Brent Strom: Former Mets Pitcher (1972) Turned Successful Pitching Coach & Husband to a Former Miss America

Brent Terry Strom
was born October 14, 1948, at San Diego, California. The tall six-foot two left hander had a devastating curveball and was a star pitcher at USC leading the Trojans to two NCAA championships. 

Strom was drafted twice but didn’t sign until 1970, when he was selected in the first round by the New York Mets.

He was highly touted as a good strikeout pitcher, making his way through the minors first at A ball with the Visalia Mets.

In 1971 Strom went 7-3 at AA Memphis, striking out 87 batters in 106 innings of work. He then got promoted to AAA Tidewater where he impressed again, going 6-2 with a 2.55 ERA & 60 strike outs in 74 innings. 

Mets Career: On July 31st, 1972, Strom was brought up to the Mets making a start against the Montreal Expos. In his debut he saw Willie Mays playing at first base for the Mets, as the butterflies in his stomach multiplied. Strom allowed two runs on two hits, striking out seven pitching into the 7th inning, but earned no decision in the Mets 4-2 win. 

He returned back to Tidewater & was brough back up three weeks later. He made two starts in August, giving up three runs to the Reds in a 5-0 loss at Shea where Jack Billingham shut out the Mets. 

Then On August 28th, he gave up HRs to Dennis Menke & Bobby Tolan, allowing five runs to the Reds at Riverfront Stadium in another loss.

He made two more starts at the start of September, giving up three runs or more not getting past the 3rd inning either time. Strom then settled into the bull pen making six appearances & finishing off two games.

Overall, in 1972 Strom appeared in ten games, making five starts going 0-3 with a 6.82 ERA. He allowed 23 earned runs, struck out 20 & walked 15 while serving up seven HRs in 30 innings pitched. The Mets finished third that year 83-73.

Brent became expendable on an early seventies overcrowded talented Mets pitching staff with a deep minor league pitching farm. 

He found himself shipped off to the Cleveland Indians for an established veteran reliever, Phil Hennigan. Phil would not last through the Mets 1973 NL Pennant season 

Post Mets Career: In Cleveland in 1973, Strom was 2-10 with a 4.61 ERA pitching on the same staff as Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry.

Tommy John Surgery: In 1974 Strom had a torn ligament in his elbow & became the second MLB pitcher to be a patient to Dr. Frank Jobe would replace the ligament with a tendon from elsewhere in the body. The surgery is now known as Tommy John surgery, since John was the first to have it done & make a successful return. Strom made a successful comeback being the second pitcher to have successful Tommy John surgery.

After missing the 1974 season, Strom was traded to his hometown of San Diego in exchange for pitcher Steve Arlin.

Return: On June 15th, 1975, Strom returned from his injury to make his first start in over a year, facing his old Mets teammates at Shea Stadium. He was incredible pitching eight innings, allowing just one run on eight hits, striking out five & walking no one. He took the 1-0 loss to Tom Seaver who pitched a three-hit shutout. 

After taking a loss he shut out the Cubs at Wrigley Field on a two hitter. After getting to 5-5 he won three straight decisions into September including another shut out, this one over the Expos. On September 21st, he gave up two runs, one earned & took a tough 2-1 loss to the Giants John Montefusco.

Strom went 8-8 with two shut outs, posting an impressive 2.54 ERA, second to Randy Jones on his staff. He struck out 56 & walked 33 in 120 innings of work in 18 appearances.

In 1976 he was a 12-game winner but lost 16 (3rd most in the NL) for the fifth place Padres that lost 89 games. Strom struck out 103 batters & posted a good 3.29 ERA pitching 21 innings. He was second best on his staff again to that year's Cy Young winner- Randy Jones. Strom was also second in the league throwing 13 wild pitches.

In 1977 he had elbow problems going 0-2, including being the losing pitcher of record in an outing where the Padres lost to the Chicago Cubs 23-6. He was released the next spring and toiled in the minors through 1981.

Career Stats: In his five-season career he was 22-39 with 278 strikeouts, 180 walks, in 501 innings pitched. Strom pitched in 100 games making 75 starts tossing three shut outs with 16 complete games.

Retirement & Coaching Career: After his playing days, he coached at all levels & ran pitching instructional leagues in his home of Tucson, Arizona.  At the MLB level he coached with the Kansas City Royals, then served as a roving coach with the Montreal Expos/ Washington Nationals & then with the St. Louis Cardinals.

In 2009 he also coached the Chinese National team in the WBC.

In 2014 Strom became the pitching coach for the Houston Astros. During the regular season he lived near Minute Maid Park & walked to the ballpark. He would arrive early for night games to go over scouting reports & statistics.

After a 70-92 season, the Astros rebounded inn 2015 under manager AJ Finch going 86-76 with a second-place finish, beating the AL New York team in the Wild Card game. But Houston fell short in the ALDS to the Kansas City Royals.

That year under pitching coach Brent Strom, Dallas Keuchel won the AL Cy Young Award as a twenty-game winner. His staff came in first in ERA hits, HRs & runs. 

2016 was a disappointing year in Houston as the Astros fell to 84-78 in third place.

In 2017 Strom & his Astros staff were second in wins (101) saves (45) & strike outs (1593). His staff had three pitchers with 13 or more wins.

The Astros won the AL West, beat the Boston Red Sox in the ALDS, the AL New York team in the ALCS & then the Los Angeles Dodgers in an exciting seven game World Series.

Trivia: Broadcaster Joe Buck made a funny comment on how Strom should get a shoe deal after walking out to the mound so many times in the Series to chat with pitchers.

Trivia: In Game #7 he wore basketball star Bill Russell's socks, for good luck. Russell the Boston Celtics legend won the most North American championships in all sports (tied with Montreal Canadians great Henri "Rocket" Richard).

In 2018 Strom was the oldest pitching coach in the game. But his style of bringing a mentality of pitching from his era into today's era was very successful & praised by his young pitchers as well as veterans.

He was credited in helping the success of Charlie Morton, Dallas Keuchel, Gerit Cole, Lance McCullers Jr. & even Justin Verlander in his 2019 Cy Young season.

In 2019 his Astro staff won another pennant, losing the World series to the Washington Nationals. Houston came in first in the AL in wins strike outs & complete games as well as hits & runs. They were second in ERA. In 2020 Covid shortened season, the Astros got to the ALCS but lost to the Tampa Rays. 

In 2021 the Astros won the pennant once again, with their pitchers coming in second in the AL in wins, innings, hits runs & they posted the leagues fourth best ERA. Strom announced he was retiring after the World Series.

In his time with Houston, the Astros won two World Series, for pennants & had six post season appearances.

In November 2021 he changed his mind & was hired as pitching coach with the Arizona Diamondbacks. In 2023 his Arizona staff were fifth in wins (84) & tenth in ERA (4.47) without any high ranking in-pitching stats.

2023 Post Season: But in the posts season (to date) they defeated the Milwaukee Brewers in a WC Series sweep & then the Los Angeles Dodgers in a NLDS sweep to go to 5-0 advancing to the NLCS. In  those two series they allowed 11 runs in 45 innings for a 2.25 ERA.

Family- Carrie Strom: Brent is currently married to Carrie Gabriel who was the 1979 Miss America. Carrie was 32 years old at the time & already a married woman with a child. Her first husband Tony urged her to get into the competition. She was the first Jersey girl to be crowned Miss America. 

Brent & Carrie live in Arizona & reside in Mexico in the off season.


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