Ron Guidry
Ron Guidry 05122013.jpg
Ron Guidry autographing a baseball at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center on May 12, 2013
Born: (1950-08-28) August 28, 1950 (age 68)
Lafayette, Louisiana
Batted: Left Threw: Left
MLB debut
July 27, 1975, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
September 27, 1988, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Win–loss record170–91
Earned run average3.29
Career highlights and awards

Ronald Ames Guidry (/ˈɡɪdri/; born August 28, 1950), nicknamed "Louisiana Lightning" and "Gator", is a former Major League Baseball (MLB) left-handed pitcher. He played his entire 14-year baseball career for the New York Yankees of the American League (AL), from 1975 through 1988. Guidry was also the pitching coach of the Yankees from 2006 to 2007.

Guidry won the AL Cy Young Award in 1978 as the best pitcher in the AL. He also won five Gold Glove Awards, given for superior fielding, and appeared in four All-Star games. Guidry served as captain of the Yankees from 1986 through 1988, while his uniform number has been retired by the Yankees. Guidry was a member of World Series-winning Yankees teams in 1977 and 1978.

Early life

Guidry was born in Lafayette, Louisiana. He attended and pitched for the University of Southwestern Louisiana. He was a combined 12–5 with a 2.03 earned run average (ERA) and 137 strikeouts as a two-year letterman with the Ragin' Cajuns baseball team in 1969 and 1970.[1]

Playing career

Guidry was selected in the third round (67th overall) by the New York Yankees in the 1971 MLB draft.[2] After four seasons in the minor leagues, he pitched briefly in the major leagues in the 1975 and 1976 seasons.[3] He was nearly sent to the Baltimore Orioles as part of a trade deadline deal on June 15, 1976, but the Yankees did not want to give up any more left-handed pitchers beyond the three (Scott McGregor, Tippy Martinez and Rudy May) that they had already included in the deal.[4]

In 1977, Guidry began the season as a relief pitcher but was later moved into the Yankees' starting rotation. He helped lead the Yankees to World Series championships in 1977[5] and 1978.[6] In those two years combined, Guidry went 4-0 in the postseason with three complete games in five starts, allowing only nine earned runs in 37​13 innings pitched.[7]

In 1978, Guidry posted a career year, one of the best in the modern era. Against the California Angels on June 17, he struck out a Yankee-record 18 batters.[8] Guidry's 18-strikeout performance is usually cited as the launching pad of the Yankee Stadium tradition of fans standing and clapping for a strikeout with two strikes on the opposing batter. For the season, Guidry went 25-3,[7] in a season that is among the top 10 for winning percentage in baseball history. He led the league with a sparkling 1.74 ERA, 25 wins, a .893 winning percentage, nine shutouts, and 248 strikeouts.[7] Guidry's success during 1978 was due in large part to his mastery of the slider. He began throwing the pitch the year before, and was able to use the sharp-breaking slider to complement his great fastball throughout the season. His 248 strikeouts set a Yankees' team record for most strikeouts notched by a pitcher in a single season. Guidry's 25th win of the regular season was his most significant, as it came in the Yankees' 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox in a one-game playoff at Fenway Park in Boston to determine the American League East division winner. The game is best known for Bucky Dent's seventh-inning, three-run home run that gave the Yankees a 3-2 lead.[9] Later that month, the Yankees again won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers.[7] No American League pitcher posted an earned run average as low again until Boston's Pedro Martínez in 2000. Guidry claimed the 1978 American League Cy Young Award[7] and also finished second in American League Most Valuable Player voting to Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice. In addition, Guidry was named The Sporting News AL Pitcher and Major League Player of the Year.[7]

After Yankee closer Goose Gossage broke his thumb in a clubhouse fight early in the 1979 season, Guidry volunteered to pitch in the bullpen as a part-time closer in addition to his regular turns in the rotation. Guidry posted two saves in two appearances, but his starting pitching suffered a bit as he was an ordinary 7-7 through July 21. He recovered to go 11-1 the rest of the way, including a nationally televised 5-4 complete game win over the Baltimore Orioles on August 6, four days after the death of Yankee catcher Thurman Munson and just hours after the team attended his funeral in Canton, Ohio.

Over the next seven seasons, Guidry amassed a 113-57 win-loss record. Guidry also won the Gold Glove Award five straight times (1982–86). Guidry was also noted for having a very good pickoff move. He also played two games in center field but never made a play.[10] Guidry served as co-captain of the Yankees along with Willie Randolph from March 4, 1986 until July 12, 1989.

