February 27, 2007
Catching Up With Paul Quantrill
Via NorthumberlandNews.com -
Retirement from major league baseball has not been that tough of a changeup to master, says Port Hope's Paul Quantrill.
"I always said the day I stopped enjoying playing baseball I would retire," says Quantrill. "I was not enjoying coming to the park anymore and with my three kids and family getting older, I wanted to move on to a new part of my life."
Quantrill explained his retirement and various career highlights during a recent talk with elementary school students at St. Anthony's school in Port Hope.
Quantrill described his time with the Yankees as being similar to being in a rock band because of the heavy media presence in New York.
When asked what his career lowlight was, Quantrill says the first time he was traded was tough. On May 31, 1994, he was traded from the Red Sox, with Billy Hatcher, to the Philadelphia Phillies for Wes Chamberlain and Mike Sullivan.
What? How about Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS? Paul threw 8 pitches in that game: Ramirez singled to left, Ortiz homered to right. Game over.
Maybe Quantrill has blocked all that out already? Probably the good thing to do, to stay sane.
Posted by Steve Lombardi at February 27, 2007 10:36 AM
I still loved it when he went at it with Dimitri Young. That was great.
Quantrill was a bulldog for us. Yea he wore down terribly towards the end of the season and in the playoffs, but before Villone and Proctor, there was Gordon and Quantrill (who had led the league in appearances for like 3 years straight).
I think the primary reason we were so successful from 96-01 was not just that our starting pitchers were good, its that they went deep into games, and Joe didn't have to kill the bullpen. Since 2001, the talent in the pitching department has been in the bullpen, so Joe's turned there to assure us 90-100 wins, but we pay for it in the playoffs.
But I can't ever begrudge Paul "Gimme the ball" Quantrill, he essentially sacrificed his career for us to win.
We're going to go after the starters from '01 now? The pitching in '01 was as good as it was in '99 and '98 -- in fact, if the pitching wasn't so damn good, the '01 Yankees would not have had even a slim chance to get to game seven of the World Series with that anemic offense (there's a reason so many of those guys retired or left after that year).
The '02 and '03 pitching staffs still had Clemens, Pettitte, Wells and Moose. I'd take that any day. They got crushed in the '02 playoffs, but it was Torre, the offense and Wells' back who hurt us in '03.
As for Quantrill: he was only a Yankee for a year and change, but I still like him a lot, and I truly hate what Torre did to him. Giving up that walk-off homer in the playoffs was just the final stamp of a career-ending season. Torre basically tortured this guy, who was injured, and made him pitch until he ruined his arm. It was downright frightening and sad.
The year before he came to the Yankees, Quantrill had a sub-2 ERA with the Dodgers. What could have potentially been a terrific pickup for the Yanks (and was for a while) turned into something broken and useless by Torre's merciless and seemingly cruel abuse.
Perhaps even more damning than Torre's overuse was the opening series against the D-Rays in Tokyo that year. That was the series in which Quantrill hurt his knee, an injury from which I'm not sure he ever fully recovered.
I included 2001 in the years I said were championship years. And in the years following, it's not like we didn't have good SP, it's just that more and more the workload fell to the relievers who were unable to carry the load, unlike some of the rubber armed guys of the championship years who had fewer miles on their arms at the time (think of Mo throwing over 100 IP out of the pen, or the years where Stanton and Nelson would pitch every day or every other day and show no worse for wear down the stretch).
Let's not get all rose-colored and think that Stanton and Nelson were perfect.
Stanton had fantastic 1997, 2001 and 2002 seasons, but he had a a run of 5.47 (with 13 HR in 79 inn.), 4.33 and 4.10 in 1998-2000. ERA isn't everything, of course, especially for a middle reliever. Stanton was very valuable, but had his struggles.
Nelson only pitched 74 games in the 1998-99 seasons combined, and most years gave up a healthy amount of baserunners, although he had a high strikeout rate.
Not knocking either key ingredient. Just saying that their success has to be factored in with the decline (or return to form, one might say) of Torre's handling of relievers since 2001.