Thursday, November 11, 2010
#89) CHUCK ESTRADA
Chuck Estrada signed with the New York Mets as a free agent on November 30, 1966. The veteran right-hander had his best season as a rookie in 1960. That year he won 18 games for the Baltimore Orioles and was named to the Major League All-Star team. In New York he was broought in to serve as an option from the bullpen. He made his Mets debut on the second game of the season, April 13, 1967. Chuck entered during the sixth-inning in relief of Tom Seaver. The then rookie Seaver was also making his Mets debut that same day. Estrada was credited with the victory in the 3-1 win over the Pittsburgh Pirates at Shea Stadium.
Chuck generated inconsistent results as a reliever and was given two starting assignments. The first was a disasterous assignment facing the Los Angeles Dodgers at Shea on May 23rd. Estrada was removed after failing to record the third out in the first-inning, but yielding four runs, by walking four batters and allowing a single hit. Following an long-relief appearance, he was given his last start in the major-leagues. Losing to the San Francisco Giants on June 4th at Candlestick Park. His control issues continued and resulted in too many walks to pitch effectively. Chuck made his final pitching appearance in the major-leagues on June 11, 1967.
Estrada pitched in the Mets' minor-league system for Triple-A Jacksonville until 1968. His last season he would post a 1-7 record and 8.07 ERA. In 1969, serving as a player/coach he went all the way down to Single-A Visalia and finished with a 9-3 record and 4.09 ERA.
Chuck found that he enjoyed teaching and reached the major-leagues once again with the Texas Rangers in 1973 as their assistant pitching coach. He accepted the position of pitching coach for the San Diego Padres in 1978 and served there until 1981. Followed by a season coaching the Cleveland Indians (1983) and six years with Triple-A Tacoma (1985-1990). His last season as a pitching coach was with the Double-A New Haven Ravens in 1995.
Estrada reflecting on his days as the Rangers pitching coach in the November 1974 issue of Baseball Digest said, "We had a very scientific system of bringing in relief pitchers. We used the first one that answered the phone."
Chuck Estrada signed his card in the set for me from an autograph request sent to his home on November 6, 2008.