Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cox Relieved to Be Back in Big Show

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Cox Relieved to Be Back in Big Show

Article excerpt

Danny Cox is the only Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher who didn't appear in the first two games of the World Series.

"I'm the virgin of the bullpen," he said.

Cox, at least potentially, is back in the World Series for the first time since 1987, when he made an ignominious departure from Game 7. Not only was Cox the losing pitcher in relief in a 4-2 loss to Minnesota, but he was kicked out of the game by home-plate umpire Dave Phillips after being taken out by Whitey Herzog. Cox is the last player to be ejected from a World Series game.

That World Series does not sit well with Cox. Nor does the 1985 Series against Kansas City when Cox might have been the Most Valuable Player if the Cardinals had held a one-run lead in the ninth inning of what could have been a 1-0 Game 6 victory. That would have clinched the Series.

Cox pitched the first seven innings of that game before Brian Harper pinch-hit for him. Harper singled in the go-ahead run. Cox gave up just two runs in 14 innings for the Series. But for a missed call at first base by umpire Don Denkinger, there may have been no Game 7 - which the Royals won.

"But you've got to live with that," Cox said. "They're world champions. We're national champions. That's the way it goes."

But Cox, who was released in 1992 by the Philadelphia Phillies, has a third chance. He looks strange wearing a jacket bearing a Labatt's beer logo.

"I go where the beer is free," Cox cracked. "I've had an amazing career. I worked with Pabst (driving a truck), I played with the Cardinals and now I've been signed by the Blue Jays."

For the first time in his nine-year career, Cox, 34, has been used exclusively as a reliever. "I've been in all the situations," he said. "Long, middle, setup, even a couple of saves."

In 44 games, he pitched three or more innings eight times and totaled 83 2/3 innings for the season. Never had Cox even approached a strikeout an inning in his career, but he had 84 this season against only 29 walks. He had a 3.12 earned-run average.

Cox was among the long line of Cardinals pitchers who, in a three- or-four-year span, suffered a torn ligament in his elbow and required surgery. He was out nearly two seasons, 1989 and 1990, and the Cardinals didn't re-sign him for 1991. Cox went to Philadelphia, where former Cardinals player development director Lee Thomas was general manager.

He was 4-6 with the Phils that year. Last year, unhappy at being sent to the bullpen, he was granted his release, later to be picked up by Ted Simmons, another former Cardinals player development director, in Pittsburgh.

"He said he didn't want to pitch in relief for us," Thomas said.

But Cox had an explanation.

"I wasn't pitching well, and I wasn't comfortable with my mechanics," Cox said. "I wasn't getting a whole lot of work done. I'd been out two years, and I wanted to pitch. …

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