Be like Ike

Vernon Wells, with some aggressive baserunning, made a winner out of reliever Scott Downs on Saturday afternoon, as the center-fielder scored all the way from first base on a Lyle Overbay single. Downs, a situational lefty, has been solid this season out of the Jays’ bullpen. In fact, the three earned runs he gave up to the Red Sox on Wednesday were his first this year. Overall, he has appeared in a team-high 17 contests and is on an early pace to appear in 76 or 77 games this season. Last year, Downs (59) finished second to currently injured closer B.J. Ryan (65) in that category.

In the team’s 30-year history, the Blue Jays have had four relievers (MarkMark_eichhorn_autograph Eichhorn (’87), Duane Ward (’91), Paul Quantrill (’01) and Trever Miller (’03)) top the American League in appearances. Additionally, a Toronto hurler has appeared in at least half the team’s 162 games on three seperate occasions. Ward pitched in exactly half (81) in 1991, while Quantrill worked 82 times in 1998.

Submariner Mark Eichhorn, meanwhile, holds the Jays’ franchise mark. He matched an American League record, in fact, by making 89 appearances during the 1987 campaign. The man who finished second that year — Mitch Williams — would of course become famous in Toronto for a different reason just six years later as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Known for his unique sidearm delivery, Eichhorn made 18 appearances in June alone that season, including six out of seven games from June 6-12. Overall, he finished with a 10-6 record and a 3.17 ERA on the year.

Eichhorn definitely made the most of his deceptive delivery. He had to, as this quote from an AL scout suggested:

“Normally hitters argue about how hard a pitcher throws, but in Eichhorn’s case the opposite is true. Even the most veteran hitters say they have never seen a major league pitcher throw a pitch as slow as Eichhorn does.”

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