Graeme John Lloyd
- Bats Left, Throws Left
- Height 6' 7", Weight 234 lb.
- Debut April 11, 1993
- Final Game September 27, 2003
- Born April 9, 1967 in Geelong, Victoria, Australia
A product of the Toronto Blue Jays' international scouting department, left-handed relief pitcher Graeme Lloyd was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1992 Rule V Draft, and then traded to the Milwaukee Brewers shortly thereafter. In 1993, he formed the first All-Australian battery in MLB history, teaming with Dave Nilsson. At the end of four unremarkable seasons in the Brewers' bullpen, he was traded to the New York Yankees in late August, 1996 as part of a five-player deal. He was awful in the regular season for the Yankees, posting a 17.47 ERA in 13 games (managing barely 5 2/3 innings of work), but he was outstanding in the post-season, being used 8 times and allowing no runs on one hit and no walks while striking out 5 batters in 5 1/3 innings. The Yankees won their first World Series title since 1978 that year. Lloyd was still on their staff when they won another title in 1998, once again keeping a clean ledger in the post-season (in only three appearances though).
Lloyd was traded to the Blue Jays before the 1999 season, as part of the deal that brought Roger Clemens to New York. He had a good season for the Blue Jays, going 5-3 with 3 saves, and then became a free agent. At that point, Jeffrey Loria had become the new majority owner of the Montreal Expos and wanted to make a splash by acquiring two players he had followed as a Yankee fan. Lloyd was signed to a free agent contract - a first for the Expos in many years - while the Expos dealt three talented young pitchers to pry Hideki Irabu from the Yankees. Hideki was a huge bust and the following months would prove terrible for Lloyd: his wife Cindy died of Crohn's disease over the winter, and he injured himself in spring training, missing the entire 2000 season. He came back strong in 2001, being the winning pitcher on opening day and compiling a career-high 9 wins for the year, in 84 appearances out of the bullpen. After a good start in 2002, he began to show signs of fatigue from the previous year's overuse, and was traded to the Florida Marlins in mid-season as his ERA had ballooned to 5.87. He objected to the trade and filed a grievance because the Marlins were on the no-trade list he had submitted to the Expos; however, arbitrator Shyam Das ruled against him, because he had submitted his list too late. At the heart of the matter was Lloyd's personal distaste for Florida owner Loria, dating back to the time he owned the Expos. The trade being allowed to stand, Graeme pitched slightly better for the Marlins, going 2-2, 4.44 in 25 games. He became a free agent again after the season.
Graeme Lloyd pitched one last season in the majors in 2003 after signing with the New York Mets in the off-season. He went 1-2, 4.24 in 36 games for the Mets then was traded to the Kansas City Royals on July 28th for Jeremy Hill. He rounded out his career with a 5.07 ERA in 16 games over the last two months of 2003. He decided to join the Australian Olympic team after the season, leading to his medal-winning performance in Athens the following summer.
Lloyd was one of the tallest pitchers of his generation, standing 6' 7". Yet, for all his height, he did not have a particularly good fastball, relying more on breaking balls to keep batters off-balance. He was used as a LOOGY for much of his career and he ended with fewer innings (533) than games pitched (568). He was also one of the pioneers of the wave of Australian players to reach the majors in the late 1990s, after Craig Shipley and Nilsson, but before Mark Hutton and Mark Ettles who would make their debut later in the 1993 season (Lloyd was on the Brewers' opening day roster that year).
Lloyd coached for Australia in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, 2010 World Junior Championship (when they won their first Silver Medal ever at a World Junior Championship), 2011 World Youth Championship, 2011 Baseball World Cup, 2013 World Baseball Classic, 2014 Women's Baseball World Cup (Bronze Medal) and 2017 World Baseball Classic Qualifiers.