed as DH-1st BASE, but it should be the other way around as he played 1B in 58 games, opposed to 38 as a DH.

Player: Dan Meyer spent 12 seasons in the major leagues as a corner IF/OF.  He was drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round in '72 and showed potential by hitting .396 with 14 home runs in 65 games in rookie ball in '72.  He broke in with the Tigers in September of '74 and hit two home runs in his first start. 

The Tigers had hopes that Meyer would infuse the team with some young talent as aging nucleus was in decline.  He was given a chance in '75 and '76 but failed to deliver.  In 818 plate appearances he hit just .242/.283/.332 and was a victim of his overly aggressive approach.   He didn't exactly work the count as he walked just 43 times with 47 K's over the two seasons.

Meyer was left unprotected in the expansion draft and was nabbed by the Mariners.  He was the franchise's everyday first baseman and batted batted 273/.320/.442 with 22 HR and 90 RBI.  He slipped to .227/.264/.327 in '78 and lost his starting job.  He moved to third base in '79 and rebounded with a .278 average with 20 HR.  His defensive flexibility was a plus, but Meyer was a poor defender wherever he played as he finished with -10.2 career dWAR. 

Meyer spent '80 and '81 playing third, first, and left field.  His power waned as his hit just 14 HR over these two seasons.  He was then traded the A's who evidently over valued Meyer's ability.

With the A's, Meyer started against righthanders in '82 and hit .240/.270/.363 with 8 HR.  He played a reserve role in '83 and batted an abysmal .189 in 69 games.  He spent most of '84 in the minors but went 7 for 22 in a September call up, which impressed them enough to keep on him on the team to start the '85 season.  After going hitless in 12 at bats, Oakland released Meyer which spelled the end of his major league career. 

Flipside:   Even Meyer's two best seasons, '77 and '79, don't measure up when compared to other first basemen in the league.  Baseball Reference lists his Wins Above Average those seasons as -1.3 for each season.

Oddball:  Meyer was the last remaining original Mariner when he was traded to the A's.

History:  Meyer had a 12 year career with a .253/.293/.379 batting line and finished with -8.2 WAR.  He was a player who had no real definable strengths.  He didn't hit for high average and although he topped 20 HR twice the power was inconsistent throughout his career. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

#207 Rick Camp - Atlanta Braves

Rick Camp appears here on his sixth Topps card with a beard in the cameo shot and without it in the action shot.  Topps repeated that arrangement in the '84 set and Camp appeared with the beard the rest of his cards.

Player:  Georgia native Rick Camp was drafted by the Braves in the 7th round in 1974 and debuted with the big club in '76.  Appearing in five games, with one start, he allowed eight runs in eleven innings. 

With the exception of four starts, Camp spent the next two seasons in the Braves bullpen.  Despite WHIP ratio's over 1.7 he kept his ERA at 4.00 and 3.75.  He saved 10 games in '77 but didn't save any in in '78 as he was used in middle relief.

Arm troubles sabotaged his '79 campaign and limited him to just 22 games in the minors.  The next two years Camp was simply outstanding.  He posted ERAs of 1.91 and 1.78 and supplanted Gene Garber as the Braves top fireman, saving 22 in '80 and 17 in '81.  His work was good enough to garner a few MVP votes during the strike year.

Camp spent the next three seasons bouncing back and forth between the pen and rotation.  He was slightly better than league average but understand-ably did not work deep into games with just five complete games in that span.  He pitched well as a starter down the stretch in '82 helping the Braves to the playoffs.  He was shelled in his only start in the NLCS as he failed to get out of the 2nd inning.

Camp pitched in middle relief in '85 and logged 127 innings with a 3.95 ERA.  He retired in '86 after he failed to make the cut in spring training.   

Stuff:  High 80's sinker, slider, occasional curve and change up
Flipside:  Camp established career highs in '82 with 177.1 innings and 11 wins.

Oddball:  Camp was a terrible hitter and a lot has been written about his unpredictable HR in the Braves-Mest marathon game in '85.    If you are unfamiliar with the game I encourage you to read this article which called it the greatest game ever.  Here is a video recap.

I think the Braves nearly had the market cornered on bearded players in the 80's. Can you identify these hairy Braves on sight?  I'll post the answers in the comments in a few days.

History:  Camp was an effective pitcher who played his entire career for his home state Braves.  He finished his career 56-49 with a 3.37 ERA (115 ERA+) and 12.3 WAR.  He never really had a bad year as his only year with an ERA+ under 97 was his 11 inning rookie year.

After his baseball career he spent a few years in prison and has been trying to rebuild his reputation ever since.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

#205 Dave Parker - Pittsburgh Pirates

Dave Parker appears happy here on his 10th Topps card.  He was in fact coming out of a very difficult time in his career.  Parker's weight gain is pretty obvious if you compare him to his previous cards.

