New York Mets: All-time weirdest pitching windups in franchise history
Memorable Mets Windups: Darren O’Day
Mets fans often lament “the one that got away” for players like Justin Turner, but another player who has excelled since leaving the team is righty sidearm reliever Darren O’Day. He enjoyed a very brief cup of coffee in Queens, making just four appearances for the Mets in 2009 after they selected him in the Rule 5 Draft.
The Mets evidently decided that he was expendable after four relief outings with no earned runs allowed. They placed him on waivers in May 2009, when he was quickly snatched up by the Texas Rangers.
O’Day’s signature is a low, sweeping sidearm delivery that sometimes veers into submarine territory. The ball comes out of his hand low to the ground, but rises as it approaches home plate to the point where hitters often can’t catch up. He has fooled hitters plenty over his 13-year big league career, in which he has pitched to a cumulative 2.51 ERA.
After departing unceremoniously from Flushing in 2009, O’Day has enjoyed success with the Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, and Atlanta Braves. Every time I’ve completely forgotten about him, he shows up in a game against the Mets, and I am reminded that quality relievers with long baseball careers don’t just grow on trees.
O’Day is proof that no matter how nasty a pitcher’s arsenal is, mere filth is not enough to have a long big-league career. A successful pitcher needs to consistently baffle opposing hitters, and O’Day’s sidearm delivery helps do just that.
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Based on this list, the mid-2000s were the prime time for “odd pitching windups” in Queens. Most of the current pitching roster has a traditional overhand delivery, but there is always room for one wild card windup in the rotation or bullpen. I look forward to the next pitcher the Amazins acquire that fits the bill of “sidearm assassin” on the mound.