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Sunday, November 13, 2022

Jerry Nielsen got ML debut out of way without nerves; Saw two ML seasons with Yankees, Angels

Jerry Nielsen came on in relief for the Yankees in his major league debut in July 1992 and impressed, according to Newsday.

Nielsen went three scoreless, gave up two hits and walked two, Newsday wrote.

"I thought I was going to be a little more nervous, but I wasn't," Nielsen told Newsday afterward. "I was just glad to get that first one out of the way."

Nielsen went on to get 29 more out of the way over that season and the next. His big league time consisted of those two campaigns, his first with the Yankees and second with the Angels. He ended with a 5.91 career ERA.

Nielsen's career began in 1988, taken by the Yankees in the 18th round of the draft out of Sacramento City College and Florida State University. Nielsen was also credited as Gerald Nielsen.

Nielsen started with the Yankees at short-season Oneonta. That August, he spoke to The Sacramento Bee about finishing school before turning pro.

"Everybody says it's better if you sign after your junior year," Nielsen told The Bee. "Money isn't the object for me as long as I'm having fun. I have four years of school done. Right here, that's a lot of money."

Nielsen saw 19 outings, one start at Oneonta. He went 6-2, with a 0.71 ERA. He then moved to single-A and high-A Prince William for 1989 and 1990, then high-A Fort Lauderdale and AA Albany-Colonie for 1991. 

In 1992, he saw Albany-Colonie, AAA Columbus and the Bronx. He got into 20 games in relief for the Yankees and went 1-0, with a 4.58 ERA.

He picked up his win in an August contest, pitching a scoreless eighth inning, according to The New York Times.

"I'm happy about it," Nielsen told The Times after his win. "It's better than a loss."

Nielsen then went to the Angels with J.T. Snow and another player for Jim Abbott. He saw 10 outings with the Angels in 1993. He gave up 11 earned in 12.1 innings.

Nielsen played one more season in the minors, with the Angels at AA Midland and the White Sox at AA Birmingham to end his career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,072
Made the Majors:1,351-33.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,721-66.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:549
10+ Seasons in the Minors:333

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