Wednesday, April 4, 2012
Played for Marlins: 1993-1994
Other teams: LA Dodgers (1970-1980), Texas (1980-1990), Chicago White Sox (1991-1992)
Marlins fans know him because: Hough started the first game in Marlins history, and threw the first pitch, a wobbly knuckleball that home plate umpire Frank Pulli was kind enough to call a strike. He struck out the first two LA Dodgers on the afternoon of April 5, 1993 looking, later notching the W in a 6-3 Marlins triumph. A Hialeah native, Hough was already 45 years old when he started with the Marlins, the final stop in his 25-year career. He is the oldest Marlin in existence, living or dead, and always will be. Thus, we will now refer to him as the Father of the Marlins Diaspora.
Everyone else knows him because: I'm not sure how many people know this, but in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series, when Reggie Jackson hit three home runs, Hough gave up the third. It happened on the first pitch of the eighth inning, Hough's only inning that game. He retired the next three batters (Chris Chambliss, Graig Nettles and Lou Piniella) on a groundout, strikeout, and foul-out, respectively. Hough also made the All-Star team in 1986 with the Rangers. The next year, he led the majors in starts (40) and IP (285 and 1/3). They don't make pitchers like that anymore...
Best Marlins moment: Obviously we have to go with Opening Day, but an honorable mention goes to a time that exists in both of our memories. Sometime during his Marlins tenure, Hough came up to bat in a situation that did not call for a sacrifice bunt. To call him a poor hitter would badly overstate his abilities (his career OPS+ in 250 PAs is negative 6!). In his two years with the Marlins, he managed 6 hits in 96 at bats (he did walk 3 times and perform 8 successful sac bunts). On this occasion, though, he hit a line-drive foul into the right field seats that was so sharp that the home crowd had no choice but to cheer for old Charlie. Ted and I both remember watching this on TV, but cannot recall whether it occurred in 1993 or 1994. Not that the year matters. It was simply one of those moments only a diehard fan could love.
Image via Sun Sentinel