Chuck Solomon
January 06, 2017

Jesse Orosco proved that if you're lefthanded and can throw at least 80 mph, you can pitch forever. Orosco spent 24 years (1979, '81-2003) in the majors, tossing for nine teams. Drafted by the Twins in 1978, he was traded to the Mets for lefty Jerry Koosman the following year and became a mainstay of their bullpen, topping 100 innings in both 1982 and '83, making the NL All-Star team in '83 and '84 and reaching double digits in saves ever year from '83 to '87. He was a crucial part of the 1986 world champions' bullpen, saving 21 games with a 2.33 ERA in the regular season, collecting three wins in the NLCS against the Astros—including the decisive Game 6—and closing out Game 7 of the World Series against the Red Sox. The shot of him kneeling, arms aloft in celebration after the final out became a ballpark staple, first at Shea Stadium and now at Citi Field.

In December 1987, Orosco was dealt to the Dodgers, whom he helped to the 1988 championship. That began a decade-and-a-half run as a lefty specialist as he passed through Cleveland, Milwaukee, Baltimore, St. Louis, Los Angeles (again), San Diego, the Bronx and—taking things full circle in his final season—back to Minnesota. In 1999, he broke Dennis Eckersley's career mark of 1,071 games pitched, and he furthered that to a total of 1,252 while pitching past his 46th birthday. That record could last a long time, but it translated to just a single Hall of Fame vote in 2009. 

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