On August 7, 1984, Guidry struck out three batters (Carlton Fisk, Tom Paciorek and Greg Luzinski) on nine pitches in the ninth inning of a 7-0 win over the Chicago White Sox. Guidry became the eighth American League pitcher and the 20th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the so-called "immaculate inning."[11] He was the first pitcher to do so in the 9th inning of a complete game, a feat which has since been matched only once.

Arm problems that began in 1981 later began dramatically affecting Guidry. He retired from baseball on July 12, 1989, after shoulder surgery did not improve his performance.

Ron Guidry's number 49 was retired by the New York Yankees in 2003.

Guidry was named "Lefthanded Pitcher" on The Sporting News AL All-Star Teams in 1978, 1981, 1983 and 1985. Guidry also finished in the top 10 in the American League Cy Young voting six times (1977–79, 1981, 1983 and 1985) over a nine-year span. His number 49 was retired on "Ron Guidry Day", August 23, 2003. The Yankees also dedicated a plaque to Guidry in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The plaque calls Guidry "a dominating pitcher and a respected leader" and "a true Yankee." Each living Yankee previously honored with a plaque in Monument Park was on hand for the ceremony: Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Don Mattingly.[12]

Coaching career

Guidry joined Yankees manager Joe Torre's coaching staff as pitching coach in the 2006 season, replacing Mel Stottlemyre.[13] Under Guidry's tenure, the Yankees' pitching staff enjoyed mixed results. The pitching staff's ERA decreased from 4.52 in 2005 to 4.41 in 2006 during his first year as pitching coach, but in 2007, the team ERA increased to 4.49 (or 17th overall in the Major leagues).

Guidry was criticized in 2007 because the Yankees' highly-acclaimed pitching staff was underachieving.[14] In 2007, Yankees pitchers walked the sixth-most batters overall in the Major Leagues; this was the most walks in a season for a Yankees pitching staff since 2000. Torre's departure from the Yankees following the 2007 season ended Guidry's tenure as pitching coach. Though he was interested in returning to the Yankees for the 2008 season, he was not offered a position on new manager Joe Girardi's coaching staff.[15] He did return to the Yankees as a spring training instructor.[16]

Former New York Times writer Harvey Araton wrote a book called "Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift" that profiles the friendship Guidry has with Yankees' Hall of Fame catcher (and Guidry's former coach and manager) Yogi Berra.[17] During spring training, Guidry was assigned to drive Berra around.

His son, Michael, represented Louisiana at the 2011 Little League World Series.

Career statistics

170 91 .651 3.29 368 323 95 26 4 2392 2198 953 874 226 633 1778 13 56 9794 1.184

See also


  1. ^ 2016 Baseball Media Guide – University of Louisiana at Lafayette Athletics.
  2. ^ Cajuns in the MLB Draft – University of Louisiana at Lafayette Athletics.
  3. ^ Baseball Reference Statistics and History
  4. ^ Chass, Murray. "Players Swap Memories of Yankees-Orioles 10-Player Trade," The New York Times, Sunday, June 15, 1986.
  5. ^ "Ron Guidry 1977 Game by Game Pitching Logs". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  6. ^ Coffey, Wayne (1998-06-21). "When Lightning Struck Ron Guidry Reflects On His Brilliant Season Of 1978". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  7. ^ a b c d e f "Ron Guidry Statistics and History". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  8. ^ "Yankees Single Game Records | History". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  9. ^ "Baseball's Best | Programming". 1978-10-02. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  10. ^ New York Times
  11. ^ "9 Pitches – 9 Strikes – 3 Outs / Immaculate Innings by Baseball Almanac". Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  12. ^ "Guidry's number retired". Chicago Tribune. 2003-08-24. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  13. ^ "Brian Cashman: New York Yankees GM Is Digging His Own Grave". Bleacher Report. 2011-04-15. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  14. ^ "The First 19 Games Under Torre A Clue To Yankees Pitching?". 2007-04-25. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  15. ^ Brescia, Joe (December 23, 2007). "Guidry Hopes He's Wearing Pinstripes in the Spring". The New York Times. Retrieved May 22, 2010.
  16. ^ Joe Girardi meets with George Steinbrenner for first time as New York Yankees manager – International Herald Tribune
  17. ^ Driving Mr. Yogi: Yogi Berra, Ron Guidry, and Baseball's Greatest Gift (9780547746722): Harvey Araton: Books. ISBN 0547746725.

External links

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors), or Baseball Reference Bullpen, or Retrosheet, or Pelota Binaria (Venezuelan Winter League)
Preceded by
Mel Stottlemyre
New York Yankees pitching coach
Succeeded by
Dave Eiland