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Rick Honeycutt

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Frederick Wayne Honeycutt

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[edit] Biographical Information

Rick Honeycutt pitched 21 seasons in the big leagues. He was a starter from 1977-87 and then a reliever from 1988-97. He led the 1983 American League in ERA although he was traded out of the league on August 19.

Honeycutt, born in Chattanooga, TN, attended the University of Tennessee at the same time as Mike Smithson. Smithson went in the 5th round of the 1976 draft while Honeycutt went in the 17th round. The two would eventually be reunited as starters on the 1983 Texas Rangers.

Rick went 5-3 for Niagara Falls in 1976 and then 10-6 for Shreveport in 1977. The Pittsburgh Pirates made him the "player to be named later" in a trade to the Seattle Mariners in August, and he made his major league debut two days later, a couple months after he had turned 23 years of age.

Honeycutt spent four years with the Mariners, posting a losing record each year. To be fair to Rick, however, the Mariners were a new and unsuccessful team, losing far more games than they won. In 1979, Rick managed to go 11-12 on a team that went 67-95.

After the 1980 season Rick was traded to the Texas Rangers, where he was to spent 1981-82 and most of 1983. He went 11-6 in 1981 and 14-8 in 1983. He was traded in August to the 1983 Dodgers, while Dave Stewart came over to the Rangers in the same trade.

Rick was with the Dodgers from August 1983 to August 1987, appearing in post-season play in 1983 and 1985. His ERA in 1984 was sixth in the league. He was traded in August 1987 for Tim Belcher, and thus came to the 1987 Athletics. Dave Stewart, for whom Rick had earlier been traded in 1983, was also on the Athletics.

The A's in 1987 were a team on the verge of greatness, and Honeycutt was in post-season play with them in 1988-90 and 1992. Tony LaRussa made him a reliever, something he did also to Dennis Eckersley, who also came to the A's in 1987.

Honeycutt had 12 saves in 1989, along with a 2.35 ERA.

By 1993 he was one of the oldest players in the league. He signed with the Texas Rangers after the 1993 season, and after one year with them he came back to the A's for 1994. He went 5-1 with the A's, and briefly appeared with the division-winning 1995 Yankees at the end of the season.

He was bought by the St. Louis Cardinals and played for them in 1996-97 as the oldest player in the National League. In 1996 he had 65 appearances and a 2.85 ERA. He appeared eight times in post-season play with the Cards that year.

After his playing career ended, Rick was the Los Angeles Dodgers' minor league pitching coordinator from 2002 to 2005. He was named pitching coach of the Dodgers in 2006.

A biography of Honeycutt at the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame says that Rick grew up in northern Georgia and went to Lakeview High School where he played football, baseball and basketball. The baseball team was a state champion. In college he not only pitched well but was a top hitter. In his first professional game, he batted clean-up even though he was the pitcher, and he hit a home run in his first at-bat. He might have pitched in the majors even longer than he did except for elbow surgery at the age of 43. He moved back to Chattanooga in 1988 and eventually opened a large sporting goods store.

His 797 career major league appearances put him in the top 50 of all time (through 2008).

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time AL All-Star (1980 & 1983)
  • AL ERA Leader (1983)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1983)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1980 & 1983)
  • Won a World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1989

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