George Friederich Sherrill
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 0", Weight 210 lb.
- School Austin Peay State University
- Debut July 16, 2004
After graduating from Austin Peay State University, and flying under the MLB draft radar, George Sherrill started his journey to MLB in the Independent Leagues. He had two seasons in Evansville's Frontier League, one as a starter, and then moved into the Northern League, first with Sioux Falls. Along with fellow Winnipeg Goldeyes southpaw Bobby Madritsch, George was signed away from the Independent League by former Mariners scout Charlie Kerfeld. He immediately made the jump to San Antonio, and proved Kerfeld's scouting genius by giving up just one run in 27+ innings in the Texas League.
A 62:9 K:BB ratio in AAA Tacoma was one of the things that helped earn him a spot in the PCL All Star Game in 2004. However, he didn't get to pitch in the game -- both he and fellow PCL All Star (and 2004 PCL All Star Game HR champion) Bucky Jacobsen got the call before the game informing them of their promotion to the majors. He pitched 21 games out of the bullpen in 2004, before being shut down in mid-September (having pitched for nearly 16 straight months, including the Arizona Fall League and the Puerto Rico Winter League).
In spite of pitching well in 2005 Spring Training, the M's stashed George down in AAA Tacoma, rather than risking the loss of former top draft pick Matt Thornton (who was out of options). George continued to pitched well in AAA Tacoma, racking up 7 saves and a 31:6 K:BB ratio in 22 games out of the bullpen. He was called up for a week in May, made one appearance (facing the then-hottest-hitter-in-baseball Tino Martinez, who grounded to third with the bases loaded) and then sent down. He battled the injury bug a bit, and then rejoined the M's for good on July 31, replacing Ron Villone, sent to Florida in a deadline trade for prospects. A rough outing on the last game in 2005 nearly doubled his ERA.
In 2006, Sherrill broke Greg Minton's MLB record for games pitched in a season without allowing a home run by appearing in 72 contests. He only held the record for one year before Brian Shouse broke it. He had another solid seaon in 2007, pitching 73 games with a 2-0 record, 3 saves and a 2.36 ERA as a LOOGY.
Sherrill was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in the deal that send O's ace Erik Bedard to Seattle in the 2007-08 offseason. Sherrill stepped into the injured Chris Ray's shoes and became an all-star closer for the surprising Orioles, gathering 27 saves by the 2008 All-Star break. As a reward for his production, Sherrill was named to the AL All-Star team. However, he did not keep up his production over the second half, ending the season with 31 saves, earning his last one on August 5. He gave up 10 earned runs over his last 10 outings, to push his ERA for the season to 4.73 while missing a whole month of play due to a shoulder inflammation. That poor second half, combined with Ray's anticipated return from injury in 2009, raised doubts about Sherrill's future with the Orioles.
On July 30th, 2009, Sherrill was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for Josh Bell and Steve Johnson. In spite of losing his role as closer, he did have one save for the Dodgers and pitched well enough (sporting a 0.65 ERA) to help the Dodgers reach the playoffs. In the NLCS, former teammate Raul Ibanez hit a 3-run home run in the 8th inning, giving the Philadelphia Phillies the lead for good. The last lefty to homer off Sherrill had been Pittsburgh's Adam LaRoche on June 14, 2008.
--contributed in part by Paul Marsh, Mariners Morsels (aka "Free George Sherrill")
- AL All-Star (2008)
- 30 Saves Seasons: 1 (2008)