Sunday, April 20, 2008

John Urrea

 Here's John's 1981 Topps card.  Career stats (as of 1981): 315 IP, 15 W, 16 L, 183 K, 3.94 ERA.  Born 2/9/55 in Los Angeles, CA.

The back of John's card notes that he answers to the nickname "Chief" and he was drafted as the St. Louis Cardinals #1 pick in 1974.  It wasn't until '77 that the Cardinals brought him up from the minors where he earned a whopping $25,000 that year.  A wise investment by the Cardinals management because it bought them a 7 win, 3.15 ERA effort from Chief and a third place finish in the NL East, 18 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.  Chief was showing off his talent that led him to be a #1 pick.  So with renewed confidence Chief headed into the 1978 season ready to deliver the Cardinal faithful a much needed winning season.  However, maybe being too confident, Chief went on to throw a big fat 5.36 ERA accompanied by 4 wins and 9 losses and the Cardinals finished 5th in the NL East, 21 games behind the Philadelphia Phillies.  Now making his home in St. Louis, his friends and neighbors were to reassure him with the old "sophomore jinx" excuse.  That was soon thrown out the window when Chief pitched in just 3 games with 4.09 ERA for the '79 Cardinals before being sent down to the minors and being converted into a relief pitcher.  It was a role that seemed to suit Chief who was brought back up to the majors and recorded 3 saves with a 3.46 ERA in 1980. But in 1981 the Cardinals sent Chief packing for the west coast.  He was part of a trade with the San Diego Padres that sent Rollie Fingers, Bob Shirley, Gene Tenance and Bob Geren to St. Louis in exchange for his relief services.  The Padres released Chief in 1982 and he hasn't pitched for a major league team since.

No comments: