Dec 17, 2014

Late Nineties Mets Pitcher: Greg McMichael (1997-1998)

Gregory Winston McMichael was born on December 1st, 1963 in Knoxville Tennessee. The tall six foot three right hander attended the University of Tennessee playing for the Volunteers baseball team. He was drafted in the 7th round of the 1988 draft by the Cleveland Indians. He was released in 1991 & got picked up by the Atlanta Braves two weeks later.

Two years later he was on the Braves staff saving 19 games behind main closer Mike Stanton. McMichael went 4-6 making 63 appearances posting a 4.67 ERA over 52 innings pitched. In the 1993 NLCS he was the losing pitcher in Game #1 in Philadelphia, when pinch hitter Kim Batiste doubled home John Kruk with the winning run.

In 1994 he became the Braves top closer as he saved 21 games, while finishing 47 games going 4-6 for the second straight year, posting a 3.84 ERA in 51 games. In the Braves 1995 Championship season, McMichael was one of the game's best middle relievers, as he went 7-2 with 20 holds posting a 2.79 ERA in 67 appearances.

Post Season: After allowing a run in the NLDS he had a great NLCS against the Cincinnati Reds, he earned an 11th inning save in Game #1 as the Braves took a 2-1 win. He then was the winning pitcher in Game #2 as the Braves scored four runs in the top of the 10th inning. In three games he was 1-0 with a save & a 0.00 ERA in 2.2 innings pitched. He then made three World Series appearances against the Cleveland Indians allowing two runs in three innings.

He went 8-3 in 1996 then was traded to the New York Mets in November 1996 for pitcher Paul Byrd. He would pitch in parts of two seasons in New York, mainly as a mid reliever.

His season did not start out well as he although he began April with two holds, he then blew three saves & was 0-2by the end of the month. By the All Star break he was at .500 and kept his ERA at 2.47. He would earn credit for 19 holds as a set up man, also saving seven games behind John Franco out of the bullpen. McMichael posted a 7-10 record, as he blew eleven saves posting a 2.98 ERA.

In 1998 he was 4-1 although his ERA was high at 4.06 by early June, when the Mets traded him & Dave Mlicki to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Brad Clontz & Hideo Nomo. He went 9-1 and strangely was traded back to the Mets for Brian Bohanon a month later. He would pitch in 22 more games going 1-1, and an overall 5-2 as a Met on the season.

In 1999 he began the Mets Wild Card Champion season in New York, but after 19 games, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics along with Jason Isringhausen for pitcher Billy Taylor. Looking back McMichael said; "It was a great experience living in New York and playing for the Mets. They are a class organization and I was fortunate to have the opportunity to play with some great guys like John Olerud, Todd Hundley, Carlos Baerga and Fonzie (Edgardo Alfonzo)."

In 2000 he returned to Atlanta for 15 games before a second rotator cuff injury ended his eight season career. McMichael was 31-29 with 53 saves in 453 appearances, posting a 3.25 ERA with 459 strike outs in 523 innings with 193 walks.

Retirement: After his playing days he opened a baseball facility north of Atlanta which he still runs with his brother in law & former team mates Terry Pendleton & Mark Lemke.

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