From BR Bullpen
Mario Melvin Soto
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.
 Biographical Information
Strikeout artist Mario Soto spent a dozen years in the majors with the Cincinnati Reds and was one of baseball's top pitchers of the 1980s. He was in the top ten in Cy Young Award voting four times before coming down with injuries that ended his career at a fairly young age.
Born in the Dominican Republic, Soto was signed by the Reds at a 17 in 1973 and reached the big league club four years later in 1977. In the 1979 NLCS against the Pittsburgh Pirates, he threw two hitless innings of relief in what would be the only postseason appearance of his career. The following summer, he split his time between the bullpen and the rotation but still finished third in the National League with 182 strikeouts.
A full-time starter in 1981, Soto went 12-9 with a 3.29 ERA and again finished third in the NL with 151 strikeouts. In 1982, he made the All-Star team for the first time. His 274 strikeouts were 2nd in the NL, and 9.57 K's per nine innings led the league. He went 17-13 with a 2.70 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 1983, earning another All-Star nod and finishing 2nd in the Cy Young Award voting despite playing for a last-place team.
Soto's 1984 campaign was a series of ups and downs. On May 12th, he came within one out of a no-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals, surrendering only a homer to George Hendrick. However, later in the summer, he was suspended twice for a pair of on-field fights. Nonetheless, he was an All-Star for the third time and won a career-best 18 games. Despite posting a losing record in 1985, he was again runner-up for the NL strikeout crown, but injured his arm in 1986 and only saw limited action the next two seasons before being released by the Reds during the 1988 campaign. He tried a comeback in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization at just 31, but after just one appearance for the Bakersfield Dodgers he hung up his uniform for good.
The most similar player to Soto at age 31 is Chuck Finley. Since Finley went on from that point to win many more games, getting up to 200 victories, it is fair to say that Soto might have also gotten to 200 wins had injuries not prematurely ended his career.
 Notable Achievements
- 3-time NL All-Star (1982-1984)
- 2-time NL Complete Games Leader (1983 & 1984)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 2 (1983 & 1984)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 4 (1982-1985)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 3 (1982, 1983 & 1985)
 Further Reading
- Don Banks: "Heeding the Red Warning Light: Mario Soto Finally Gave in to His Arm Problems, and Is in Sarasota to Work Them Out", St. Petersburg Times, August 6, 1987, pp. 3C-.
- Phil Elderkin: "Mario Soto Stakes Claim to Stardom with Fastball, Concentration", The Christian Science Monitor, August 5, 1983, 14-. 
- Bruce Jenkins: "The Reds' Proud Junkman", The San Francisco Chronicle, April 12, 1988, pp. D1-.
- Jim Kaplan: "Soto Isn't So-So Anymore: Cincinnati's Mario Soto Has a Striking Mix of Fastballs and Changeups", Sports Illustrated, Volume 57, Number 1, July 5, 1982, pp. 50. 
- Joel Luckhaupt: "Mario Soto", in 100 Things Reds Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, Triumph Books, Chicago, IL, 2013, pp. 114-118. ISBN 978-1600787942
- Michael Martinez: "Youth Takes Command: Mario Soto", The New York Times, April 7, 1986. 
- Mark Whicker: "Mario Soto Proving He's No Throwaway", The Orange County Register, July 28, 1988, pp. C01-.
- Steve Wulf: "His Bad Rep Is a Bad Rap: So Says Cincinnati's Hot-Tempered Fireballer Mario Soto, Who Has Already Been Suspended Twice so Far This Year", Sports Illustrated, Volume 61, Number 4, July 23, 1984.