My favorite baseball player growing up, and the reason why I became a Kansas City Royals fan despite living in the heart of Red Sox country, Dan Quisenberry was quite the unique player. A submarine pitcher who relied upon pinpoint control and an uncanny ability to generate ground balls, Quisenberry would often poke fun at his pitching style, once stating that his style of pitching was to lull batters into a false sense of security.
Yet, despite his lack of overpowering stuff, there is no question that Quisenberry was the most dominant closer in baseball during his peak. From 1980 through 1985, Quisenberry won the Rolaids American League Relief Pitcher of the Year award five times, made three All-Star Games, had four top ten MVP finishes and was in the top three for the Cy Young Award another four times. Not bad for a pitcher who once stated that he did not fear losing his fastball, because he didn’t have one.
During that peak, Quisenberry was just about untouchable, posting a 2.45 ERA and a 1.087 WHiP while recording 212 saves. He had only 57 unintentional walks in 724.2 innings, causing the best that the major leagues had to offer to hit the ball straight into the ground. Overall, Quisenberry finished his Royals career with 238 saves, a 2.55 ERA and a 1.150 WHiP. He was certainly a unique pitcher, even for his era.
The Kansas City Royals have a tradition of having excellent closers, starting with the Dan Quisenberry era. As the first of those lights out relievers, Quiz will now be remembered for more than his submarine delivery and excellent wit.
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