View Full Version : Good Tapani Spiel

02-19-2002, 01:12 PM
Announced the retirement of RHP Kevin Tapani. [2/15]

This is one of those sad announcements made all the more sad for a couple of reasons. First, I'll miss Tap because I really enjoyed watching him pitch, and second, as an A's fan, I still have some regrets about Tapani being included in the Bob Welch deal after the 1987 season. Wally Whitehurst, Alfredo Griffin, Jay Howell...those guys you could take or leave, but at the time, I wasn't happy to see Tapani included. (Of course, I was also cranky that winter because the A's didn't consummate an offer of Griffin to the Yankees for Danny Pasqua, so what do I know?)

We all remember Jack Morris's Game Seven performance in 1991, but we should also remember Tapani's tremendous Game Two duel with Tom Glavine. Sitting behind the Cubs' dugout and watching Tap throw harder than I'd ever remembered seeing him throw very early on in his comeback in 1997 (I want to say it was his first start, against the Braves, but I'd have to dig out the scorecards to be sure) was one of my favorite Wrigley afternoons, in no small part because everyone, from the batters to his teammates, seemed surprised and a little charged up by it.

Some guys end up retiring because they just want to retire. Unlike Steve Carlton or Bobby Witt, Kevin Tapani is leaving the game when he wants to, and not when Doc Jobe or Doc Andrews tells him it might be a good idea. He was still a useful big-league pitcher in 2001, and I mean that in more than just the Pat Rapp sense of the word. Fourteen quality starts in 29 outings sounds pretty run of the mill, and roto(non)-thinkers might complain that he won only one game after June 2, but Tapani didn't really fall apart until September. During August, when just about everything else was melting down for the Cubs, Tap gave them five quality starts in six trips to the mound. While there aren't enough off-days in a season any more to carry a "Sunday starter," Tapani would have still been valuable as a fourth starter on a team with three workhorses and the ability to spot him a day off now and again. I'll miss him.

02-19-2002, 01:23 PM
Tap was the man, the most horrible move in Sox history was bringing in Navarro instead of bringing back Tap. He was part of the crazy 1996 team that couldn't find a 5th starter and had it's bullpen fail them in the late months. I really liked that team, it had Tony Phillips, Robin Ventura, Danny Tartabull and a good Harold Baines. A bunch of guys who could walk. That team could get on base. I bet if they could have replaced the 900 or so plate appearances that went to either Ozzie Guillen or Darren Lewis with real players they would have won the Wild Card that year.