Player:  Dave Parker was a 14th round pick of the Pirates in 1970.  He moved through their system steadily and debuted in 1973 batting .288/.308/.453 in 139 at bats.  In a crowded outfield that included Willie Stargell, Al Oliver, Richie Zisk, and Gene Clines, Parker played mainly against lefties in '74 and put up similar numbers to his rookie campaign. 

With Stargell moving to first base and Gene Clines out of the way, Parker took over in right field for the next nine years.  He established himself as a star in '75 batting .308 with 25 HR and 101 RBI while leading the league in slugging at .541.  It was also the first of five straight years with an OPS+ over 130.  Parker's power slipped a bit in '76 but he still hit .313/.349/.475.

Parker was dominant the next two years as he won consecutive batting titles with .338 and .334 averages. He paced the league in slugging in '78 with a .585 mark and was named NL MVP. 

Blessed with a cannon for an arm Parker racked up outfield assists and led the NL with 26 in 1977.  His arm was on full display with two great throws in the '79 All-Star game, including this one.

Parker was strong in '79 (.310 BA, 6.4 WAR) helping the Pirates to World Series title with 14 hits in 41 postseason at bats. This helped make up for his poor showing in the '74 and '75 NLCS when he managed just one hit over the two series.

Parker's performance slipped in '80 as he hit .295 with 17 HR.  His cocaine addiction was affecting his performance as he gained weight, missed time with injuries, and struggled to hit with the same authority.  He played in just 140 games over the '81-'82 seasons with just 15 HR.  Healthier in '83 Parker still wasn't back to his prior level and batted .279/.311/.411 in 144 games.

"Cobra" signed with the Reds, his hometown team, after the '83 season and rejuvenated his career.  Over the next four years he averaged 27 HR, 108 RBI, with a 116 OPS+.  Now in his late 30s, he spent the '88 and '89 seasons DH-ing for the pennant winning Oakland A's.  Although he posted rather pedestrian numbers for a DH (34 HR, .261 BA in two seasons) he won his 2nd World Series ring in '89. 

He bounced around with Milwaukee, California, and Toronto his last two years and retired after the '91 season. 

Flipside:  You can see that his performance really started to slide in 1980.  He caught a lot of flack after failing to live up to his 5 year / $5 million contract that he signed in '79. His performance and the fact that Parker wore an ear ring (one of the first athletes to do so) and smoked cigarettes in the dugout rubbed people the wrong way.  Had he been able to sustain his prior production, Pirate fans wouldn't have thrown batteries at him.

Oddball:  During the '78 season Parker broke his cheek and jaw bones in a home plate collision with Mets catcher John Stearns. He played through it though wearing and assortment of masks including a hockey mask and modifying his batting helmet with a football facemask. 

History:  Parker had some awesome seasons in the 70's and was one of the most physically intimating players of his era.  He won two World Series rings and had 2,713 hits in a 19 year career.  His final batting line of .290/.339/.471 is very impressive as is his 121 OPS+ .

Parker's drug use hampered what could have been a Hall of Fame career and the scandal culminated with the Pirates suing him in '86.
Even with his mid-career crisis hurting his image and career numbers he still managed to get as much as 24.5% of the HOF vote in '98.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

#204 Junior Kennedy - Chicago Cubs

Junior Kennedy wanted to play so badly that he often took the field before anyone else was at the ball park and ran the bases.

Ok, all kidding aside, since he isn't wearing a helmet it looks like Kennedy is partaking in a pre-game running drill.  Although no more than 32 years-old when this pic was he is looking more senior than Junior in these pics. 

This is Kennedy's fifth Topps card and you may recall his '79 rookie card in which he dons a plain red helmet.

Player:  Junior Kennedy was a first round pick of the Orioles in 1968 but never made it up to Baltimore.  After the '73 season he was traded to the Reds in the Merv Rettenmund - Ross Grimsley trade.  Kennedy made his major league debut with the Reds in '74 and was mainly used to rest Joe Morgan in late inning blow outs.  He went 3-19 in this role and didn't return to the majors until 1978. 

With Joe Morgan getting older, the Reds kept Kennedy with the big team in '78 and he started 41 games at second base in both '78 and '79.  He batted .255 and .273 and walked about in about ten percent of his plate appearances. Kennedy's lack of any power was his downfall as he slugged under .340 both years.  Even during his good minor league seasons he never had more than 25 extra base hits.

After Morgan left in 1980, Kennedy's role expanded and he started 92 games.  He batted .261/.325/.335 and showed good range at second.  Ron Oester emerged as the starter in '81 and Kennedy played little, knocking 11 hits in 44 at bats. 

Kennedy was sold to the Cubs and they used him semi-regularly in '82.  Batting 271 times in a career best 105 games his average slipped to .219.  By the end of the season Ryne Sandberg had moved from third to second.  Kennedy played just 17 games in '83 and was released in August which turned out to be the end of his career. 

