Tuesday, March 12, 2013

2009 Topps Gil Meche

There isn't any other red on the back of this card so the league leader designation really stuck out as I was flipping through some cards. After coming over to the Royals from the Mariners, Gil Meche became a workhorse. He tied for the league lead in Games Started in 2007 and 2008, both years with 34. That's one of the benefits of being an Opening Day starter and being healthy all season.
In a four-way tie in 2008, I was a little surprised there wasn't a Cy Young award winner in the group. The other leaders included Mark Buerhle (White Sox), AJ Burnett (Blue Jays) and Mike Mussina (Yankees). A couple of All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves, but no Cy Youngs. Apparently being the best pitcher of the year requires a little more than perfect attendance (or making all of your scheduled starts).
On the other hand, the National League had an 8-way tie for first, also with 34 Games Started but they had two Cy Young Award winners in Brandon Webb (2006, Arizona) and Johan Santana (2004 & 2006, Minnesota).
The blurb on the back of the card even references Meche's consistency. Unfortunately, his shoulder couldn't handle the extra workload and started only 23 games in 2009. After starting the 2010 season 0-4 in 9 starts Meche went onto the disabled list and had shoulder surgery. He returned in September but for only 13 innings in 11 appearances out of the bullpen.
Rather than have another shoulder surgery, Meche would announce his retirement during the offseason. All this despite a guaranteed contract that would entitle him to $12 million.

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