May 6, 2015

Late Nineties Mets Pitcher: Joe Crawford (1997)

Joseph Randall Crawford was born May 2nd, 1970 in Gainsville Florida. The six foot three left handed pitcher attended high school in Ohio & went to Kent State University. He was the New York Mets 17th round draft pick in the 1991 amateur draft.

Crawford pitched three years at various A Ball levels for the Mets getting to AA Binghamton in 1994. 

In 1995 he was 7-2 with a 2.23 ERA there, getting promoted to AAA Norfolk by the end of the season. He started out 1996 back at Binghamton going 5-1 with a 1.45 ERA. After one more appearance he was sent down to AAA Norfolk where he went 6-5 with a 3.44 ERA.

In 1997 he began the year with the Mets after an impressive Spring Training. He made his MLB debut on April 7th, pitching the 15th inning of a 2-2 game against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. He gave up a base hit to Todd Zielle who was then forced out on Brett Butlers ground out. But Butler stole second & scored the game winner on Tom Princes base hit. After one more appearance he was sent back down to AAA Norfolk where he went 8-2 before returning.

Crawford returned to the Mets at the end of June & became a regular out of the Mets bullpen. On July 18th he pitched four innings of middle relief & although he gave up two runs he earned his first win. It came in a 4-3 Mets win over the Cincinnati Reds. 

A month later on August 21st, he got his first start, it came at Shea Stadium against the Los Angeles Dodgers. He got his revenge pitching six innings of one run ball as the Mets beat Tom Candiotti & L.A. 2-1.I

In September he suffered two losses in back to back outings then enjoyed two wins in the same fashion, all in relief. He ended the year at 4-3 with a 3.30 ERA. 25 Strike outs 13 walks in 46 innings in 19 appearances.

In 1998 he went to Japan & played two seasons with the Chiba Lotte Marines (1998-1999). In 2001 & 2002 he returned to the United States & played minor league ball in the Milwaukee Brewers & Arizona Diamondbacks organizations.

Retirement: He then went on to work in the front office for the Milwaukee Brewers & in 2015 he is an assistant coach for the Brewers.

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