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Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brian Fisher, Good Idea - 199

Originally published Dec. 30, 2011
Arriving with the Pirates in 1987, Brian Fisher started off slowly in the bullpen, something Pirates brass realized.

So Pirates third base coach Gene Lamont suggested a new role for Fisher, as a starter, The New York Times wrote.

"They called me in the office and said: 'You're not really throwing well in the bullpen. Don Robinson is going to be the stopper and we know you don't want to be a long man so we're going to try you as a starter,'" Fisher recalled to The Times. "I liked the idea.''

Fisher ended up starting 26 games for Pittsburgh that year, going 11-9, with a 4.52 ERA. He went on to start games in four different major league seasons, pitching in seven.

Fisher's career began in 1980, taken in the second round of the draft by the Braves, out of Hinkley High School in Colorado.

Fisher made AA Savannah by 1983, then AAA Richmond by 1984. For 1985, Fisher arrived with the Yankees, in exchange for Rick Cerone.

Coming out of spring training 1985, Fisher left an impression. That impression was with Yankee manager Billy Martin, according to The Associated Press.

"I've been bragging on him for quite a bit," Martin told The AP after Fisher picked up his first major league save. "He's ready now."

Fisher rewarded Martin's confidence with 55 outings where he posted an ERA of 2.38, by far his best season. Fisher also picked up 14 saves. Fisher returned in 1986 for 62 more relief outings, going 9-5, with a 4.93 ERA and six saves.

For 1987, Fisher arrived with the Pirates in a six-player deal. The newly-minted starter had quick success. By June, he was shutting out the Cubs. In August, he shut out the Cubs again.

Fisher started 22 games for the Pirates in 1988. In 1989, though, he started just three, relieving in six. He was coming off knee and shoulder surgery, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote. He also gave up 15 earned runs in 17 innings.

At AAA Buffalo, Fisher only got into five games, starting all five. By 1990, he was in the Astros system, at AAA Tucson, getting a brief look at Houston. He moved to the Brewers at AAA Denver for 1991, then AAA with Cincinnati and Seattle in 1992.

With Seattle, Fisher returned to the majors for the first time since 1990, when he had four relief outings with the Astros. Fisher ultimately got into 22 games for the Mariners, starting 14. He'd finally made it back from his injuries of 1988 and 1989.

"There were times when I asked my body to do something and I knew how to do it, but it wouldn't respond," Fisher recalled to The AP that September after an eight-inning, five-hit outing. "Now it responds."

Fisher returned for one final season in 1993, but he didn't make it back to the majors. He pitched in 13 games at AAA Phoenix that year, ending his career.

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