May 6, 2016

Former Nineties Mets Pitcher: Pete Schourek (1991-1993)

Peter Alan Schourek was born on May 10th, 1969 at Austin Texas. The tall six foot five left hander, grew up in Virginia on the outskirts of the Nation’s Capitol at Washington D.C. He was signed out of high school by the New York Mets in 1987 in the second round of the amateur draft.

The next year he missed the entire season due to an arm injury. In 1990 he won 16 games going 16-5 bouncing through all three levels of the minor leagues. He was 11-4 at AA Jackson alone that season. After a brief 1990 season at AAA Tidewater he made the 1991 Mets staff out of Spring Training as a reliever.

He made his MLB debut in the second game of the season at Shea Stadium pitching a scoreless 1.1 innings against the Philadelphia Phillies. On April 21st he recorded his first save in Montreal against the Expos & then three days later earned his first career win pitching three scoreless innings at Philadelphia. By the end of June his ERA was over five & he was sent back to AAA Tidewater. He returned in late June & lost his first three decisions upon his return.

In September he was put into the starting rotation and had a successful month going 3-1. On September 10th at Shea Stadium he pitched the best game of his career, as he tossed a one hit complete game shutout against the Montreal Expos. Shourek struck out seven & walked just two, allowing a 5th inning single to Ken Williams as the only hit.

He ended the season at 5-4 with two saves, three holds & a 4.27 ERA in 35 appearances. Shourek would never pitch another shut out nor have another save in his career.

 In 1992 he joined the Mets in late May & lost his first three decisions. On July 25th he allowed just one run in eight innings of work, but that day the Padres Cgaig Lefferts & Randy Meyers combined to shut out the Mets 2-0. He had another good one run eight inning outing in August against the Pirates but earned no decision. He was 3-6 by the end of August & a solid September had him finish the year at 6-8 with a 3.64 ERA.

In 1993 after a 2-3 start he went on a six game losing streak which got him put into the bullpen by the end of June. At that point he was 2-9 with an ERA near six (5.89). On June 29th he blew a save against the Marlins, then he was given a start in early July which he also lost. That loss extended his losing streak to seven games as his ERA soared to 6.32.

The Shea fans had had it with him & let him have it. Even though he won his last two starts in September, including an eight inning one performance against the Cardinals, he finished the year at 5-12 with a 5.96 ERA . He allowed 13 HRs with 45 walks & 72 strike outs in 128 innings pitched. The Mets placed him on waivers at the end of the year & he was picked up by the Cincinnati Reds.

He rebounded to a 7-2 record, with a 4.09 ERA in the 1994 strike shortened season. In 1995 he had his best year going 18-7 (second most wins in the NL) with a 3.22 ERA (9TH in the league) & 160 strike outs in 190 innings of work. He was runner up to Greg Maddox for the Cy Young voting, as the Reds went all the way to the NLCS.

Post Season: In the NLDS he was the Game #1 winning pitcher, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers allowing just two runs over seven innings. He pitched in two games of the NLCS against the Atlanta Braves & although he only allowed two runs over 14 innings he was 0-1 in the Series.

In 1996 he was the Reds Opening Day starter & Schourek had just thrown his seventh pitch of the game when umpire John McSherry suffered a fatal heart attack on the field. Shourek came back to win the makeup game the next day. He went 4-5 on the year before an injury ended his season in July & shortened his career. 

He never was the same pitcher as he was in 1995, and would move on to pitch with the Boston Red Sox (1998/ 2000-2001) Houston Astros (1998) & Pittsburgh Pirates (1999).

In his eleven year career he was 66-77 with two saves posting a 4.59 ERA. He struck out 813 batters walking 420 in 1149 innings pitched in 288 games.

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