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I love Mark Eichhorn…

Posted by Andy on June 30, 2011

...and I've never even met him.

Eichhorn had a really nice career but flew under the radar because he was a reliever but not a closer.

Very few relievers have multiple seasons with at most 10 saves, 70 IP, and a 200 ERA+:

Rk Yrs From To Age
1 Mark Eichhorn 3 1986 1994 25-33 Ind. Seasons
2 LaTroy Hawkins 2 2002 2003 29-30 Ind. Seasons
3 Paul Quantrill 2 1997 2003 28-34 Ind. Seasons
4 Larry Andersen 2 1989 1990 36-37 Ind. Seasons
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/29/2011.

And how about career ERA+ for pitchers who finished at least 200 games but didn't reach 100 saves:

Rk Player ERA+ GF SV From To
1 Mark Eichhorn 142 226 32 1982 1996
2 Jeff Nelson 133 237 33 1992 2006
3 Dave Veres 131 284 95 1994 2003
4 Steve Howe 130 257 91 1980 1996
5 Rob Dibble 129 204 89 1988 1995
6 Doug Corbett 126 216 66 1980 1987
7 Steve Kline 125 231 39 1997 2007
8 Al Hrabosky 123 307 97 1970 1982
9 Bob Locker 123 288 95 1965 1975
10 Al Holland 123 216 78 1977 1987
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/29/2011.

Since 1980, only 16 pitchers have completed at least 500 innings while allowing no more than 1 homer every 18 innings:

Rk IP HR From To
1 Duane Ward 666.2 32 1986 1995
2 Kent Tekulve 896.1 42 1980 1989
3 Dave Smith 809.1 34 1980 1992
4 Doug Sisk 523.1 15 1982 1991
5 Steve Rogers 1199.0 62 1980 1985
6 Mariano Rivera 1180.1 63 1995 2011
7 Dan Quisenberry 1003.1 54 1980 1990
8 Greg Minton 978.2 39 1980 1990
9 Roger McDowell 1050.0 50 1985 1996
10 Terry Leach 700.0 38 1981 1993
11 Gary Lavelle 563.0 29 1980 1987
12 Steve Howe 606.0 32 1980 1996
13 Mark Eichhorn 885.2 49 1982 1996
14 Chad Bradford 515.2 28 1998 2009
15 Bruce Berenyi 781.2 32 1980 1986
16 Juan Agosto 626.1 30 1981 1993
Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 6/29/2011.

I could go on, but I hope I've already proved my love to be worthy.

57 Responses to “I love Mark Eichhorn…”

  1. Dvd Avins Says:

    Note that Ward (top of the last list) and Eichhorn were teammates in the Toronto pen.

  2. solace Says:

    Eichorn's 86 season was just incredible, I wanted to see him get enough innings to qualify for the era title. IIRC, Cito didn't love him quite as much as Andy, and maybe didn't utilize him to the fullest extent, esp in his second go round in Toronto.

  3. Ghost of Horace Clarke Says:

    Cito was not the manager when Mark was on the team the 1st time and only pitched 1 1/2 years for him when he came back. He already had Duane Ward and Tom Henke in the back end and the starters always gave him at least 6-7 innings. Mark could not handle that workload for more than a few years and it showed by 1992.

  4. Anon Says:

    He was a submariner, wasn't he? His HR numbers are just silly for most of his career. While I remember him (especially with the Angels) I have to admit, I did not realize how many innings he threw with Toronto in the mid 80's.

    BTW his son Kevin was drafted by the DBacks in 2008 and was sent to Detroit this last off-season in the Armando Galarraga deal. Also a pitcher, he's scuffled so far.

  5. Jeff Says:

    I played APBA with the 91 Angels, and Eichhorn was my closer, not Harvey.

  6. John Autin Says:

    His son, Kevin, is a starting pitcher in Detroit's farm system. Dunno if he's a sidewinder, though.

