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Once There Was a Man Named Jesse
2003-07-23 11:09
by Mike Carminati

The Yankees and Red Sox unsured that there would be no lefty-gap yesterday when both clubs picked up a left-hander for their bullpen. The Sox got Scott Sauerbeck for one-time embattled close Brandon Lyons (they also swapped minor-leaguers) as Boston continues their year-long tinkering with the bullpen. When Sauerbeck pitches in a Red Sox uniform for the first time, he will be the 21st man used out of the Boston bullpen. He'll also be the sixth man in that pen to have pitched for another club besides Boston this year (Lyons will make seven). And he is a very intelligent looking man...

The Yanks followed up by getting the old man of the hill, 46-year-old Jesse Orosco. If you look Orosco up in Baseball Reference, you'll see that that two most similar pitches to him at his age are two Hall-of-Famers (with similarity scores):

Hoyt Wilhelm (782)
Satchel Paige (621)

That's pretty impressive until you realize that there have only been twenty pitchers who have pitched in their 45th year and very few were predominantly relievers:

Nick Altrock
Red Faber
Clark Griffith
Joe Heving
Charlie Hough
Tommy John
Fred Johnson
Jim Kaat
Hod Lisenbee
Dolf Luque
Ted Lyons
Bobo Newsom
Phil Niekro
Jesse Orosco
Satchel Paige
Gaylord Perry
Jack Quinn
Nolan Ryan
Hoyt Wilhelm
Kaiser Wilhelm

Another thing to consider about Orosco is that he is now on the club with the best record in the AL and given that club's history, recent or otherwise, he has a good shot of winning another World Series. It has been 17 years since his last World Series win with some other New York team. Then...

And Now...

Orosco has aged well since then. Then again, he appeared well-aged at 30.

Anyway, this got me thinking if that would be the largest gap for a player between World Series victories. I did a query and found that there were four names that had at least 17 years between their first and last Series:

Name# WSFirst YearLast YearDiff
Ernie Johnson21923195734
Pedro Borbon31975199520
Babe Ruth71915193217
Jim Palmer31966198317

The only thing is that there were two Ernie Johnsons (one on the 1923 Giants and one on 1957 Braves) and two Pedro Borbons (1975-76 Reds--of Airplane! fame--and Jr. on '95 Braves) who spanned those years.

That leaves the Babe and Palmer--I think there was only one of each of them. They both had a 17-year span between their first and last World Series win. However, both won Series in the intervening years: Palmer one in 1970 and Ruth, another 5.

So if the Yankees win the World Series and if Orosco is still part of the team at that time, he'll be the first to have a 17-year wait between World Series parades. Then again, at his age almost anything he does will be a first in the majors.

Also, both Palmer and Ruth were twenty years old and were embarking on their first complete season in the bigs when they won their first World Series. Orosco was nine years older and had already recorded 7 seasons in the majors.

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