Oct 1, 2014

Former New Jersey Born Mets Relief Pitcher: Scott Schoeneweis (2007-2008)

Scott David Schoeneweis was born on October 2, 1973 on the Jersey Shore, at Long Branch, New Jersey. He grew up in Mt. Laurel Township lettering in baseball & basketball in High School.

Schoeneweis attended to Duke University & made all American in his freshman year, winning 12 games with the schools second best record in team history.

At age 19 he was diagnosed with testicular cancer, and it was found spreading to the lymph nodes. He received an aggressive chemo treatment over a three month period, lost 20 pounds but beat the cancer.

When he returned to pitch he needed Tommy John surgery, after extensive rehab he returned to pitch in his Senior year and go on to win ten games. Scott graduated from Duke University with a degree, and left as the schools all time victory leader, as well as being second all time strike outs. He played for the 1996 USA National team, then got drafted by the Anaheim Angels.

He was brought up by the Angels in 1999 going 1-1 appearing in 31 games before getting sidelined with more arm troubles. He returned in 2000 as a starter and was 7-10 with a 5.45 ERA.

In 2001 he won 10 games (10-11) posting a 5.08 ERA but was a much better pitcher against lefties. In both seasons as a starter he allowed 21 long balls each year.

In the Angels 2002 Championship season he gradually became a full time middle reliever, going 9-8 on the year & getting credit for 11 holds. He saw action in all three post season Series, appearing in two games of the World Series pitching two scoreless 8th innings against the San Francisco Giants.

The next season he was traded to the Chicago White Sox in July and in 2004 Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, put him in the starting rotation. He went 6-9 in 19 starts, posting a 5.59 ERA, and was granted free agency at the end of the year.

He went to the Toronto Blue Jays, but during a game in Oakland, he fell down on the wet grass during warm ups, injuring his knee and tearing a tendon. He would pitch with the tear for two years. Midway through 2006 he was sent to the Cincinnati Reds going 2-0 there while posting a 0.63 ERA in 16 games.

That off season the New York Mets gave him a three year $10 million dollar deal to serve mostly as a lefty specialist out of the bullpen. Schoeneweis debuted as a Met in the second game of the season, getting credit for a hold against the St. Louis Cardinals.

He had a good month of April, getting credit for five holds & posting a 1.86 ERA. He pitched well against lefties all year, holding them to a .204 batting average. He also pitched well with runners in scoring position, as hitters only batted .221 against him.

But he struggled mightily against righties when he was used in that role. He went 0-2 overall giving up 33 earned runs in 59 innings, getting credit for 11 holds.

In 2008 it only got worse for Scott, he started out by being the losing pitcher on the last Opening Day in Shea Stadium history. He was accused of receiving a steroid shipment back while with the White Sox although he denied the charges & it was never proven. On the year he allowed seven HRs, usually in key games, lost six decisions (2-6) and became a target of the Shea Stadium boo birds.

On the last day of the season, the final game ever played at Shea Stadium he was the losing pitcher after giving up an 8th inning HR to Florida’s Wes Helms. Luis Ayala came in and gave up another HR, but it’s Schoeneweis’ HR that is most remembered, since it was the games losing run. The fans really let him have it on his exit that day. He was done in New York, as in the off season he was traded to the Arizona D-backs for Connor Robertson.

Drama: In May of 2009, Scott’s wife Gabrielle was found dead from an overdose of cocaine in their Arizona home by their 14 year old daughter.

She was just 39 years old, and left behind four children, one from a previous marriage (the 14 year old). Scott left Florida where the D-backs were playing the Marlins and was given some time off to settle things best he could.

He returned the following month but couldn’t get his mind on baseball; he allowed 15 runs over just nine innings pitched. He was placed on the DL by August in order to deal with depression.

In 2010 he was a free agent & his old Mets coach Rick Peterson gave him a shot with the Milwaukee Brewers. He went to Spring Training but didn’t make the team.

He signed with the Boston Red sox and made their Opening Day staff, but after 15 games and a 7.90 ERA he was designated for assignment.

In a 12 year career he is 47-57 with nine saves, 568 strike outs 398 walks and a 5.01 ERA in 972 innings over 577 games (93 starts).

Honors: The Jewish Schoeneweis is the all time leader in games pitched for Jewish pitchers passing the great Sandy Koufax & former Oakland twenty game winner, Ken Holtzman.

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