Wednesday, June 4, 2014

#414 Tom Gorman

Card thoughts: There have been three major league players named Tom Gorman, all pitchers.  This one was nicknamed Gorfax (note: short for Goose Koufax, even more inexplicable) for some reason. This is his last Topps card.

The player: Although Gorman wasn’t a big winner for the Mets, he figured in several memorable games.

Gorman had yet to establish himself other than a “generic struggling lefty” before being traded from the Expos to the Mets for #177 Joel Youngblood. He ended up winning eight straight decisions, mostly in relief, for the Mets between 1983 and 1985, including a win on Opening Day the latter year (which he had predicted to Davey Johnson earlier that day). Despite the wins, Gorman only really had one good year, 1984, when he was undefeated (6-0) with a 2.97 ERA.

By 1985, he was used mainly in a mop-up role, where he was the winner in the marathon 19-inning Mets-Braves game which light-hitting pitcher #419 Rick Camp famously tied with a home run (that came off Gorman). He also was the winner in an 18 inning game against the Pirates that occurred a few weeks before. And finally, Gorman was the losing pitcher in a 26-7 blowout against the Phillies. Gorman, an emergency starter, gave up 6 runs in 1/3 of an inning. #210 Calvin Schiraldi, who followed him to the mound, gave up 10 runs in an inning and a half.

With the Mets having a stacked bullpen in 1986, Gorman was cut on the last day of spring training. A few remaining games for the Phillies and Padres the following two years, and stops in the Twins and A’s minor league systems finished off his career. Gorman now coaches baseball in Oregon City, OR, and is a high school sales rep for Nike.

Rear guard: Gorman's first win came as the fourth reliever in an 8-7 win over the Padres. He struck out three and gave up two hits.

"Clouted": an awkward verb. Cleon Jones was a decent hitter for the late 60s/early 70s Mets, but the most home runs he ever hit was 14. Here's his 1972 card.

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