SHAWN ESTES: Career 99-89, 4.71 1-year contract with Padres
Most famous for the symbolic payback pitch he threw behind Roger Clemens in 2002 as retribution for the rockets shot at fellow Met Mike Piazza et al over 2 years, Estes is widely assumed to have missed his mark. Far from it. David Wells himself approved of Estes’ strategic cost-benefit analysis and execution and gave the story some space in his book Perfect I’m Not. He got everything the team wanted: Clemens had to bat at Shea knowing the world was watching his inevitable punishment. Both benches got warned, so Clemens had to stay over the plate and couldn’t hit anyone, even by mistake. Best yet, Estes knocked in one run and later hit a homer, both off Clemens! The Mets won 8-0. Anyone questioning whether Estes stood up for his new team should take note of the fine that Major League Baseball levied on him for his intention to hit. (The fine looked symbolic, too — $750!) That’s fine with me.
Lest Estes’ numbers look mediocre to you, consider this: Dusty Baker kept him on his Giants for 7 years, from 1995 to 2001. In Baker’s first year managing the Cubs in 2003, what uniform was Estes wearing before too long? Yep, the Cubs. More to come….