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José Mesa

Born: May 22, 1966 (1966-05-22) (age 43)
Pueblo Viejo, Dominican Republic
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 10, 1987 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
September 29, 2007 for the Philadelphia Phillies
Career statistics
Games pitched     1,022
Win-Loss record     80-109
Earned run average     4.36
Strikeouts     1,038
Saves     321
Career highlights and awards

José Ramón Nova Mesa [MAY-sah] (may have been born on May 22, 1966 (see Controversies) in Pueblo Viejo, Azua, Dominican Republic), is a former relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. Nicknamed "Joe Table"[1], he pitched right-handed.


Baseball career

Mesa was initially signed as an amateur free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1981, originally as an outfielder. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles, during the 1987 season for starting pitcher Mike Flanagan. Mesa began his major-league career as a starting pitcher with the Orioles who hoped that Mesa's superior fastball would earn him success in the starting role. After 48 starts of below-average results during four seasons, the Orioles traded Mesa to the Cleveland Indians in 1992. Cleveland continued to use Mesa as a starter through the end of 1993; that year, Mesa pitched a career-high 208-2/3 innings, although Mesa's earned-run average was worse than the league average ERA for the fifth consecutive season.

Mesa became a relief pitcher for the Cleveland Indians in 1994, and, for the first season of his career, he posted an ERA better than the league average. In the role of closer during the 1995 season, Mesa pitched superbly; in 64 innings pitched over 62 appearances, Mesa had a 1.12 ERA, saved 46 games, and won 3. Thirty-eight of Mesa's 46 saves were recorded in consecutive appearances in save situations; this was a major-league record at the time. Mesa's performance in 1995 was instrumental to the Indians' 100–44 regular-season record and their first World Series appearance since 1954. In 1997, Mesa's 2.40 ERA, 16 saves, and 4 wins helped the Indians to their second World Series appearance in three seasons. However his inability to hold a one run lead in the ninth inning of Game 7 of the 1997 World Series was a black mark on his career, and Cleveland traded him mid-way through the following season.

Through the end of the 2005 season, Mesa had compiled a 77–101 record in 17 seasons, with a 4.29 ERA and 319 saves in 1425 innings. On December 10, 2006, he signed with the Detroit Tigers. He was released by the team following their 7–2 victory over the Cleveland Indians on June 3, 2007. In 16 appearances with the team, he was 1-1 with a 12.34 ERA. On June 8, 2007 he signed a minor league deal with the Phillies, making his second stint with the team. He appeared in 40 games for the Phillies, compiling a 1-2 record with a 5.54 ERA. This was the last season Mesa played in the Major Leagues.



Mesa claims to have been born in 1966, and yet he has a child who was born in 1979, when Mesa would've been 13 years old. [1] This observation has caused many to question Mesa's reported age. On June 10, 2007 sportscaster John Clark of WCAU Philadelphia reported on the TV show Sports Final that he had uncovered documents indicating that Mesa was in fact 47 years old.

Mesa was involved in a longstanding feud with former teammate Omar Vizquel following the publication of Vizquel's autobiography, Omar! My Life On and Off the Field. In the book, Vizquel criticized Mesa's performance in Game 7 of the 1997 World Series: "The eyes of the world were focused on every move we made. Unfortunately, Jose's own eyes were vacant. Completely empty. Nobody home. You could almost see right through him. Not long after I looked into his vacant eyes, he blew the save and the Marlins tied the game." Mesa reacted furiously, pledging to hit Vizquel upon every subsequent opportunity: "Even my little boy told me to get him. If I face him 10 more times, I'll hit him 10 times. I want to kill him."[2] As of the end of the 2007 season, Mesa has plunked Vizquel twice.

Jose Mesa was charged with one count of rape for allegedly penetrating one woman with his finger and two counts of gross sexual imposition for allegedly groping two women in a Lakewood, Ohio motel room on December 22, 1996. Mesa was acquitted of all charges on April 9, 1997. [3]

See also


External links

Preceded by
Lee Smith
American League Saves Champion
Succeeded by
John Wetteland

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