Kevin Appier: Early 2000's Mets Pitcher (2001)

Robert Kevin Appier was born December 6, 1967 in Lancaster, California located in the Northern Los Angeles County. 

The six foot two, right hander, was nicknamed “Ape”, getting signed out of Antelope Valley Junior college as the Kansas City Royals first round pick in 1987 (the 9th overall pick). 

In 1998 Appier won 12 games at the A & AA levels combined getting promoted to AAA. 

MLB Career: On June 4th, he would get called up getting a start in California taking a loss to the Angels allowing a HR to Jack Howell. 

On June 13th, he allowed two runs in five innings but earned a win over the A's for his first career win. Appier made five starts thru July 2nd before being sent back to AAA Omaha.

In his 1990 Rookie season in Kansas City, he began the year as a reliever, making the rotation by the end of May. Appier didn't get his first win until May 27th against the AL NY team. 

Shut Out: On July 20th he shut out the Boston red Sox on a three hitter in Kansas City. From July 31 thru August, he went on a personal six game win streak, where he went 6-0 allowing nine earned runs in 41 innings pitched. He struck out 24 & walked ten, giving up just one HR.

On the season he went 12-8 with 127 strike outs in 185 innings pitched posting a 2.76 ERA making the Topps All Star Rookie team, coming in third in the Rookie of the Year honors for the last place Royals. 

In 1991 he pitched over 200 innings for the first of three straight seasons, something he would do in six of the next seven seasons as well.

In 1992 Appier won 15 games for the first time in his career. He posted the AL’s second-best ERA at 2.46 ERA while striking out 150 batters. 

In 1993 Appier had an even better year, leading the league in ERA (2.56) winning a career high 18 games (going 18-8) fourth most wins in the AL. That season he came in third in the Cy Young voting, pitching 238 innings with 186 strike outs.

From June into July, he had a personal six game win streak, winning the July Pitcher of the Month Award. That month he was 2-1 with a 2.43 ERA collecting 30 strike outs in 29.2 innings where hitters batted just .165 against him.

One Hitter: On July 27th Appier allowed just one a hit, a HR to the Rangers Rafael Palmiero which was the only run of the game. He took a 1-0 loss to Kenny Rogers on the losing end of a one hitter.

Shut Out: From early August into late September, he had a personal six game win streak, including a 1-0 shut out in Seattle on another three hitter. In that game he struck out just three & walked just one for his 17th win of the year.

The win came during a 33 scoreless inning streak he had over a six-game stretch from August 28th to September 23rd. In those six games he had 31 strike outs where he allowed three runs in 37.0 innings pitched. That year the Royals improved to a 84-78 record finishing in third place.

In the 1994 strike shortened season, Appier posted a 7-6 record. 

In 1995 he returned to another 15-win season (8th most wins in the AL) although the Royals were under .500 they finished in second place.  In June he had a personal five game win streak, winning the June AL Pitcher of the Month. 

After that he went on a
five-game losing streak then was 4-3 to end the season.

In 1996 he was 14-11 striking out a career high 207 batters (third in the AL) pitching 211 innings with a 3.62 ERA.

In the 1997 off season, after a fifth place 94 loss season, the Royals promised him they would build a winning team, so he signed a long-term deal with them. 

Injuries: In the off season Appier got injured suffering a fall at home. Next, he was diagnosed with a torn labrum, had surgery missing almost the entire 1998 season. He did return for three September games. 

In 1999 he was 9-7 with the Royals with a 4.87 ERA thru July. That year he had demanded a trade when he didn't see the team trying to improve since the promise after his signing two years ago. At the trade deadline Appier 
was traded to the Oakland Athletics for Jeff D'Amico, Brad Rigby & Blake Stein.

He had spent ten seasons with the Royals going 115-92 with a 3.92 ERA, winning over 14 games or more, four times, not getting much attention playing for the small market team. 

Appier went 7-5 for the second place A's the rest of the 1999 season.

In 2000 he proved to be a solid veteran on a staff of young star stud pitchers that included the future "big three" Mark Mulder, Barry Zito & Tim Hudson. 

Appier went 15-11 (tied for second on the staff with Gil Heredia) posting 127 strike outs & a 4.52 ERA. He threw a lot of pitches that season, suffering control issues, leading the AL in walks (102). Oakland won the AL Western Division that year.

2000 Post Season:  Appier pitched in two games of the ALDS, including one relief appearance. In Game #2 he allowed three runs on six hits, taking the loss to the AL New York club.

Mets Career: Appier became a high-priced free agent in the offseason, getting signed by the New York Mets. He was to join the NL Champions to replace the departed Mike Hampton. 

 The expectations were certainly for him high as he came to New York, he pitched well at times, but he never did achieve what he was expected to do. Appier's herky jerky motion & beer belly made him look rather odd pitching on the mound.

Making matters worse was that the Mets coming off two straight post season appearances would fall to a 82-80 third place finish.

