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RIP Anthony Young

As we delve more into the numbers and become more knowledgeable about the stats which truly indicate what makes a pitcher good or bad, we have begun to dismiss win-loss record.  It has gotten to the point where many want to disregard it all together.  Reflecting back on the life of Anthony Young, it is hard to say that wins and losses don’t matter anymore.

Starting on May 6, 1992, Young would begin his MLB record setting 27 game losing streak.  He lost games in all ways possible.  He was the hard luck loser losing games when he had a good start.  He lost games getting his doors knocked off.  He came out of the bullpen, and he lost a game on a big hit.  He would leave with runners on base and another pitcher would let them score.  In the stretch, Young was 0-14 as a starter, and 0-13 as a reliever.

Something odd happened during this time.  Initially, Young was booed and booed mercilessly.  On an under-performing 90 loss Mets team who once had designs on winning the World Series, Young had become symbolic of all that was wrong with the Mets – talented people who were just not performing.  Eventually, those boos came to cheers; cheers that were almost willing Young to a victory.

Young was admirable in the stretch.  You didn’t see the quote in the paper ripping the team.  There was no Jon Niese moment of blaming his catcher, his defense, or anyone else.  He took it like a man, and he kept going out there doing his job.

He also got to lose all of those games because he was a talented pitcher.  Too often, that gets lost in everything.  Young was talented.  It is why when John Franco went down to injury, Jeff Torborg instilled Young as the team’s closer.  It was at that time, we learned a save does not in fact interrupt a losing streak.  For those that forget, Young was able to record 15 saves during that 1992 season.  One thing he wasn’t able to do was vulture a win.

No, that elusive win would not come until July 28, 1993.  On that day, his team would finally pick him up.  After giving up the lead in the top of the ninth, the Mets would rally against the Florida Marlins.  The rally would begin with Jeff McNeil.  There is an odd symmetry there as McNeil was another player from those teams who died too young.  A few years ago, McNeil would die of leukemia at the age of 52.

After an Eddie Murray RBI double, Young would finally get his win, and the Shea faithful couldn’t have been happier for him:

Without that losing streak?  Young is just a footnote in major league history.  With that losing streak, Young mattered.  He will forever be remembered, and it turns out he was a person worth remembering.

He left behind a family and former teammates that were devastated by his passing away.  He leaves behind a fan base who can now actually reminisce about those terrible 1992-1993 Mets.

As we know, Young fought and fought bravely.  Recently, there had been reports his inoperable brain tumor had taken a turn for the better.  There were reports the tumor was shrinking.  At that point, there was hope Young could beat a cancer more daunting than a 27 game losing streak.  Unfortunately, Young wasn’t getting better.  It was just a short lived victory.

At the age of 51, Anthony Young has passed.  With him passing, people have lost a family member and a friend.  Fans lost a player they once cheered.  Everyone lost a person who handled one of the toughest situations a professional can face with grace and humility.  When someone like Young passes, we all lose.

Looking back at the life of Anthony Young, it is hard to tell anyone that losses no longer matter in baseball.  In fact, losses matter more now than they ever have.

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