Herb Score

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Herbert Jude Score

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Biographical Information[edit]

Herb Score was famous for a blazing fastball and control problems with the great Cleveland Indians pitching staffs of the 1950s. On May 7, 1957, he was hit in the eye by a line drive off the bat of Gil McDougald, which many say ended his career. However, he has said many times that he was already on the road to a sore arm at the time. It didn't help, but it didn't ruin his career.

His first two years in the AL, the lefty led the league in strikeouts, and also notched a 20-9 record in his second year, with 5 shutouts. Thereafter, in six seasons, he won only 19 more games. His lifetime ERA of 3.36 is still very good for an 8-year career. He finished with the Chicago White Sox, starting only 27 games in 3 years.

He arrived in the American League in 1955 after having been named the Minor League Player of the Year by the Sporting News in 1954; he pitched games of 16 and 17 strikeouts for the Indianapolis Indians of the American Association that season. Score immediately became known for his tremendous fastball. Sam Mele of the Boston Red Sox said: "He is the fastest pitcher I have faced in the majors". He also had a very good curveball, a combination that made opposing hitters dizzy. On May 1st, he had his coming out party of sorts: facing Boston in the second game of a doubleheader after Bob Feller had pitched a one-hitter in the opener (the last of his 43 career shutouts), Score struck out nine in the first three innings, and finished with 16 Ks, two short of Feller's record of 18. He finished the year 16-10 and won the American League Rookie of the Year Award.

After his playing career ended, he was a broadcaster for the Indians from 1964 to 1997. A call made in Game 6 of the 1997 ALCS summarizes the end of Herb's broadcasting career. Tony Fernandez hit an improbable home run to give the Indians the lead at Camden Yards. Herb's call was, "...and the Indians are going to the World Series... maybe."

Interestingly, the similarity scores method shows, as one of the most similar pitchers to Score, Cy Seymour, the player who was a 19th century pitcher for several years before becoming a position player in the 20th century for much longer.

Notable Achievements[edit]

AL Rookie of the Year
1954 1955 1956
Bob Grim Herb Score Luis Aparicio

Further Reading[edit]

  • Bill Barry: "A Moment of Silence: Remembering Herb Score", in Brad Sullivan, ed.: Batting Four Thousand: Baseball in the Western Reserve, SABR, Cleveland, OH, 2008, pp. 77-80.
  • Hal Lebovitz: "Mr. Robert, Master Herbie", in Brad Sullivan, ed.: Batting Four Thousand: Baseball in the Western Reserve, SABR, Cleveland, OH, 2008, pp. 55-56.

Related Sites[edit]