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John Thomas Tudor (born February 2, 1954 in Schenectady, New Yorkmarker) is a former left-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball.

Draft

Tudor was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the third round of the 1976 MLB Draft (Secondary Phase).

Early career

Tudor debuted with the Red Sox on August 16, 1979. He shuffled between the majors and minors for the next three seasons, before finally establishing himself as a regular member of the rotation in 1982, going 13-10 with a 3.63 ERA. After going 13-12 the following season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for designated hitter Mike Easler. After one year in Pittsburgh, in which he was 12-11 with a 3.27 ERA, he was sent to St. Louis as part of a deal for veteran outfielder George Hendrick. The Pirates received a career minor leaguer in the deal and also sent catcher Brian Harper to St. Louis.

1985

Tudor's highlight was a spectacular season for the St. Louis Cardinals. Oddly enough, Tudor started that year with a 1-7 record and a 3.74 earned run average through May. He then went on a tear that has rarely been seen since by going 20-1 with a 1.16 ERA the rest of the season and lowering his overall ERA to 1.93. His wins in 11 straight games were not matched by a Cardinal again until Jason Marquis strung together a 11-game winning streak in 2004. Only the best season of Dwight Gooden's career stopped Tudor from winning the National League Cy Young Award and leading the league in ERA, wins and complete games. He was sixth in strikeouts for the year.

Moreover, Tudor's ten complete game shutouts in 1985 made him the only pitcher since Jim Palmer in to reach double-digits in that category. (Bob Gibson holds the Cardinal record with 13 in 1968). To make the achievement more impressive, his ten shutouts were all in the last four months of 1985.

The Cardinals were in the heat of a division race against Gooden and the New York Mets in September 1985. Tudor improved even more by starting the month with two consecutive shutouts and then pitched against Gooden himself in a legendary matchup on September 11. Gooden and Tudor locked horns pitch-for-pitch and the score was 0-0 after nine innings. Jesse Orosco took over for Gooden in the tenth inning and gave up a home run. Tudor came back out in the bottom of the inning and finished the three-hit, ten-inning masterpiece for his third consecutive shutout of the month. After two sub-par performances, he pitched his fourth shutout of the month and then pitched another ten innings of shutout ball against the Mets' Ron Darling but the Mets turned the table and beat the Cardinals' bullpen in the eleventh inning.

Tudor's pitching propelled the Cardinals into the playoffs. He lost Game 1 of the National League Championship Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers but won Game 4 to even the series and St. Louis won 4 games to 2. Tudor was masterful in Game 1 of the 1985 World Series and even better with a shutout in Game 4 but completely fell apart in Game 7 leaving in the third inning as the Kansas City Royals rolled to an 11-0 victory for their only World Championship. Tudor was so upset by his performance in Game 7 that in a post-game tantrum he cut his pitching hand after punching an electrical fan.

After 1985

Unfortunately for Tudor, he never matched his dominance of 1985. While still posting impressive ERAs, he never won more than 13 games. In , he was again in the World Series but again lost with a chance to bring the championship back to St. Louis. Injuries limited Tudor's playing time after 1985 and eventually ended his career. He was the victim of a freak accident in 1987 when the Mets' catcher Barry Lyons went into the Cardinals' dugout trying to catch a foul ball and crashed into Tudor (who wasn't even pitching in the game) breaking Tudor's leg. In , Tudor was traded to the Dodgers despite having the league's best ERA. He pitched well again and won his only World Series ring but severely injured his elbow during the postseason. That injury caused him to miss almost all of and then retire despite a great comeback season in .

Note on batting

While Tudor is listed as a left-handed batter, on June 2, 1988, against Don Carman of the Philadelphia Phillies, he batted right-handed. No reason could be given as the Philadelphia commentators, Chris Wheeler and Andy Musser were perplexed as to the reasoning.

See also



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