  7. John Autin Says:

    @5, Jeff -- I find that puzzling. In what way was Eichhorn '91 better than Harvey '91? Harvey dominated both lefties and righties, while Eich had his usual large platoon split.

  8. BSK Says:

    That '86 season was sick. WAR of 6.4 What is the highest WAR for a guy who was a reliever but not a starter? I don't even begin to know how to search for that.

  9. Andy Says:

    Couldn't be easier. Pitching Season Finder, set to reliever (say, 80% of the time), then search for most WAR:

    Rk Player WAR Year
    1 Rich Gossage 7.0 1975
    2 John Hiller 6.9 1973
    3 Mark Eichhorn 6.4 1986
    4 Bruce Sutter 6.3 1977
    5 Doug Corbett 5.9 1980
    6 Rich Gossage 5.8 1977
    7 Ted Abernathy 5.8 1967
    8 Greg Minton 5.7 1982
    9 Mariano Rivera 5.4 1996
    10 Dan Quisenberry 5.3 1983
    Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 6/30/2011.
  10. Andy Says:

    If we limit it to guys with no more than 10 saves, we get non-closing relievers:

    Rk Player WAR Year
    1 Mark Eichhorn 6.4 1986
    2 Mariano Rivera 5.4 1996
    3 Steve Farr 4.6 1990
    4 Rafael Betancourt 4.2 2007
    5 Keith Foulke 4.1 1999
    6 Hal Woodeshick 4.1 1963
    7 Tom Gordon 4.0 2004
    8 Tug McGraw 4.0 1971
    9 Bill Caudill 3.9 1980
    10 Octavio Dotel 3.8 2002
    Provided by View Play Index Tool Used
    Generated 6/30/2011.

    Remember Rivera was setting up Wetteland that year.

  11. BSK Says:


    Is there also a way to eliminate guys with X amount of starts? For instance, Eichhorn and Gossage made zero starts in those years, while Hiller made 8 starts. Granted, Hiller's starts weren't anything special, but my assumption is that one can boost their WAR with a handful of solid starts. I'm curious to see strict non-closing relievers (allowing for the handful of saves a non-closer reliever is likely to get... I think 10 is a fair number).

    Regardless, it stands that that season by Eichhorn is pretty easily the best by a non-closing reliever. A full W ahead of the next best guy (who wasn't too shabby himself, that year or in general).

  12. Andy Says:

    WTF BSK? You are acting like a PI noob and you aren't one. Set GS < = 5 or whatever you want.

  13. BSK Says:

    But it's so much EASIER to get you guys to do it! :-p

    I'm still learning how to do all these compound searches. Now, can you tell me who hit the most HRs? Ever?

  14. Andy Says:

    Sadaharu Oh

  15. YoungHickory Says:


    Touché Andy!

  16. Detroit Michael Says:

    Eichhorn should have been the AL Rookie of the Year in 1986 instead of Jose Canseco. Check out the WAR column at

  17. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @13, @14 - or maybe Josh Gibson?

  18. LJF Says:

    Look at Eichhorns minor league page. He was finished in the majors in 1996, but in 1998 he pitched AAA for the Rays affiliate, had 44/11 SO/W and a 1.207 WHIP in 53 games. Then in 2000 (at age 39), he pitched for the Jays AAA team. 16.1 IP, 17 K, 2 BB, a .429 (!!!!!!) WHIP.

  19. Andy Says:

    OMG LOL @ your use of W to mean BB

  20. CJW Says:

    look at this guy who's never heard of strike out to win ratio

  21. Andy Says:

    I KNOW! I'm sooooooooooo ignorant!

  22. LJF Says:

    Heh. See what happens when I get in a hurry? In my mind I typed BB. Unfortunately my fingers rarely listen to my mind.

  23. BSK Says:

    When I was a kid, I always wondered why they didn't use 4B for HR...

  24. Andy Says:

    And to think, when I woke this morning, the first thing I thought was "That BSK...he's so smart!"