Flipside: Not a lot to say here other than Kennedy's lack of power is evident.  Only 39 XBH's through 1,019 career at bats.

Oddball:  After playing at AAA Indianapolis for four straight seasons Kennedy somehow ended up property of the Giants in '77.   I can't find a record of his transaction going from the Reds to the Giants but it is known that the Reds bought him back after he tore up AAA Fresno at a .316/.408 clip.

History:  Kennedy's career started as an understudy to Joe Morgan and ended backing up Ryne Sandberg, two of the greatest secondbasemen of all time.  Kennedy retired with a .248/.325/.299 line in seven years of action.  He was regarded as a good glove man during his day, which is supported by his 2.6 career dWAR.

Friday, August 3, 2012

#203 Mike Morgan - New York Yankees

Mike Morgan appears here on his first solo card.  He shared a prospect card with two other Oakland A's in the 1980 set.  The 22 year-old Morgan looks quite young here in pinstripes.  He was traded to the Blue Jays in December of '82 so this card was outdated by the time it hit the shelves.

Player: Rushed to the majors just days after he graduated from high school, Mike Morgan went on to have an unusual career that spanned four decades. Morgan, who was drafted fourth overall in '78, pitched in parts of two seasons for the A’s. Clearly not ready for major league action (6.12 ERA in 89.2 innings), he took refuge in the minors for the ’80 and ’81 seasons. During his stay in the minors he was dealt straight up to the Yankees for infielder Fred Stanley.

The Yankees kept him with the big league team all year in ’82 and he made 23 starts and also pitched in long relief. He struggled with the Yankees (91 ERA+ in 150 innings) especially putting batters away, walking (67) nearly as many he struck out (71). After the season he was included in the Dale Murray– Fred McGriff trade which landed him in Toronto. After 45 unimpressive innings with the Jays in ’83 he spent all of ’84 and most of ’85 in the minors.
Seattle picked him up in the Rule V draft and he spent the ’86-’87 seasons as a mainstay in the Mariners rotation. Unfortunately the Mariners were not that good and Morgan received little support. He compiled a 23-34 record with ERAs in the mid 4’s. He showed glimpses of greatness with three shutouts and was durable with 17 complete games over the two seasons.
Morgan was dealt to the Orioles in ’88 but a 5.43 ERA in 71 innings was a step backwards for the righthander. Traded again to the Dodgers, Morgan had his most consistent success in LA. Over the ’89-’91 seasons he won 33 games, logged 600 innings, posted a nifty 3.06 ERA, and led the NL with 4 shutouts in 1990.
Morgan left the Dodgers for the Cubs as a free agent following the 1991 season. His first year in the Windy City was superb as he posted a 2.55 in 240 innings to go with a career best 5.2 WAR and 16 wins. His ERA jumped to 4.03 in ’93 and skyrocketed over six in ’94. After a good start to the ’95 season, the Cubs traded Morgan to the Cardinals where he would perform moderately well in 17 starts.
The veteran hurler then bounced around to Cincinnati, Minnesota, back to Chicago, Texas, and settled in Arizona in 2000. The nomadic Morgan pitched well enough to get traded often to a pitching needy team that was looking to add depth to their rotation or pen. The results were up and down, and at his best he was usually just above league average. At age 38 he finally got a taste of the postseason, pitching 1.1 innings of scoreless relief as the Cubs bowed out in the ’98 NLCS.
Pitching for his 12th franchise (at the time a record) Morgan won a World Series in 2001 with the D-backs. He provided 4.2 innings of scoreless relief against the Yankees as he allowed just one baserunner in three games. Morgan now pushing 43 years of age at the end of the 2002 season, retired with a career 141-186 record, 4.23 ERA (97 ERA+), and 2,772 innings pitched over 22 seasons of major league action that spanned 25 years. His career list of transactions can be found here.

Flipside:  Despite walking 49 against 42 strikeouts in AAA, the A's still recalled Morgan in '79 and he fared even worse against seasoned hitters.  In 77 innings he walked 50 and struckout just 17.

Oddball:  Morgan's debut in '78 was just five days after he was drafted.  According to this article, A's catcher Jim Essian sternly warned Morgan before his June 11 debut to throw whatever pitch he indicated.  The raw Morgan responded that he only had a fastball.  Somehow the fresh faced 18 year-old pitched a complete game but lost 3-0.
Yes, that's right, five days after he was drafted he pitched a complete game, faced 39 batters, gave up ten hits, and didn't strike anyone out.  I couldn't find an actual pitch count but a an estimator puts it at 139.  After getting thrashed in his next two starts the A's sent him down to AAA. 

History:  Clearly rushed to the majors because A's owner Charlie Finley needed an attendance boost, Morgan became the ultimate survivor.  Despite his journeyman status, he pitched a scoreless inning in the '91 All-Star game and won a World Series ring.