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Mario Soto

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1985 Topps Glossy Send-Ins #37 Mario Soto

Mario Melvin Soto

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 185 lb.

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[edit] 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 young age in 1973 and broke in with Cincinnati at age 21 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 that year and again finished third in the NL with 151 strikeouts. In 1982, he made the All-Star team for the first time and struck out 274 batters (second in the NL) while recording 9.57 K's per nine innings to lead the league. He went 17-13 with a 2.70 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 1983, a year in which he was an All-Star again and finished second 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 threw a one-hitter against the St. Louis Cardinals, only allowing a homer to George Hendrick with two outs in the ninth inning. 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 that year. Despite posting a losing record in 1985, he was again runner-up for the NL strikeout crown that summer, but he injured his arm the following year. After seeing limited action with the Reds the next two seasons, he was released by the club during the 1988 campaign. He tried a comeback in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, but after just one appearance for the Bakersfield Dodgers, he hung up his uniform for good at age 31.

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.

[edit] 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)

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