  25. BSK Says:

    FWIW, Aaron Crow has a chance to set the record for WAR by a strict reliever with 0 Saves. He is on pace to do so, assuming he continues to pitch as well as he does without getting a save. He's got 2.0 WAR thus far and the record is 3.3.

  26. Andy Says:

    OMG BSK, how did you look that up?!?!?!?!?!

    (I'm in some kind of weird mood today...)

  27. BSK Says:


    I was confused earlier because I said the % of games started and % of games relieved and you can only choose one of those. I didn't think to use the GS feature since I assumed those were the primary/only way of assessing role. Also, I'm on summer vacation AND I'm trying to plan a wedding so my brain is pretty foggy. Plus, I like making you getting your knickers in a bunch.

  28. BSK Says:

    Said = saw in that first sentence...

  29. Andy Says:

    If it isn't clear, I am entirely joking in all of my comments...!

  30. BSK Says:

    Oh, same here! I totally got that you were as well.

  31. Dukeofflatbush Says:

    That '92 Jay staff was something else.
    5 guys on the team had or got a no-hitter.
    Steib, Morris, Cone, Wells & Leiter.
    You had two Cy winners in Hentgen and Cone, and Key, Morris and Steib all finished second.
    At one time or another, 5 members of their bullpen were closers.
    Weathers, Timlin, Eichorn, Henke, and Ward.

  32. Jon Says:

    Now we need a Major/Minor PI to see how many other pitchers had a K/9 under 5 in the minors but over 7 in the majors.

  33. Neil L. Says:

    Andy, fantastic post to give Mark Eichorn his moment in the sun. His name came up in a post in another thread.

    On your second list, Andy, I am surprised to see his ERA+, as a soft tosser, so dominant over all the flame throwers.

    His effectiveness was probably somewhat invisible in traditional, casual-fan metrics. To me, one of the beauties of BBref is that it can surface a gem of a career like this.

    "WTF ....? You are acting like a PI noob and you aren't one."
    Now I am afraid to ever again make a lazy post
    Duke, don`t remind me of the glory days of 1992.

  34. LJF Says:

    wait just a dang blamed minute!!!!! Andy wears knickers???????

    And who knew BSK is a wedding planner?

  35. Neil L. Says:

    Ah but LJF, the question is ........ are Andy's knickers boxers or briefs? 🙂

  36. Andy Says:

    Neil, you already blew it by misspelling Eichhorn.

  37. Neil L. Says:

    And, Duke, the top five of the batting order were no slouches ........ although the J** C***** debate rages on! (Can't use his name)

  38. Neil L. Says:

    Aw Andy, I'm an easy target, just shoot me! 🙂

  39. Neil L. Says:

    Andy, all joking and misspelled (JA will have to rule on that word) names aside, the Mark EichHorn blog is a nice piece and it does highlight what a subscriber can get in BBRef and almost nowhere else.

  40. Ray Johnson Says:

    I met Eichhorn's wife at a game in the old Toronto stadium in 1988. A stunning knock out blonde squeezed perfectly into a pair of skinny jeans. Nice gal too.

  41. kenh Says:

    I loved long relievers. Eich was probably MVP of that 86 team. 157 IP! And in 1985 they had Dennis Lamp who logged 105 IP and went 11-0. Gone are the days of the long reliever who snaps up more than a few wins and logs the innings of a spot starter.

  42. Steve Says:

    Mark also makes an appearance in the PBS documentary "Small Ball: A Little League Story". Mark worked as a coach for his son Kevin's Little League team from Aptos, California that in 2002 made it all the way to the promised land, the LLWS. Worth checking out for all baseball fans.

  43. Jeff G Says:

    As a Yankee fan, I always always impressed and depressed with his pitching performances. I always compared Jeff Nelson as a very similar player. Both underrated and vital to a winning team.

  44. Yippeeyappee Says:

    Being a word guy, I love Mark Eichhorn because he has a double h in his name. Unfortunately I can't do a name pattern search at BR to find out if there are any others with HH.

