Curt Young: Near-Misses and Lucky No. 13 in the Late 1980s

Christopher WoodleyContributor IIIJuly 5, 2013

Curt Young is in his second stint as Oakland pitching coach.
Curt Young is in his second stint as Oakland pitching coach.

The name Curt Young probably does not come to mind when you think of great pitchers of the 1980s. He finished his 11-year career (1983-1993) with a fairly ordinary 69-53 record with Oakland, New York Yankees and Kansas City.

But it was in 1986 and 1987 that Young pitched two of the best games of each season.

Usually the No. 13 is bad luck, but it was a great number for Young. He finished 13-9 in 1986, followed by a 13-7 mark in 1987 for Oakland. But since this blog is about going beyond the stats, let’s take a look at two of his wins in particular.

Few pitchers have thrown no-hitters in consecutive seasons. However, Young nearly turned the trick in the late 1980s.

On the final day of the 1986 season, Young ended the campaign in style by tossing a one-hitter in a 6-0 win over Kansas City. Young retired the first 20 batters with two outs in the seventh inning. But Kevin Seitzer’s single ended his bid for perfection. No other Royal reached base as Young settled for a one-hitter. His performance followed a hard-luck, 3-0 loss at Texas after Young allowed three runs on only three hits over eight innings.

On June 9, 1987, Young faced the White Sox. While not as sharp as his performance a year earlier against the Royals, he took a no-hitter to the eighth inning despite allowing a sixth-inning run. Ozzie Guillen had collected an RBI groundout following a walk and error.

A walk to Fred Manrique was sandwiched between a fly out and a groundout. But just when it appeared that Young would only need three outs for a no-hitter, Ken Williams disappointed the 12,505 in attendance at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum with a two-run home run. Oakland won the game 8-3, but Young had to settle for another one-hitter.

Thirteen wins and one-hitters in consecutive seasons were good accomplishments for Young. But if two pitches had been outs instead of hits, more baseball fans might remember Curt Young.

This article is from my blog entitled "Baseball History: Beyond the Stats." Click here to view the blog.