Eye of the Hurricane

March 26, 2011

Best hitting pitcher in recent memory retires


After 16 seasons in the major leagues, Mike Hampton officially decided to call it a career today.

The lefty, who played with six different teams, including two stints with the Houston Astros, finishes his career with a 148-115 record and a skewed ERA of 4.06 that was inflated due to two seasons pitching in Colorado.

While being an outstanding pitcher throughout his 16 big league seasons, he will inevitably be mostly remembered for his abilities with the bat. Hampton hit over .300 in four different seasons, and accumulated a career average of .246. He belted 16 homers throughout the years, including seven home runs in the 2001 season, his first of two with the Colorado Rockies, where he feasted off visiting pitching playing his home games in Denver’s elevated Coors Field.

All these hitting figures are unparalleled among pitchers in the modern era, and Hampton ended up winning five consecutive Silver Slugger awards from 1999 to 2003.

Hampton was a two-time all-star and his best season came in 1999, his final year with the Astros. He led the National League with 22 wins that year and finished second to previous year’s teammate, Arizona’s Randy Johnson, in NL Cy Young voting.

The next year, in 2000, Hampton took his act to Flushing, NY for his only season with the Mets. Hampton collected his only two postseason career wins with the Mets in the 2000 NLCS against the Cardinals that led to the Mets playing against the Yankees in what would forever be known as the Subway Series.


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