Adrian T. Meagher
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 205 lb.
Adrian Meagher was one of the top Australian pitchers of the 20th Century. He reached AAA in the US, was MVP of the Australian Baseball League once and later came out of retirement and pitched well enough to win a Gold Medal in the Intercontinental Cup, the first Gold ever won by an Australian national team.
Meagher was with the Australian national team for the 1982 Amateur World Series. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1983 and debuted with the Lethbridge Dodgers the same year. He had a 1-1 record, one save and a 4.67 ERA but walked 21 batters in 27 innings. In 1984, the 25-year-old pitched well for the Vero Beach Dodgers, going 8-7 with 10 saves and a 3.53 ERA. He walked 51 in 81 2/3 IP but struck out 84. He finished sixth in the Florida State League in saves. Meagher moved up to AA with the San Antonio Dodgers in 1985; his record there was 8-5, 3.70 with 9 saves; he struck out 76 and allowed 72 hits in 88 innings, walking 44.
In 1986, the right-hander pitched for the Albuquerque Dukes; he was one step away from becoming the first Australian major leaguer to debut in the 20th Century. Unfortunately, he did not make it and Craig Shipley took the honor instead that season. Meagher was 1-3 with a 6.47 ERA in 28 games; he struck out 39 in 49 innings while allowing 42 hits and 25 walks. One should note that this was one of the Pacific Coast League's high-scoring eras; the Albuquerque staff had an ERA of 5.04.
Meagher moved to the Milwaukee Brewers organization in 1988; he split the year between the El Paso Diablos (2-1, 1 Sv, 3.20, 12 BB in 39 1/3 IP) and the Denver Zephyrs (5-7, 4.52, 42 BB in 81 2/3 IP) for his last year in the USA.
When the Australian Baseball League was formed in 1989-1990, Meagher was player-manager of the Gold Coast Clippers. He guided them to a 16-21 record; on the hill, he was 3-4 with a 3.36 ERA on the mound. In the 1990-1991 ABL, he managed the team, now known as the Daikyo Dolphins, to a 31-9 record. His pitching was a nice part of that as he was 6-1 with a 2.54 ERA. He won Manager of the Year honors.
Daikyo fell to 28-19 in 1991-1992 and then won the playoffs. Meagher's pitching was stellar; he was 13-2 with a 1.93 ERA despite working on limited rest often. He walked 21 and whiffed a then-record 102 in 107 innings, allowing only 3 home runs. He led the ABL in ERA, wins (4 more than the runner-up), strikeouts, innings pitched and K:BB ratio. He won the Pitcher of the Year and MVP awards.
Daikyo became the Gold Coast Dolphins in 1992-1993 and fell to 6th at 19-26. Meagher still was 9-3 with a 2.55 ERA as the other pitchers were a combined 10-23. He tied Carlos Reyes and David White for the most wins in the ABL and was named the second-team All-Star SP after Reyes. He coached for Australia in the 1993 Intercontinental Cup.
At age 35, Adrian was 4-4 with a 3.96 ERA in 1994-1995 and decided to retire due to arm injuries he had battled for years. He coached for Australia in the 1997 Intercontinental Cup, when they won their first Medal ever in a worldwide tournament.
In 1998, Meagher made a comeback - and it turned out to be a great one. Now 39 years old, he came out of retirement to pitch for the Australian team in the 1998 Baseball World Cup, now that professionals were allowed to play. He allowed two runs in four innings out of the bullpen. He returned to action in Australia with a 6-1, 3 save, 2.97 ERA season for the Gold Coast Cougars in 1998-1999. He was named the ABL's second-team All-Star reliever. He then won two games in the playoffs to help the Cougars win the title.
In the 1999 Intercontinental Cup, the 40-year-old hurler was dominant. He went 2-0 with a 0.47 ERA, allowing 7 hits and two walks in 19 innings while striking out 21. In the Gold Medal game, he gave up just one run in six innings in relief against the Cuban national team and Australia went on to its first Gold Medal in any major international competition. He tied for second in the 1999 Cup in wins and tied Tae-hyon Chong and Hiroki Kuroda for second in strikeouts, behind only Ciro Licea. Meagher was named to the tournament All-Star team as the top right-handed hurler.
The former retiree was 2-1 with a 1.29 ERA for the Queensland Rams in the 1999-2000 International Baseball League of Australia. In the 2000 Olympics, he was 1-0 with a 6.00 ERA in two games for the Aussies. Meagher allowed one run in three innings in the 2000-2001 IBLA to conclude his career.
Meagher had gone 48-22 with 4 saves and a 3.02 ERA in Australian league competition and 25-24 in Organized Baseball. Through 2007, he was third all-time in Australia in ERA behind Graeme Lloyd and Don Lemon, 4th in innings pitched (482), 3rd in wins behind Phil Dale and David White, not in the top 10 in losses, second in strikeouts (430, behind Dale), not in the top 10 in walks, tied for third with 19 complete games, 5th in lowest opponent average (.226) and third in K:BB ratio behind Lloyd and Shayne Bennett.
In 2005, he was inducted into the Baseball Australia Hall of Fame as part of the initial class.