Wally Whitehurst: Early Nineties Mets Pitcher (1989-1992)

Walter Richard Whitehurst was born on April 11, 1964, in Shreveport, Louisiana. The tall six-foot three right hander was drafted by the Oakland A’s in the third round of the 1985 draft.

In December 1987 Whitehurst came over to the New York Mets in huge three team trade involving the Oakland A's & Los Angeles Dodgers. 

The Mets received Whitehurst & Kevin Tapani, as long time Mets reliever Jesse Orosco, Alfredo Griffin & Jay Howell went to the Dodgers with Bob Welch & Matt Young both going to Oakland.

 In 1988 Whitehurst was 11-10 with a 3.05 for the Mets at AAA Tidewater, (tied for second with John Mitchell) behind Dave West for most wins. Whitehurst then went 8-7 with a 3.25 ERA the following season for the Tides. His best pitch was his sinking fastball, although it too was not overpowering.

Mets Career: Wally made his MLB debut at Shea Stadium in July 1989 in a game against the Houston Astros. He allowed two runs in one inning pitched of relief while earning no decision in the Mets 6-0 loss.

On July 19th, Whitehurst was roughed up for four runs on nine hits, pitching just 2.2 innings of work at Wrigley Field taking a loss to the Cubs. Overall, he went 0-1 in eight appearances posting a 4.50 ERA, getting credit for one hold.

1990 Mets: This season Wally was mostly used as a middle reliever, third on the staff in appearances (38) going 0-1 with two saves. He only walked nine batters in 66 innings pitched, striking out 46.

1991: In 1991 he became a starter, behind a solid rotation of Dwight Gooden, Frank Viola & David Cone. The team disappointed & finished fifth under manager Bud Harrelson who was fired & replaced by Mike Cubbage.

On April 6th, in the fourth game of the season, Whitehurst earned a win in his first start beating the Montreal Expos at Shea Stadium, allowing just two runs in seven innings of work. In his second start he allowed three runs to the Pirates & took his first loss.

In May he collected two wins, as he was used as both as a starter & reliever. On June 23rd he held the Braves scoreless until the 6th inning when Ron Gant hit a HR off him. Gant later homered off Jeff Innis leading Atlanta to a 4-3 win. On June 29th, Wally shut out the Phillies for five innings earning his third win. He followed allowing just a run in eight innings at Montreal earning his third win.

By the 4th of July, he was 5-4 then went on a six-game losing streak, where he allowed four runs or more each time, not earning another victory until early September. 

Overall, in 1991 he started twenty games for the fifth place Mets going 7-12 with a 4.18 ERA. Wally pitched in a career high 144 innings with 87 strikeouts. He had the third most losses on the staff and was summoned back to the bull pen by September.

1992: Wally saw the most action of his career, for the 1992 Mets pitching in 44 games, getting 11 starts. In April he blew a save against the St. Louis Cardinals but was bailed out by Eddie Murrays walk off HR. Later that week he blew a Dwight Gooden 4-3 lead over the Phillies in Philadelphia taking the loss.

From June until late August, he lost five straight decisions although his ERA was just above three. It was a rough year for Whitehurst all along going 3-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 97 innings pitched. 

At the end of the 1992 season the Mets sent Wally and DJ Dozier to the San Diego Padres for Tony Fernandez & a player to be named later.

Post Mets Career: In San Diego Whitehurst would go 8-14 over the next two seasons making 34 appearances. He spent the 1995 season pitching in the minors for four different organizations (Giants, Red Sox, Blue Jays & Expos) all at the minor league level. 

He would make the AL New York club in 1996 but only pitched in two games finishing the year back in the minors.

Career Stats: Lifetime in seven seasons Whitehurst was 20-37 with three saves & a 4.02 ERA. He walked 130 batters and struck out 312 batters in 487 innings pitched in 163 appearances.

Retirement: After his playing days, Wally was a minor league pitching coach & manager. He also has worked as a substitute teacher at his old high school in Louisiana. 

More recently Wally was working as a salesman for a local oil field company.


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