Jun 15, 2016

Former Mets First Round Draft Pick: Calvin Schiraldi (1984-1985)

Calvin Drew Schiraldi was born on June 16, 1962 in Houston, Texas. The tall six foot five right hander was first offered a contract by the Chicago White Sox but chose to go to college instead.

He pitched at the University of Texas where he won the College World Series, with future Red Sox team mates, Spike Owen & Roger Clemens. He was voted the Series Most Outstanding Player, getting chosen by the New York Mets in the 1st round of the 1983 draft (the 27 pick overall).

In 1984 he went 14-3 with a 2.88 ERA for the AA Jackson Mets, getting promoted to AAA Tidewater where he went 3-1 with a 1.15 . The Mets brought him up that September, and gave him the start on September 1st at Shea Stadium against the Padres. In his first start he gave up five runs on eight hits, getting relieved in the 4th inning by Tom Gorman but earned no decision. Later that week he took his first loss getting shut out 2-0 by Rick Rhoden in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He made five appearances that month going 0-2 with a 5.71 ERA.


In 1985 Schiraldi made the Mets talented staff in April getting his first start in the 16th game of the season. Although he allowed five runs over six innings against the Cardinals in St. Louis, he still earned his first career victory.

He spent two weeks on the DL, in May and then returned to get a win in San Diego on June 2nd. By the middle of June his ERA was near ten at 9.78 & he was put in the bullpen to pitch relief. He had a loss & two blown saves before getting sent back down to AAA Tidewater at the end of June. He went 4-4 there posting a 3.50 ERA in 17 games. Calvin returned in September finishing the year at 2-1 with an 8.89 ERA allowing 26 earned runs in 26 innings.

On November 13th 1985 (the anniversary of when the Odd Couples Felix Unger was asked to remove himself from his place & residence) Schiraldi was traded to the Boston Red Sox. This was the same trade that brought Bobby Ojeda to the Mets. Schiraldi, John Christensen, Wes Gardner and LaSchelle Tarver all went to the Boston Red Sox for Ojeda, John Mitchell, Chris Bayer (minors) & Tom McCarthy. This was a good deal for the New York Mets & haunted Shiraldi in the post season.

In Boston he was converted to a full time reliever at AAA Pawtucket joining the big league Red Sox squad by midsummer. He ended up taking over the Sox closer job, impressing manager John McNamara with some quality outings. At the end of the season he had posted a 1.41 ERA with nine saves & a 4-2 record in 25 appearances.

Post Season: In the 1986 ALCS he appeared in four games, taking the loss in Game #4 when the Angels Bobby Grich hit a walk off HR in the 11th inning, giving the Angels a 3-1 Series lead. But the Red Sox came back to win the Series & Schiraldi earned the save in Game #5 in California.

In Game #7 he struck out the side in the 9th inning sealing the Sox 8-1 victory & the AL pennant. It was off to the World Series against his old Mets team mates. His World Series started out well, as he got the save in the tight 1-0 Game #1 at Shea Stadium.

The next time Met fans saw him at Shea, was in the classic Game Six. He was introduced by the P.A. announcer as Queens “We Will Rock You” blasted through the sound system. 56,000 Shea Faithful sang along (including me who was in attendance). This was one of the first times this song was played at a baseball game to my knowledge.

Then it was the now legendary haunting chants of “Caaaalvin” that echoed through big Shea Stadium, obviously shaking the young pitcher up.

He entered Game #6 with a one run lead in the bottom of the 8th inning. Lee Mazzilli singled, then Len Dykstra bunted & reached base. Wally Backman bunted the runners over, & Keith Hernandez was intentionally walked. Gary Carter then hit a sac fly to tie the game. The Red Sox took the lead 5-3 on a HR by Dave Henderson, and Schiraldi came on in the 10th to try to close it out & win the Sox first World Series since 1918.

He got the first two outs, before allowing three straight singles by Gary Carter, Kevin Mitchell & Ray Knight. He was knocked out of the box to even louder chants of “Caaaalvin” getting relieved by Bob Stanley. The rest is history, as Stanley threw a game tying wild pitch & Mookie Wilson hit a slow roller that got by Bill Buckner at first scoring the winning run.

In Game #7 he appeared yet again, relieving Bruce Hurst who had shut down the Mets through six innings, in a 3-3 tie game. Ray Knight led the inning off with a dramatic HR that proved to be the game winning run. He then allowed two singles & a wild pitch before getting removed by former Met Joe Sambito. A little over 48 hours prior the Sox were on the verge of winning their first World Series in almost 70 years, now they were going home as runner ups to the Mets. Schiraldi had to go back to Boston as the losing pitcher in those two devastating defeats with a 13.50 Series ERA.

In 1987 he rebounded to go 8-5 with six saves, although his ERA was high at 4.41. The next year he went back to being a starting pitcher and fell to 9-13 with a 4.38 ERA. That winter he was traded to the Chicago Cubs with Al Nipper for closer Lee Smith. He would spend the next three years with Chicago, the San Diego Padres & the Texas Rangers posting losing records every year, finishing his eight year career in 1991.

Lifetime he posted a 32-39 record with 21 saves a 4.28 ERA, & 471 strike outs in 553 innings pitched with 235 appearances.

Retirement: After his playing days he became a pitching coach at St. Michael’s Catholic Academy in Austin, Texas.

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