Chip Lang

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Robert David Lang

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Biographical Information[edit]

Chip Lang was born on August 21, 1952 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was the 2nd round pick of the Montreal Expos in the 1970 amateur draft out of North Hills Senior High School in Pittsburgh. In his last two years in high school, he tossed four no-hitters.

In his first few years, Lang was considered a big-time prospect by the Expos organization. He was sent with the GCL Expos in 1970. In his first year of pro baseball, he led the team with 7 losses (he had two wins) but also in strikeouts (71 in 74 innings).

He spent the 1971 season with the West Palm Beach Expos. His record was 9-10 with a 2.81 ERA in a team-leading 25 starts. Again he led the team in Ks with 127 in 157 innings. He allowed only 142 hits, but also 74 walks. He had two starts with the Quebec Carnavals, where he did fairly well, allowing only seven hits in 11 innings with 12 Ks and a 2.55 ERA, even though he lost both starts.

In 1972, he spent most of the year in the military reserve and threw only 24 innings in West Palm Beach for a 8.25 ERA, losing all three of his decisions. He moved up to Quebec in 1973 where he led the team with 20 starts and 8 wins (tied with Dan Warthen). But for the first time, he allowed more hits (103) than innings pitched (102), to go with 64 walks. Nonetheless, he threw a seven-inning no-hitter on August 4th against the West Haven Yankees in the second game of a doubleheader. He played again in Quebec in 1974 but adjusted pretty well, with a sparkling 1.70 ERA in 9 starts and a 5-1 record. Things went well with the Memphis Blues in AAA as well, with a 3.20 ERA in 15 starts. Overall, he struck out 122 in 159 innings and allowed 131 hits.

1975 was another good year for Lang in AAA, with a 2.93 ERA in 184 innings in Memphis (he had a 8-13 record). He was called up in September by the Expos, starting one game on September 8th but lasting only 1 2/3 inning and allowing two hits and three walks. He was not involved in the decision as the Expos beat the New York Mets, 7-5.

1976 was a nightmarish season for Lang and the Expos, although it is also the only season in which he got a chance to play extensively in the big leagues. He was sent down to start the year with the Denver Bears despite a good spring training and was highly disappointed. It showed in his performances with a 7.50 ERA in 42 innings. He was pitching in a hitter's paradise, but his ERA was still the worst on the staff by over a run, not counting Don DeMola, who was injured and pitched only 2 innings. He was nonetheless called up from Denver in May and promptly won his first game against the Mets on May 23rd, pitching three innings in relief, allowing no runs, one hit and three walks. That would be his only major league win. Used mostly in relief, he got two starts which he both lost, allowing a total of five earned runs in eight innings. He was rarely used in significant situations - not that the Expos, who lost over 100 games, had many leads to protect that year. In 29 games, his ERA was 4.19 and he allowed 56 hits in 62 1/3 innings, a ratio that was second-best on the team for pitchers with at least 40 innings.

He split the 1977 season between Quebec and Denver. He struggled at both levels, thanks to a sore arm, with a combined 5.92 ERA. During that season, in May, he got into a scuffle with teammate Don DeMola. He didn't pitch the last three weeks of the season in Quebec due to his bad arm. In 1978, he refused to report to the training camp, unhappy with the Expos contractual offer to cut his salary 25 by percent, a decision that reflected the fact he no longer featured in the team's plans. He was eventually released at his own request. The Pittsburgh Pirates and Seattle Mariners contacted him, but he wanted to start as to not rush his arm and declined both offers. After being idle in 1978, he came back with the Pirates organization in 1979, with two starts in the Western Carolinas League with the Shelby Pirates. He split his two decisions with a 3.60 ERA in 15 innings.

His daughter, Jessie Lang, played basketball at Bucknell University.

He is the the brother-in-law of former Expos pitcher Tom Walker - the two were teammates with Memphis in 1974 and Denver in 1977 but never with the big league squad - as Tom married Chip's sister Carolyn. He is also the uncle of Pirates second baseman Neil Walker, who is Tom's son.

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