David John Mlicki was born on June 8, 1968 in Cleveland, Ohio. The 6’ 4’ right hander graduated from Oklahoma State University and got drafted by his hometown Cleveland Indians in 1990.
After going 11-9 in 1992 at AA Canton -Akron, he was brought up to the Indians staff making his debut on September 12th at Comiskey Park in Chicago. In four appearances he went 0-2 with a 4.98 ERA.
In 1993 he pitched just six games (2-1) in the minors & just three games with no record in Cleveland. The next season he was 6-10 at AAA Charlotte & then In November 1994 he was traded with Paul Byrd and Jerry Dipoto to the New York Mets for Jeromy Burnitz and Joe Roa.
Mlicki debuted as a Met on April 29th 1995 earning a victory, pitching in just one inning of relief against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Mets won it in the bottom of the 11th inning on a Joe Orsulak base hit.
After two games as a reliever he quickly got into the starting rotation, and earned his second win at Houston, pitching seven innings allowing just one run against the Astros. He then won two games on a west coast road trip & was 4-1 by mid June. He allowed three or more earned runs in ten starts from the end of May until August 1st, and took four straight losses.
From that point on he got better, closing out the year winning five of his last seven decisions.
One of his best outings came on August 7th at Shea Stadium, where he had a ten strikeout performance over seven innings, against the Florida Marlins. On the ’95 season he made 25 starts, going 9-7 with a 4.26 ERA, striking out 126 batters in 160 innings.
He made just two starts in 1996, allowing over five earned runs in each of them before spending the rest of the year in the bullpen. In May & June he was 3-1 with a save and three holds to his credit. Overall Mlicki made 51 appearances going 6-7 with one save, eight holds & a 3.30 ERA.
In 1997 he was back in the starting rotation, and struggled at the start going 0-4, not earning his first win until May 30th. In early June he was 1-5 when he beat the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, & then the next week pitched one of the best games of his career.
On June 16, 1997, in the first ever regular season Subway Series meeting between the Mets & their A.L cross town rivals, Mlicki pitched a historic complete game shutout. He struck out eight, scattering nine hits while walking only two.
The win got him a lot of media attention and he would forever be immortalized in Mets history.
Quotes: "I knew it was a big game when I did it and it's amazing that it's meant so much to so many people," says Mlicki. "I remember the day after, my wife and I were out to breakfast at a diner and people were talking about the game and no one had any idea I was sitting there.”
Mlicki won his next start as well, allowing just two runs over eight innings at Shea Stadium against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He took two losses & then beat the Cincinatti Reds with a strong seven inning one run performance on July 20th.
In August he lost three straight games, before earning wins against the Padres & the Blue Jays. He ended the year at 8-12 with a 4.00 ERA, leading the staff in starts (32) and was the only pitcher on the staff to throw a shutout. He also allowed the most runs (89) & hits (194) on the Mets staff as well. Mlicki struck out 157 batters while walking 66 in 193 innings pitched.
His fame faded away quickly, after going 1-4 in the beginning of 1998, he was traded along with Greg McMichael to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Hideo Nomo & Brad Clontz. He went 7-3 for the remainder of the season in Los Angeles then was then traded to the Detroit Tigers in April of 1999. That year he had his best season leading the third place Tigers staff in wins going, going 14-13 with a 4.61 ERA.
He dropped to 6-11 in 2000 and was traded to Houston for Jose Lima in June of 2001. He went 7-1 from July to September 24th, finishing the year at 7-3 getting to the post season.
Post Season: In Game #2 of the NLDS he took the loss against the Atlanta Braves, even though he didn’t allow any earned runs over five innings pitched.
He retired after the 2001 season going 4-10. In his ten year career Mlicki posted a lifetime 66-80 record and a 4.72 ERA, striking out 834 batters in 1232 innings pitched. His 6.089 strike out per nine inning ratio is ranked at 218th all time.