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Don Mossi
Born: January 11, 1929 (1929-01-11) (age 81)
St. Helena, California
Batted: Left Threw: Left 
MLB debut
April 17, 1954 for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
October 1, 1965 for the Kansas City Athletics
Career statistics
Record     101-80
Earned run average     3.43
Strikeouts     932
Saves     50
Career highlights and awards

Donald Louis Mossi, (born January 11, 1929), was an American major league pitcher from 1954 to 1965. He was a left-handed control pitcher whose strikeout-to-walk ratio was regularly amongst the league leaders (he led the league in 1961). He retired with a career earned run average of 3.43, 101 wins, and 50 saves.


Mossi was born in St. Helena, California, but grew up in Daly City. Like many players from the San Francisco Bay Area, a region extremely popular with major league scouts at that time, Mossi was spotted at an early age and signed by the Cleveland Indians after leaving high school. In his early years in the minors Mossi experienced some control difficulties, but he eventually overcame these by altering his grip on the ball.

Mossi was given a spot in the Indians' bullpen for the 1954 season; as a fifth year professional, major league rules at the time would have forced the Indians to put him through waivers had he not been given a spot on the ballclub. The quality of the Indians' rotation at that time - which included Early Wynn, Bob Lemon, Bob Feller, Hal Newhouser and Mike Garcia - meant that Mossi, who had always been a starter, had to be used as a reliever by the club. His major league debut came on April 17 of that year in an 8-1 loss to the Chicago White Sox. In his first season in the majors Mossi recorded an ERA of 1.94 in 93 innings pitched as the Indians went to the 1954 World Series; the only World Series that Mossi ever played in.

In 1955 and 1956, Mossi continued to play well out of the bullpen. In 1957, he and fellow reliever Ray Narleski, who was also Mossi's roommate, were moved to the starting rotation. Mossi finished the season with a record of 11-10 and an ERA of 4.13 on a team that finished below .500. In the following season he returned to anchoring the bullpen for the Indians. Mossi, along with Narleski and Ossie Alvarez, was traded to the Detroit Tigers on November 20, 1958 for Billy Martin and Al Cicotte. The trade meant that Mossi was guaranteed a spot in a major league starting-rotation, something he had missed whilst at the Indians. The move paid immediate dividends as he went 17-9 with a 3.36 ERA in 1959. In 1960 he went 9-8, albeit on a club that was well below .500, with an ERA of 3.47.

Mossi pitched the greatest season of his career in 1961, going 15-7 with a 2.96 ERA on a Tigers club that recorded over 100 wins. It was not long after this that he began to experience problems with his throwing arm, in his final two years with the Tigers he went 18-20 with a combined ERA of 4.01. Mossi spent the final two years of his career as a short-reliever, his arm no longer capable of starting. He played the 1964 season with the White Sox, before finishing his career in 1965 with the Kansas City Athletics.

Mossi's career fielding percentage of .990 was the highest ever recorded by a pitcher when he retired. He was named as an American League All-Star in 1957.

See also

External links

  • Baseball Reference
  • James, Bill (2001). "The Man Who Invented Winning Ugly" in The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York, Free Press. ISBN 0-7432-2722-0.


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