Thursday, October 3, 2019

Randy Messenger

It's that time of year again - time for me to do posts for players who have retired.  I thought I'd start out with Randy Messenger of the Tigers.

Messenger announced his retirement a few weeks back.  He was drafted out of high school by the then-Florida Marlins in the eleventh round of the 1999 draft.  He spent the next 8 1/2 seasons in their organization, reaching the big leagues in 2005.  He was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Armando Benitez midway through the 2007 season and was released by the team midway though the 2008 season.  He was picked up by the Mariners and split the next year and a half between Seattle and their Triple-A team in Tacoma.  He left the Mariners after the 2009 season as a free agent and signed with the Tigers.

Messenger began 2010 working in the Tigers bullpen but by the end of the season he had worked his way into the starting rotation.  By 2011 he was in the rotation for good.  He made at least 25 starts a year for every season from 2011 to 2018 with the exception of 2017 when an ankle injury limited him to only 22.  He was the Opening Day starter for the team six different times - 2013 and 2015-19.  He lead the Central League in victories in 2014 and in strikeouts in 2013 and 2014.  He pitched for the Tigers in the 2014 series, getting the win in Game One (the only game the Tigers won) and taking the loss in the deciding Game 5 despite only giving up one run.  He won the "Fighting Spirit" award for the Series.  He was named to the All Star team in 2018.  He ended his career with 98 wins in NPB, just two shy of the record for most wins by an American pitcher in Japan held by Gene Bacque and Joe Stanka.

He started this past season in the rotation (he was the Opening Day starter again) but a shoulder injury sidelined him midway through the season.  He attempted to come back but he was not satisfied with how his recovery was going and he decided to retire.   The Tigers held his retirement game on September 29th.

Here's a card of Messenger from each year he was in Japan:

2010 BBM 1st Version #121

2011 BBM 2nd Version #589

2012 BBM Tigers #T115

2013 Calbee #186

2014 Tigers Original Player Card #07

2015 BBM Classic #044

2016 BBM Tigers #T25

2017 BBM Fusion #063 (Secret Version)

2018 Epoch NPB #264

2019 BBM Tigers #T26

1 comment:

Sean said...

A great pitcher, kind of sad to see him retire.

I saw him once, not in a game but in a hotel. I had lunch at the Hilton here in Nagoya once when the Tigers were in town to play the Dragons, which I wasn't even aware of. As I'm eating, suddenly the entire Tigers team in uniform walks past where I'm sitting (kind of an open concept restaurant adjacent to the lobby), on their way to the bus waiting outside. Messenger was one of the few I could recognize. I took a couple pictures with my phone but they all turned out kind of blurry unfortunately.