Featured Major League Pitchers were red-hot in 1997
Pat Hentgen, Right-handed Starting Pitcher, Toronto Blue Jays was one of the best big league pitchers during the 1990s. He combined craftiness along with an assortment of fastballs, curves, and changeups to stymie opposing American League batters. After winning the 1996 AL Cy Young Award by posting a stunning 20-10 record with a 3.22 earned run average, the 6-foot 2-inch 200-pound right-hander came in with 1997 stats of 15-10, 3.68 ERA and struck out 160 would-be hitters in a 264 innings. That year Pat Hentgen caught the attention of baseball fans by pitching 40 straight innings without allowing a single earned run (April 29-May 25). He also led all AL right-handed pitchers by picking off 7 base runners. Back in 199 Pat Hentgen set a Toronto record by notching 11 wins by All-Star break, finished year at 19-9. Born in Detroit.
Jeff Fassero, Left-handed Pitcher, Seattle Mariners, a crafty moundmaster he was equally adept as a starter, setup man or closer. In 1997 after being traded by the Montreal Expos to the Seattle Mariners in a 5-player deal, Jeff Fassero assumed the role as one of the American League’s top pitchers by compiling a 16-9 record with a 3.61 ERA in a career-best 234.1 innings, including a very fine 3.18 ERA after the All-Star break in July – and that season the Mariners bullpen blew 6 leads for him. In September of 1997 Jeff Fassero was voted the American League Pitcher of the Month, going 3-1 with a resounding 1.98 ERA to help Seattle reach the playoffs. In Game 3 of postseason against the Orioles Jeff Fassero was the winning pitcher. During minor league career he led the AA Eastern League with 66 games pitched in 1990 while working in Indians farm club. Born in Springfield, Illinois.
Rod Beck, Right-handed Relief Pitcher Closer, San Francisco Giants, was one of the leading closers of the 1990s. His stats for 1997 were 37 saves and just 8 walks in 70 innings for the NL West Division Giants, 3rd in Rolaids Relief Man Award and he was chosen for his third National League All-Star Game, 1993, 1994 and 1997. After the season ended Rod Beck was signed by Cubs as free agent, 1.15.1998. The 6-foot-1 236-pound RHP had a great sophomore season in 1992 for Giants, including no runs allowed in 17 innings in April, and retired 26 consecutive batters from May 5-16. Rod Beck began his pro career in 1986 in the Oakland organization and was traded to San Francisco in 1988. Rod Beck was born in Burbank CA.
Kent Bottenfield, Right-handed Reliever, Chicago Cubs, was a pleasant surprise after the Cubs signed him as a free agent after he pitched in the Tigers minor league system in 1995. Kent Bottenfield was one of the National League’s bullpen workhorses in 1997, and compiled a 2-3 record with two saves in 64 games. The 6-foot-3, 240 pound fastball pitcher challenged opposing batters and struck out 74 in 84 innings, while walking just 35 and surrendering 82 hits – less than one per inning. After that very fine year, he signed with Cardinals as free agent, 1.06.1998. Kent Bottenfield was drafted by the Montreal Expos in1986, and was promoted to the majors by Expos in ’92. Born in Portland, Oregon