19 DUPACR: Anthony Young

Before we go any further, I need to make something clear: the player I pick to commemorate each day in this countdown is not necessarily someone who is the “best” Met to ever wear that number. In many cases (if not most), in fact, it’s quite the opposite. My apologies for not setting the ground rules ahead of time; this countdown idea came about as a whim during one snowy afternoon while reading the Mets By The Numbers book (there’s also the MBTN website, which is equally entertaining), and I didn’t put much thought into how I’d pick the players. As it is turning out, it is a very personal — and maybe selfish — series, focused on players who stick in my head for one crazy reason or another. (For example, Jackson Todd because of his fight with cancer; Pete Harnisch because of his loose tie to my alma mater.)

That said, I strongly encourage you to use the comments section to post your memories of the players who stick in your head for personal reasons. And/or, suggest your choice for the Met most worthy of representing the number of the day. This blog is supposed to be a conversation WITH YOU, not a one-way communication AT YOU.

So, without further adieu, I bid you Anthony Young as the player to represent the 19th Day Until Pitchers And Catchers Report.

Bobby Ojeda was without question a better pitcher than Young, and he was nearly the man I chose for his savvy, gritty pitching and leadership in 1986. Tim Foli was on the short list as well, partially because anyone with the nickname “Crazy Horse” has to be in the conversation (where did all the nicknames go?). Heath Bell almost made the cut for his constant shuttling between Flushing and Norfolk. And, Lino Urdaneta was considered because of his ERA of infinity.

But in the end, it’s Anthony Young, mainly because I will never, ever forget his 27-game losing streak, and feel it is something that (I hope) will never, ever be broken nor duplicated.

Think about it: how bad do you have to be to lose 27 games in a row? Or: how good do you have to be to lose 27 games in a row and still be in the big leagues?

What’s also rather interesting is that Young broke a record of 19 straight losses previously held by a pitcher named Craig Anderson. When I say “record”, I mean it was both a Mets record and an MLB record — Anderson appeared in 57 games for the Mets from 1962 to 1964. What are the chances that such a significant record of futility would be held by two pitchers for the same franchise in two vastly different eras? Only the Mets.

Again, there are many other #19s more worthy of the honor — please post your nominations, and supporting reasoning (even if it’s personal) — below.

The countdown thus far:

#19 Anthony Young
#20 Howard Johnson
#21 Gary Rajsich
#22 Ray Knight
#23 Doug Flynn
#24 Kelvin Torve
#25 Willie Montanez (no link … sadly, didn’t have time to write a post)
#26 Dave Kingman
#27 Pete Harnisch
#28 John Milner
#29 Alex Trevino
#30 Jackson Todd

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. Professor Longnose January 27, 2011 at 3:20 pm
    Young wasn’t a great pitcher, but he wasn’t that bad, either. He had 12 saves during the losing streak!

    Here’s a nice where-is-he-now article from 2009: http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/mets/2009/01/03/2009-01-03_where_are_they_now_former_met_anthony_yo-2.html

    • Joe Janish January 27, 2011 at 5:42 pm
      Yeah, like I said in the post — you have to have some kind of talent to lose 27 straight games and still have a job in MLB.

      Thanks for sharing that link !

  2. murph January 28, 2011 at 8:51 am
    When I was a kid, I thought whoever lost the most games had to be the worst pitcher in the league. But my dad taught me that you have to be good enough to be given the opportunity to lose that many games, so often times, there has to be some bad luck thrown in there as well.

    Later, when some of my softball buds were discussing some of the most unbreakable records in baseball, I submitted Cy Young’s 316 career losses. You would have to average over 15 losses for 20 seasons. With a 5-man rotation, it is hard enough to accumulate 300 wins anymore, let alone 300 losses.

    Incidentally, 9 of the top 10 career leaders in games lost are in the Hall of Fame.