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Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Greg Cadaret Has Left His Mark On the Game

Left-handed pitchers are one of the most valuable commodities in baseball. Any southpaw with talent has a ready-made major league career ahead of them, which can bring them stardom, or at the very least, allow them to see a lot of the country. Former pitcher Greg Cadaret perfectly fit the mold of the quintessential lefty, which led to a lengthy playing career and a lot of great experiences.

Cadaret was an 11th-round draft choice of the Oakland Athletics in 1983 out of Grand Valley State University. He had mixed success in the minors but finally put everything together and made it to Oakland as a reliever in 1987.

Despite struggling in his rookie season by posting a 4.54 ERA in 29 games, he also had an impressive 6-2 record. His first major league strikeout came against the Detroit Tigers’ Darrell Evans on July 7, and he earned his first win a week-and-a-half later against Bob Stanley and the Boston Red Sox.

Cadaret had arguable his finest major league season in 1988, as he went 5-2 with a 2.89 ERA and three saves in 58 relief appearances. He was a key reliever on that “Bash Brothers” team that went on to famously lose the World Series against Kirk Gibson and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The lefty shone in the series, striking out three in two innings over three appearances.

Working as a reliever and occasional spot starter, Cadaret had a 10-year major league career with eight teams (the Athletics, New York Yankees, Anaheim Angels, Kansas City Royals, Texas Rangers, Detroit Tigers, Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds). In 451 games (35 starts) he compiled a record of 38-32 with a 3.99 ERA and 14 saves.

He last appeared in a major league game in 1998 and retired following a brief minor league stint in 1999.

Since his playing days ended, Cadaret has coached and managed at the collegiate and independent league levels, while also working as a baseball analyst. He recently provided some insight about his playing career, which was as rich and varied as any player you will encounter in the game.

Greg Cadaret Interview:

Who was your favorite player when you were growing up, and why?: Al Kaline. I grew up in Michigan, and he was the epitome of a well-rounded, fundamentally-sound player with humility and integrity.

When did you start feeling confident that professional baseball was going to be a possibility for you?: My sophomore year in college.

Can you describe what your draft day experience was like?: It was before the Internet and TV coverage and I was playing summer ball for Sullivan's Furniture in Grand Rapids, I took the garbage out to the curb and when I got back in the phone was ringing and they hung up before I got there. I didn't know who it was. When a couple of my teammates got home from work they told me Bob Sullivan, the owner, told them I got drafted, but I didn't hear from Oakland until the next day.

What was it like playing for such well known teams like the Bash Brother Oakland A's and the New York Yankees?: It was fun. The game is always more fun when you are playing in the limelight, even though the Yankees weren't winning when I was there; it is still the big stage.

Which pitches did you throw, and which is your best?: I threw fastball, slider, curve, forkball and change. Everything started with the fastball for me.

What is your favorite moment from your playing career?: Probably playing in and pitching in three games in the 1988 World Series.

Who was your favorite teammate and why?: One was Don Mattingly. He kept me sane in New York when the zoo got going. He led by example and reminded me that the game still had to be fun.

If you could do anything differently about your baseball career, what would that be?: I don't live in the past. I am satisfied with my career. If I could have had one result it would have been nice to get four more outs when I took a no-hitter into the eighth inning in New York in 1989.

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