Mets Career: Appier started out the season, pitching in the second game of the season, against the Braves at Turner Field in Atlanta. He allowed two runs in six innings earning no decision. The Braves won the game on a Keith Lockhart fielder's choice RBI. 

On April 9th, Appier got his first Mets win, beating the rival Atlanta Braves at Shea Stadium. In his next start he lost to the Reds at home, then beat them in Cincinnati for his second win.

Appier then lost four straight games allowing four runs or more each time. On May 2nd, he allowed just one run into the 7th inning against the Astros but took no decision in the loss.

Hit By Pitch Win: On May 24th, Appier broke the losing streak beating the Marlins 11-3 at Shea Stadium. In that game he singled in the 3rd inning off A.J. Burnett. Later in the 5th inning, he was hit by a Burnett pitch but remained in the game. 

On June 3rd, he pitched seven shutout innings in Florida, but took a 1-0 loss to A.J. Burnett. The Marlins won the game on Preston Wilson's walk off hit off John Franco. In his next outing, he pitched another seven-shutout innings, striking out nine earning a win over the Rays in Tampa. 

On June 16th, in the Subway series at Shea Stadium, he allowed just one earned run, a HR to Bernie Williams, but a Robin Ventura error led to an unearned run & Appier took the 2-1 loss.

His next start was his worst of the season, allowing eight runs (seven earned) & eight hits in a 10-3 loss to Montreal. On June 26th he took a loss at Wrigley Field, as he fell to 4-8 with a 4.50 ERA . The sinking Mets were ten games under .500.

On July 7th he got a no decision in another Subway Series game, Appier pitched eight shutout innings, striking out eight in the Mets 3-0 win. The Mets scored three times in the top of the 10th inning with RBI singles from Mike Piazza, Timo Perez & Todd Zeile off pitcher Mariano Rivera.

After two more losses in July he fell to 5-10. 
From August to the end of the month, Appier went on a six-game win streak that lasted through the end of the season. In that stretch of eleven games, he won six games & earned five no decisions posting a 2.94 ERA. 

On August 22nd he won 2-1 game pitching seven innings at Shea Stadium to beat the Rockies. 

On September 1st he then went at it again with A.J. Burnett, taking a no decision, as the Mets pulled out a 3-2 walk off win, in Jay Payton's RBI double.  

Post 911: After the September 11th attacks, he pitched the second game back after playing resumed, beating the Pirates 7-5 in Pittsburgh.

Shut Out: On September 25th, he pitched a four-hit shutout in Montreal, striking out just three walking one in 2-0 win. Mike Piazza homered in the game with Desi Relaford driving in the other run.

In September, Appier went 4-0 posting a 1.87 ERA, as the Mets made a brief run for another playoff berth but fell out of the race in the final weeks. They finished third at 82-80. 

Personally, Appier won 11 games (11-10) tying for the team lead in victories with Al Leiter & Steve

Quotes- Bobby Valentine:
"He could easily have 16 or 17 wins".

He also led the club in strikeouts (172) starts (33) and innings (206) posting a 3.57 ERA. At bat he hit .113 (7-62) with four RBIs. It was a short Mets career for him, as he was traded to the Anaheim Angels that winter for Mo Vaughn.

Post Mets Career: With the Angels he was 14-12 with a 2.92 ERA in their 2002 Championship season, making five post season appearances.

2002 Post Season: 
In the 2002 post season he got two starts in the ALDS win over the AL New York team. He took a loss in Game #2 & a no decision in Game #4.

In Game #1 of the ALCS against the Minnesota Twins. He pitched five innings allowing two runs taking the loss. In the final deciding Game #5 he earned no decision in the 13-5 Angels win over Johan Santana & the Twins.

2002 World Series: In the World Series win over the San Francisco Giants, Appier got the start in Game #2 but was removed after two innings, allowing five runs. He got another start in Game #6 but allowed three more runs & was gone in the 5th inning. Overall, in the Fall Classic he allowed eight runs on nine hits, over six innings pitched earning no decisions.

Back to Kansas City: Appier was traded back to the Kansas City Royals in 2003 where he went 1-2 with a 4.26 ERA. 

In 2004 after two games, he ended his 16-year career due to arm tendon injuries at age 35.

Although he signed a minor league deal in 2005, he never made it back to the majors. 

Career Stats: Appier was 169-137 lifetime, posting 1994 strikeouts (89th all time) with 933 walks in 2595 innings over 414 games, 402
starts (139th all time).

He had 34 complete games with 12 shut outs and a 3.74 ERA. He allowed 232 HRs with 933
walks (144th all time) & 106 wild pitches (93rd all time).

Honors: In 2011 Appier was elected to the Royals Hall of Fame. In 287 games as a Royal he was 115-92 with a 3.49 ERA. 

Family: Kevin & his wife Laurie,
have three children. After baseball he lived full time at his soybean farm, in Paola Kansas, 45 minutes outside Kansas City.


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