Wednesday, January 28, 2009

#27 - Joe Cowley

There is zero chance Joe finished his career without being called the Cowley Lion several times. To perpetuate the animal similarity, Joe looks like a deer in the headlights in this photo. I can't believe that of all the shots they snapped during this spring training session, THIS was the best one. At least we have a nice, new, black Mizuno glove to show for it. AND we have a great look at those retro White Sox unis. Any baseball fan knows the ChiSox have had some bad, bad, bad uniforms over the years, but I still think these look cool. You know, when they're not on a player who looks like he spent all night at Denny's.

I don't know much about Cowley, but I'm not sure why his career fell off a cliff. I'm going to assume injury, because after two consecutive solid seasons:

1985: 26 starts, 12-6, 3.96
1987: 27 starts, 11-11, 3.88

...Cowley pitched only 11 more innings in the big leagues. And those 11 innings did not go well (15.43 ERA). Those innings came over 4 starts in April of '87, so it's possible he just lost his effectiveness, was sent down and never came back.


  1. I actually remember that there was some optimism when the Phillies picked him up, and then he really flamed out in memorable fashion. And standing out as a ineffective pitcher on the '87 Phillies definitely took some doing.

  2. How on earth was that a .500 team?

  3. Cowley developed Steve Blass disease in spring training of 1987. He always had some control problems, which is why he wasn't dominant even though he had amazing movement on the ball. But in April of 1987, he simply couldn't throw strikes at all. He tried a few times in the minors, with horrible results. The Phillies finally sent him home for the rest of the season, but he never recovered, and eventually retired.

    Sports Illustrated did a feature on him a year or two later. To this day, he still doesn't understand why he suddenly couldn't find the plate.