Mar 7, 2016

Former Italian / American Met Pitcher & Sucessful Coach: Galen Cisco (1962-1965)

Galen Bernard Cisco was born on March 7, 1936 in St. Mary’s Ohio. Cisco attended Ohio State University and was the Captain & full back for the 1957 Buckeye’s National Championship team. He was also a star pitcher going 12-2 at the school getting inducted into their Sports Hall of Fame in 1995.

The five foot eleven right-hander chose a baseball career, signing with the Boston Red Sox in 1958. 

He won 17 games climbing through the ranks of the minors in 1959, gradually became a relief pitcher over the next two seasons. He made his MLB debut in 1961 going 2-4 earning his first win at Fenway Park against the Washington Senators in his second career start. He was 4-7 in 1962 when the Red Sox placed him on waivers where he was picked up by the New York Mets in September.

He immediately went to work, pitching four innings after relieving Craig Anderson in the 1st inning, in a game against the Houston Colt 45's on September 9th. The game ended in a 7-7 tie at Colts Stadium. In his next appearance he blew a save opportunity, when Cincinnati's Vada Pinson tripled home a run in the 8th inning. The Mets still ended up winning the game, as Choo Choo Coleman hit an exciting walk off game winning HR in the 9th inning. 

Cisco pitched a complete game four hitter against the Chicago Cubs his next time out, finishing his Mets month at 1-1 in four appearances. 
 In 1963 he finished off the Mets Opening Day 7-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals at The Polo Grounds. He got a start on May 12th but took a 5-2 loss to the Braves in Milwaukee even though he pitched a complete game. On April 21st he threw another complete game, earning the win against the Braves at the Polo Grounds. In May he lost three straight decisions, before going 4-2 in the early part of the summer.

Cisco was used mostly as a reliever during the summer months, having his best outing on August 2nd against the Milwaukee Braves. He pitched ten innings, allowing just one unearned run on the evening. After that game he bested his record to 7-9, although his ERA was at 4.19.  

But from there on he lost four straight starts & blew two saves, through the end of the season. From August 2nd on he did not earn any winning decisions for the 51-111, tenth place Mets. He went on to lose 15 games that year (ninth most in the league) but it certainly wasn't worst on his own team. Three pitchers on the Mets staff lost more games than he did- Roger Craig 22 losses, then Al Jackson & Tracy Stallard both had 17 losses each. Cisco's record was 7-15 with a 4.34 ERA. He struck out 81 batters pitching 155 innings allowing 165 hits & 15 HRs. His ten wild pitches & seven hits batsmen were both tenth most in the league. 

 The 1964 season started out with two April relief appearances, & then he was placed back in a starting role. He quickly lost two games, and had a busy May that saw him finish the month at 2-5 while posting a low 2.45 ERA.

 On a classic Memorial Day double header at Shea Stadium, he pitched nine innings of relief in the second game of a 23 inning legendary epic game. Cisco entered the game in the 15th inning, & held the Giants to just two hits for through the 22nd inning. Then in the top of the 23rd he gave up RBI hits to Del Crandall & Jesus Alou. 

Cisco ended up being the losing pitcher in the 8-6 Giants win. During this classic day the Mets & Giants played a record at the time 23 innings of baseball. The Shea Stadium concessions ran out of hot dogs as well as other foods. Short Stop Roy McMillan turned a triple play that day & pitcher Gaylord Perry later admitted he began toying with a spit ball for the first time during that game. 

 On June 5th he threw a complete game four hit shutout against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea, in a rare 8-0 Mets win. After the game he was still posting a fine 2.09 ERA, but the weak Mets offense wasn't scoring any runs & Cisco only had a 3-5 record. Soon he lost seven of his next eight starts and finished the year losing six of seven decisions. He ended up with 19 losses that year, second most losses in the league behind team mate Roger Craig. Overall he was 6-19 with a 3.62 ERA, two shut outs, five complete games & 78 strikeouts in 191 innings pitched. The Mets finished in last place again, 53-109. 

In 1965 Cisco pitched mostly in relief the first two months, going 0-2 in both games he started. On June 3rd, he beat the Pirates in Pittsburgh allowing just two runs over seven innings. He found himself at 1-6 by mid July, but had a much better ending to his season. On July 25th he earned a win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Shea Stadium. 
 In his next start, On July 29th he pitched a four hit shutout at Wrigley field beating the Cubs 14-0. Cisco missed two weeks of action in both August & September.

He finished out the year going 4-8, appearing in 35 games posting a 4.49 ERA. He struck out 58 batters in 112 innings, walking 51 as well. At the plate he hit well, batting a career high .259 (7-27) driving in four runs. Cisco had driven in three runs in 1963 & four runs in 1964. 
 In 1966 he began the year at AAA Jacksonville going 11-6 but was released by the Mets in June. He was picked up by the Boston Red Sox, making just 11 appearances the following season. He finished his seven year career at Kansas City in 1969 with the Royals in their first season.

In 1970 he played in the minor leagues ending his playing career at AA Omaha. Overall in his seven season career, he was 25-56 with nine complete games, three shutouts & two saves, posting a 4.56 ERA in 192 appearances. In four seasons as a New York Met he was 18-43 with a 4.04 ERA in 126 games. 

Retirement: Following his playing career, Cisco became a respected pitching coach for the five different team over the next two decades. He began with the Kansas City Royals (1971-1979) & there his staff won three AL West titles.

He then went to the Montreal Expos under Dick Williams (1980-1984) getting a 1981 post season appearance. he then went with Williams to the San Diego Padres (1985-1987). 

He moved on to the Philadelphia Phillies (1997-2000) & most successfully with the Toronto Blue Jays (1990-1995). In six seasons with the Blue Jays his staff won three consecutive AL East titles and two World Series Championships (1992-93). 

Cisco is currently retired in St. Mary’s Ohio. There a Rotary club Award was named after him, honoring hometown youths in baseball.

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