|Courtesy of CBC|
A rubber arm. A workhorse. Paul Quantrill was the proverbial rubber arm pitcher. He was also a Canadian pitcher who played for one of Canada’s only Major League baseball teams at the time.
For this week’s Flashback Friday, we take a look back at Paul Quantrill’s impressive career with the Toronto Blue Jays.
Paul John Quantrill came to the Blue Jays in December of 1995 by way of a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was swapped for third baseman Howard Battle and reliever Ricardo Jordan.
In his first season with the Blue Jays in 1996, Quantrill swapped back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen. Paul made 17 starts to begin the season, only to see his role change in early July as his bloated 6.20 ERA signaled a move to the bullpen.
Quantrill scuffled a bit as a reliever initially, and then was moved back into the rotation at season’s end. That was the last time Paul Quantrill would ever start again, and it turns out it was the decision that turned Quantrill’s career around for the better.
What Paul Quantrill accomplished the following year out of the bullpen was nothing short of spectacular. He made 77 appearances in relief for the Blue Jays pitching a total of 88 innings, and in 26 of those games he was asked to pitch more than one inning.
Quantrill actually spent most of 1997 as the Blue Jays setup man to Kelvim Escobar, but in many ways Paul Quantrill was the far superior pitcher. Not only could he pitch multiple innings, but runs were hard to come by off Quantrill since he sported a 1.94 ERA.
Once again, Paul Quantrill came out in 1998 and put forth a very similar season, racking up 82 appearances with the Blue Jays and pitched 80 innings. Although his ERA was a slight bit higher in 1998 (2.54), Quantrill was still one most dominant setup men in baseball.
|Courtesy of MSN|
In 1999, Quantrill was sidelined with the quintessential Canadian injury; he broke his leg in a snowmobile accident. Paul initially said it was a tobogganing accident, but later confessed he broke his leg on a snowmobile.
After undergoing surgery and missing the first 64 games of the season, Paul rejoined the Blue Jays mid-June and still managed a solid second half of the season.
Paul Quantrill spent two more seasons in a Blue Jays uniform, and in 2001, his final year with the club, he led the league in appearances. And although wins for a reliever may be futile, Quantrill racked up 11 wins, which ties a Blue Jays franchise record.
In fact, from 1997 to 2004, Paul Quantrill made an astonishing 609 appearances. That was by far the most by any reliever in baseball; only Steve Cline came close at 588 appearances during that eight year span.
In 2010, Paul Quantrill was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame, and this past winter he was hired on as a pitching consultant to the Blue Jays.
When I look back at Paul Quantrill’s tenure with the Blue Jays, I liken him to someone like Jason Frasor; someone who had a very underrated career, but who racked up innings and was a crucial piece to the bullpen.
If you’re every looking for the definition of a rubber arm pitcher, look no further than Paul Quantrill.