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Bruce Kison

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Bruce Eugene Kison

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[edit] Biographical Information

Pitcher Bruce Kison was a key member of the Pittsburgh Pirates for nine seasons, primarily as a starter, but never won more than 14 games in a season. He had a reputation as a beanball pitcher, but was troubled by blisters for most of his career. After he hit Mike Schmidt in a game in the mid-1970s, Schmidt yelled at him that he'd come out and get him if he did it again, to which Kison replied "why wait?".

After being drafted by the Pirates in the 14th round of the 1968 amateur draft, Kison reached the majors in 1971, taking the rotation spot of Bob Moose, who was serving in the military. He was 6-5 as a rookie but went on to star in the postseason that year, going 2-0 and not allowing an earned run in three relief outings as the Pirates went on the win the World Series. He was the winning pitcher in the first night game in Series history, on October 13th, and also set a World Series record by hitting three batters in that game. He capped the year by getting married on the same day as the Pirates clinched the championship.

Kison had his best year with the Pirates in 1976, when he went 14-9 with a 3.08 ERA. He threw a pair of one-hitters during his big league career. He pitched in the National League Championship Series four times while with the Pirates, posting an impressive 3-0 record and 0.57 ERA in NLCS play. He was not always dominant in the postseason though. He started Game 1 of the 1979 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, but was chased after only one third of an inning, having allowed 3 hits and 2 walks and thrown a wild pitch; one of the hits was a two-run homer by Doug DeCinces and the Pirates were down 5-0 when he was replaced by Jim Rooker. That proved to be his last game with Pittsburgh as he signed a free agent contract with the California Angels after the season. After injury-filled campaigns in 1980 and 1981, he was 10-5, 3.17 in 1982 as the Angels won the AL West title. He won Game 2 of the 1982 ALCS with a complete game over the Milwaukee Brewers, then gave up 2 runs over 5 innings in the deciding Game 5, but left with a no-decision as the Brewers won, 4-3, to reach the 1982 World Series. Bruce had another good year for the Halos in 1983, going 11-5, 4.05 but fell to 4-5, 5.37 in 1984. A free agent once again, he signed with the Boston Red Sox for a final season in 1985, going 5-3, 4.11 in 22 games.

In 1989, Kison played for the Bradenton Explorers of the Senior Professional Baseball Association and was 2-3 with a 4.53 ERA for the club.

Following his playing days, Kison was a Kansas City Royals coach from 1992 to 1998 and a member of the 1999 Baltimore Orioles staff. In June 2007, he was named bullpen coach of the Orioles when Dave Trembley was named interim manager following the firing of Sam Perlozzo.

Kison's son, Robbie Kison, played in the minors from 1999-2003.

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