Mike Scott was an obscure pitcher for the Mets who almost single handedly derailed their hopes for a pennant in 1986 as a member of the Astros. He won a Cy Young and nearly won another. And then his career was over.
As the Mets were rebuilding in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Scott was just another nondescript pitcher throwing in Queens.
A few seasons, Scott would post sub 4.00 ERAs. But most of the time the Pepperdine University star would lose more than he lost and let up more runs than was worthwhile.
With the likes of Gooden, Darling, Fernandez and Terrell brewing in their system, Scott was expendable and was shipped to Houston for outfielder Danny Heep.
Initially he fared no better in the Astrodome. But in 1985, Roger Craig taught Scott the split finger fastball. And suddenly Houston had an ace.
He threw 221 2/3 innings and pitched to a 3.29 ERA in 1985. His record swelled to 18-8 and he blossomed at age 30.
In 1986, he put on a tour de force season. He led the NL in ERA, shutouts, innings pitched and strikeouts, where he fanned an astonishing 306. There were whispers of his scuffing the ball but he kept winning.
Roger Craig may have regretting teaching Scott the split finger when he no hit Craig’s Giants to clinch the 1986 NL West title.
If Scott’s haunting of Craig was whimsical, he was a terrifying sight for his fomer club, the Mets.
He threw a complete game shutout in Game 1 of the 1986 NLCS, neutralizing the Mets ace Dwight Gooden. He tossed another complete game victory in Game 4. The Mets, knowing that Scott was unbeatable, desperately clawed to win the other games. Two of the New York victories at Shea were dramatic walk offs. Game 6 of the NLCS was an exhausting 16 inning marathon where the Mets played like it was a Game 7. They knew that if Scott pitched Game 7, there was no for them to win.
The Mets won the NLCS and yet Scott, who struck out 19 in 18 innings while allowing a single run, earned the MVP.
Scott continued his winning ways with a solid 1987 and 1988 before posting his lone 20 win season in 1989. He would be the Cy Young runner up to Mark Davis, a reliever for the San Diego Padres.
After a down year in 1990, he pitched two games in 1991, the year this card was issued. Scott lost both games and his career was over.
Injuries ended his career that stopped almost as quickly as it skyrocketed with a split finger fastball.
This 1991 card of Scott always made me scratch my head. He made his living on the mound and striking out batters. So why not show Mike Scott with a batting helmet on and trying to lay down a bunt?
The .124 career hitter never made much of an impact with that bat!