Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A season for the record books

When you look at the Cy Young candidates for the National League with about 18 games to go this season you're immediately blown away by the numbers being put up by some of the league's elite pitchers. Salem's Dave Dunwoody has a 2.09 ERA through 32 starts and teammate Dwight Salmon's ERA is even lower at 2.02. Norfolk's Babe Broadhurst and Houston's Jerome Oliver are also having amazing seasons that would garner serious Cy Young consideration in a normal season. But this season, there's one guy who has been head and shoulders above the rest and he's no stranger to the Cy Young Award. And if his pace holds up, he'll become quite familiar with the record books as well.

Fargo's Sammy Pierce is on pace to finish what one may say is the greatest single season performance in The Bigs' history. Through 33 starts, Pierce has amassed a 21-2 record with a 1.78 ERA and a 0.95 WHIP in 223 IP. The 1.78 ERA would break teammate Javier Henriquez's single season ERA record of 1.79 accomplished in season 2 and the 0.95 WHIP would tie him with Dwight Salmon's season 1 WHIP as second best all-time, just .02 behind Matty Eusebio's single season record of 0.93.

Pierce's season has been so impressive because it's been so much better than his Cy Young season from a year ago when he went 20-7 with a 2.35 ERA and because he's done it all while leading the major leagues in innings pitched. He's led a Fargo team that got off to a horrible start to a second half surge that puts the team in line for a third straight division title and in the running for a first round bye in the playoffs.

With 18 games to go in the regular season, Pierce also has a chance to tie for the most wins in a single season if he can win his final two starts. Fellow Dirtbag Jim Arnold holds the single season record for wins with 24 in season 2. Rumblings are that if Pierce wins his next two starts that Fargo may push him to get an extra start before the end of the season to give him a chance to break the wins record.

Whether Pierce can keep this unprecedented pace and break these records remains to be seen. What we can say for sure is that Pierce has had one of, if not the best single season in The Bigs history and with a world that has a handful of all-time greats, that's saying something.

Sammy Pierce
Age: 26B/T: L/L
Born: Jackson, CA
Position(s): P (SP5)
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