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Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Cesar Mejia, Wasn't Nervous - 540

Read the June 2014 Cesar Mejia interview: Cesar Mejia, Paid Back

Originally published June 2, 2011
Going into the ninth inning, Cesar Mejia wasn't nervous, he told The Schenectady Gazette.

Playing for AA Glens Falls in April 1988, Mejia had a no-hitter going against Albany-Colonie. He also finished it out, Mejia's lack of nerves showing.

"It feels great," Mejia told The Gazette after completing his feat. "Not many pitchers have a chance to pitch a no-hitter. I am very happy."

Mejia got the no-hitter and he got to play in affiliated ball for six seasons, but he never got to play in the majors.

Mejia's professional career began in 1985, signed by the Blue Jays out of his native Dominican Republic. He split his time that first year between the rookie Gulf Coast League and single-A Florence, posting an ERA of 3.18 between them.

Mejia returned to Florence in 1986, going 9-7 with a 3.50 ERA in a mix of starting and relief appearances. He got one of his wins in June, giving up nine hits and two runs over five innings.

Mejia remained in single-A for 1987, at Myrtle Beach. There, he went 7-4 with a 2.73 ERA. In June, Mejia pitched a complete game in the second half of a double header for a win.

That off-season, Mejia joined the Tigers system, taken by Detroit in the minor league draft. With the Tigers, Mejia moved to AA at Glens Falls, getting that early no-hitter in April.

On the season, Mejia continued that early success, going 14-5 in 25 starts, with a 2.43 ERA. Mejia not only made the All-Star team, he also won 1988 Eastern League Pitcher of the Year honors.

With that success, the Tigers sent him and two others to the Orioles in September to complete an earlier trade for Fred Lynn.

Mejia spent 1989 between AA Hagerstown and AAA Rochester. Between them, he went 9-7 with a 4.24 ERA. Six of those losses came at Rochester. Mejia went 6.2 innings with Rochester in a late April start, while giving up a single run. But, by late July, Mejia was back down at Hagerstown, winning four straight decisions.

Mejia joined the Mets for 1990, getting 18 appearances at AAA Tidewater, 15 of those starts. In one June relief appearance, Mejia gave up four runs in an inning. On the year, Mejia went 6-3 with Tidewater, with an ERA of 4.96. It was his last year in affiliated ball, his career ending without making the majors.

By 2007, Mejia was working with the Phillies, coaching in the Dominican Summer League. Working with young pitchers there, Mejia told The Philadelphia Weekly that August that, at that level, he was constructing pitchers, not developing them.

"When they come here, they don't know how to throw the ball," Mejia told The Weekly. "So how can you teach them how to pitch? If they don't know the basics, how are you going to develop these guys? I have to start from the basics."

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