  45. Neil L. Says:

    Steve, I did not know that!

    Listening to him in his media interactions in Toronto he seemed like a very easy-going, optimistic kind of guy. I don't how he came across in the documentary.

    And he was lights out against right-handed batters, especially in 1986. Mark would start that 78-mph whiffle-ball pitch about 2 feet off the outside corner and throw it for called strikes often enough that batters couldn't always lay off it. (unless my memory embellishes) There was some name for the "out" pitch, a frisbee curve or something like that

    As a recall, RHB's couldn't lay off the pitch very often and made themselves look foolish by overswinging at it. Once around the league, and Eichhorn was in the batters' heads so that with two strikes he could occasionally slip a "fast ball" past them looking because they were looking for the funny ball.

    For someone with a "trick" pitch and delivery, his low walk totals were amazing.

  46. howard rosen Says:

    Solace @2...Eichorn was given the option of starting the final game of the season in order to pitch the five IP necessary to qualify for the ERA title. He would have had to give up a ton of runs to fall behind Clemens. To his credit (IMO) he declined the offer.

  47. Doug Says:

    This was one of my most vivid memories of Eichhorn. I was at this Fenway game in the '86 pennant race, sitting right behind home plate.

    When Eichhorn released the ball, it looked like the pitch was coming right at me, headed for a RH hitter's front shoulder, if not behind his back. Even though it was wiffle pitch, it was still really tough for the hitters to dig in and make a good swing.

    Blue Jays allowed 9 hits and committed 3 errors, but still eked out a 1-0 win in 12 innings on a Jesse Barfield homer. Eichhorn pitched 3.2 innings to take the win. The Jays remained mathematically alive in the pennant race, but then dropped six of their last seven to fall all the way to fourth.

  48. Mustachioed Repetition Says:

    stunning knock out blonde squeezed perfectly into a pair of skinny jeans.

    This post is worthless without pictures.

  49. Neil L. Says:

    MR, for shame, you are a one-woman man! 🙂

    Doug, do you not have memories, also, that hitters would swing from the heels at the funny one, especially pinch hitters and literally lose their balance?

  50. Doug Says:


    I know what you mean, Neil, about Eichhorn making hitters look bad.

    I always had the sense the hitters had conflicted reactions. One part of them was thinking "the ball is coming right at me, I've got to bail" while the other part was thinking "but, I know it's going to end up being a lollipop over the plate, so I'm going to try to wallop it".

    But, that fundamental conflict, I think, is what really prevented most hitters from making solid, balanced swings. Which is why they often ended up looking goofy.

  51. Neil L. Says:

    WIsh there was some MLB video of Eichhorn throwing the frisbee pitch from back then.

  52. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    @ 16 Detroit Michael

    Those 86 awards - Eichhorn was way ahead of Canseco.

    How about Teddy Higuera 8.4 WAR

    Look how Roger robbed his teammate Wade Boggs from a MVP

    Who gave Gary Carter a first place MVP vote???

  53. flyingelbowsmash Says:

    Was Eichhorn's nickname "Double H"?

  54. Abbott Says:

    In 1986, Eichhorn had a .119 batting average against with at least one runner on base. (14-118)

  55. Abbott Says:

    I was a big fan of Eichhorn back in the day (I always prounced it i-korn with a short i).

    Funny thing is, not until today did I realize he had 2 H's in his name.

  56. Abbott Says:

    Correction: make that a .149 average. I was using PAs instead of ABs. Still pretty good though.

  57. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Unfortunately I can't do a name pattern search at BR to find out if there are any others with HH.

    #44, start from this screen: Players. Click each of the letter links ("A," "B," etc.), then use Control-F to search for the text string "hh." Here’s what you get:

    Clay Buchholz
    Taylor Buchholz
    Don Buschhorn
    Mark Eichhorn
    Harry Lochhead

    Lochhead, incidentally, was the starting shortstop for the 1899 Cleveland Spiders.