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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Jeff Kaiser got Griffey for 1st save: Baseball Profiles

Jeff Kaiser 1990 Colorado Springs Sky Sox card

The Tigers' regular closer Mike Henneman injured, Jeff Kaiser found himself in line for his first major league save in August 1991.

All he had to do, was get through Ken Griffey Jr.

With Griffey representing the possible go-ahead run, this encounter would end with Griffey shattering his bat on his knee in frustration. A swing and a miss by the future Hall of Famer and Kaiser his first career save.

"This kind of thing has happened all season, really," Henneman told reporters days later after a second rookie picked up a save. "We've been picking one another up. That's what makes a true baseball team."

Kaiser was genuinely part of a major league team for his longest stint in years. He pitched in 10 games for the Tigers during that stretch run, as the Tigers fell seven games short of a division win.

In his sixth major league season, Kaiser once pitched in 15 games in 1985 for Oakland, but since the left-hand reliever had only enjoyed brief stints in the majors, some cut short by injury.

Kaiser's professional career began nearly a decade earlier, taken by Oakland in the 10th round of the 1982 draft out of Western Michigan University.

He played for short-season Medford in 1982, then single-A Modesto in 1983. He made AA Albany, then AAA Tacoma in 1984. Kaiser's promotion to Tacoma came after winning Player of the Week honors in the Eastern League.

He made Oakland to start 1985. He was promptly greeted by the Seattle, the team he would get his first save against six years later. But this first meeting would have different results. Kaiser gave up five earned runs over 3.1 innings.

Kaiser pitched in 15 games for Oakland that year, posting a ghastly 14.58 ERA. He spent 1986 back at AAA Tacoma, then was traded to the Indians for 1987. He made Cleveland in August, after the Indians traded Steve Carlton to the Twins.

With the Indians, Kaiser's ERA wasn't much better than Oakland. He pitched in just 3.1 innings in two games, giving up six earned runs. He then was injured, with a pulled muscle.

Kaiser stayed with the Indians system through 1990, getting short stints with the big club each year. In September 1989, Kaiser faced his old team the Athletics. Kaiser, according to the wire account, "was a little wild, just the way the A's remembered him." He gave up a bases-clearing triple.

After a short life as a Brewer, the Tigers signed Kaiser in June 1991, making Detroit by mid-August. He spent 1992 back at AAA Toledo. One more year split between the Reds and the Mets and the lefty was done, his career ERA in 50 appearances at 9.17.
Jeff Kaiser 1990 Colorado Springs Sky Sox card
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Reviewed:
172/880 - 19.6%
Players/Coaches Reviewed: 175
Made the Majors: 119 - 68%
Never Made the Majors: 56 - 32%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 48
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 60

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