Mets: Jesse Orosco and his third-place Cy Young finish in 1983
By Tim Boyle
Jesse Orosco had possibly the best year by a New York Mets reliever in 1983 and was rewarded with a third-place finish in the Cy Young vote.
Jesse Orosco had some big years and moments during his time with the New York Mets. Best remembered for jumping into Gary Carter’s arms after the 1986 World Series was clinched, three years prior he had a remarkable season in a year with a less memorable conclusion.
The 1983 team finished 68-94. It was the end of the dark days at Shea Stadium. The team was a season away from becoming respectable again.
In the bullpen, Orosco found himself sharing closer duties with Doug Sisk. Sisk saved 11 games for the Mets that year with Orosco outdueling him with 17 of his own. Back then, the closer role wasn’t quite fully defined like it is today.
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Orosco made the most of any opportunity he did have to pitch. In 62 appearances, the ageless lefty tossed 110 innings and did something we don’t typically see a closer do—lead the team in wins.
Orosco went 13-7 in 1983. The 13 victories led all Mets pitchers. Starters Mike Torrez and Ed Lynch each finished the season with 10. No one else, other than Orosco, reached double-digits. Even Tom Seaver managed to earn the win only 9 times.
It was more than luck that earned Orosco so many victories. He was a master at keeping runs off the scoreboard. The season featured a 1.47 ERA and a team-best 6.9 strikeouts per nine. Back in those days, this wasn’t such a bad strikeout rate.
When the season wrapped up, Orosco was rewarded for his efforts with a third-place finish in the Cy Young vote. It was a rather weak season for pitchers. Philadelphia Phillies pitcher John Denny won the award with 86% of the share. Mario Soto of the Cincinnati Reds was second with 51% of the share. Then there was Orosco with 16%.
Although Orosco finished in a distant third, he did take one of the first-place votes. In addition to that, we saw him finish 17th in the MVP vote.
Orosco spent parts of 24 years in the big leagues. He pitched in more games than anyone else. It was his 1983 performance that landed him Cy Young consideration for the first and only time. The same is true of his mild MVP consideration.
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Possibly the best year by any reliever in Mets history, Orosco’s 1983 campaign stands out as one of the great runs by a bullpen arm.