Sep 2, 2015

Late Eighties Short Time Mets Pitcher: Don Aase (1989)

Donald William Aase was born on September 8, 1954 in Orange, California. The six foot three right-hander was a sixth round draft pick for the Boston Red sox in 1972.

In the minors at A ball Williamsport, Aase was 0-10 in 1973, & then led the league with 15 losses the next year. He made an incredible come back in 1975, leading the Carolina league in wins, (17) complete games (18), shut outs (4)& was named Pitcher of the Year.

He came up to the Boston rotation in late July 1977 and pitched a complete game victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in his debut. He then threw a three hit shutout in his second career win in California vs. the Angels. In September he pitched another three hitter in Toronto shutiing out the Blue Jays. Aase ended up 6-2 that year with a 3.12 ERA. The following year he was traded to the Angels for second baseman & future Red Sox broad caster, Jerry Remy.

He would spend six years with the Angels, going 11-8 in his first season, third on the staff behind Frank Tanana & Chris Knapp in wins. He eventually moved to the bull pen the next season pitching as a starter (28 games ) & reliever (10 games). In 1979 the Angels won their first divisional title, Aase went 9-10 with two saves posting a 4.51 ERA in the regular season.

Post Season: In Game #3 of the 1979 ALCS against the Baltimore Orioles, he relieved Frank Tananna in the 6th inning. Although he gave up a run, he got the win, as Larry Harlow doubled off Don Stanhouse for the game winning hit. Aase made history earning the victory in the first post season win in Angels history.

He had a losing season the next year at 8-13 but posted 11 saves (6th in the league) with a 2.34 ERA in 40 appearances. After six years with the Angles, he went to the Baltimore Orioles as a free agent in 1985. There he saved 14 games (tenth in the AL) going 10-6 while finishing 43 games (tenth in the AL).

The next season he made the All Star team, and earned the save for the American League at the Houston Astrodome. He relieved Dave Righetti with two outs in the 9th inning & retired Chris Brown for the final out in the 3-2 win. Aase saved 34 games in 1986 , which was second best in the A.L. He posted the best ERA of his career (2.98) appearing in 66 games.

In August he made Baltimore history, as he took the loss in both ends of a double header against the Oakland A's. He was the first Oriole pitcher to lose two games in the same day.

After pitching on Opening Day 1987 he suffered a shoulder injury which wiped him out for most of the season. He returned the next year as a mid reliever appearing in 35 games, but was never the same.

In 1989 he signed with the New York Mets as a free agent, making the club out of Spring Training. He debuted on Opening Say at Shea Stadium, pitching the 8th & 9th innings of relief in a 8-4 Mets win over the St. Louis Cardinals. He was credited with the save that day. In his next outing Aase earned his the loss, allowing three hits & a 10th inning run at St. Louis.

He got his only Mets career win at Shea Stadium on June 5th in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. That day he pitched two scoreless innings in a 4-3 Mets win. He lost his next four decisions of the year, although he did save two games as well.

He was second on the Mets staff in appearances (49) going 1-5 with two saves & a 3.94 ERA. The Mets granted him free agency at the end of the year.

He went to the Los Angeles Dodgers and went 3-1 there with three saves closing out his career. In his 13 year career, Aase was 66-60 with 82 save, 641 strike outs, 457 walks, in 1109 innings pitched and a 3.80 ERA in 448 appearances.

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