Friday, March 25, 2016

Scott Erickson, Full Steam - 16

Originally published Nov. 15, 2013
Scott Erickson already had a lot of good stuff to look back on in June 1991, including a win in his 12th-straight decision.

Erickson, though, wasn't about to savor what he'd done. He was all about looking forward, he told The Associated Press.

"I really don't think that's going to help me with my next start," Erickson told The AP. "I have plenty of time the rest of my life to look back. Full steam ahead, I guess you can say."

For Erickson, it took awhile for him to be able to sit back and savor his accomplishments. He didn't stop pitching until 2006, after seeing time in a total of 15 major league seasons.

By the time he was done, Erickson was a world champion, a Cy Young runner-up, an All-Star and he'd thrown a no-hitter. And three of those accomplishments happened in the same season, a magical 1991.

Erickson could also look back on a total of 142 career wins, hitting double digits in wins seven times. The right-hander also struck out 100 or more batters nine times.

Erickson's professional career began in 1989, taken by the Twins in the fourth round out of the University of Arizona.

With the Twins, Erickson started in the minors, but his stay was brief. He started at single-A Visalia, making AA Orlando in 1990. He was in Minnesota by June, just a year after he signed, and he was in the majors to stay.

That first year, Erickson went 8-4 over 17 starts. He also posted a 2.87 ERA. Then came 1991, what turned out to be his career year. In all, Erickson went 20-8, with a 3.18 ERA.

Erickson also made what would be his only All-Star team, though he couldn't pitch due to a strained elbow. His only placement on the Cy Young list, second, came that year and he helped pitch the Twins to the World Series championship.

Erickson returned for 1992, but his fortunes started to turn. He went 13-12 that year, with a 3.40 ERA. For 1993, he was just 8-19, then 8-11 in 1994.

It was also in 1994 that Erickson more than returned to form, at least for a day. Late that April, Erickson faced the Brewers, giving up four walks, hitting a batter, but no hits.

"I got lucky, I think," Erickson told The AP afterward. "It takes more than good pitches to get a no-hitter."

Erickson's run with the Twins ended the next season, traded in July to the Orioles. With the Orioles, Erickson started his most successful run, winning no fewer than 13 games a season from 1996 to 1999.

He also helped pitch the Orioles to consecutive American League Championship Series. In 1997, Erickson opened the ALCS against the Indians by going eight innings, giving up just four hits and no runs.

"We went into a buzz saw," Indians manager Mike Hargrove told The AP after that game, "by the name of Scott Erickson."

After 1999, Erickson had only one complete season, 28 starts in 2002 with the Orioles. He missed all of 2001 and 2003 to injuries. He finished out his career with three seasons where he saw a combined 34 outings, 14 starts. He threw his final major league pitch in June 2006, for the Yankees.

Erickson has since turned to coaching, serving as pitching coach in 2013 for the rookie Arizona League Indians.

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