Anytime you throw the last pitch of a championship win, you’re guaranteed to have your place in team lore. This is exactly what happened with closer Jesse Orosco. He’s on more Mets posters, promotions and pictures of the 1986 championship than any of us can count. Thanks to his status as the closer that year, his iconic arms in the air and knees on the ground sticks with us after the final out.
Orosco was more than just the lucky name drawn to end the World Series. In his eight seasons with New York, he was a tremendous bullpen arm who helped get the team out of some big jams.
Much like Tug McGraw before him, Orosco’s numbers don’t match up well with today’s relievers. Early in his career, 100 innings wasn’t out of the question. He ate up innings, closed out games and did it while keeping the scoreboard blank.
In 1983, Orosco set the franchise record for the lowest ERA. The 1.47 ERA posted that year was even more amazing considering he did this over 110 innings. The effort earned him his first All-Star nod and landed him third in the Cy Young voting.
Complete totals for Orosco in his time with the Mets include a 2.73 ERA and 107 saves. Having pitched into his mid-40s, he’s also the MLB record holder of most games played for a pitcher. It all began with the 372 times Mets fans got to see him stand on the mound.
More often than not, when we did see him enter the game, the result was a win.