Born: February 15, 1938|
San Luis Obispo, California
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 21, 1960 for the Baltimore Orioles|
|Last MLB appearance|
|June 11, 1967 for the New York Mets|
|Earned run average||4.07|
|Career highlights and awards|
Charles Leonard Estrada (born February 15, 1938 in San Luis Obispo, California) is a former American baseball player. Estrada was a 6 feet, one inch tall right-handed pitcher in the Major Leagues from 1960 to 1967, playing for the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago Cubs, and New York Mets. After his retirement from the major leagues, Estrada served as pitching coach in the majors.
After completing high school, Estrada was signed by the Milwaukee Braves as an amateur free agent on September 27, 1956. Prior to the start of the 1958 season, Estrada was sent from the Braves to the Baltimore Orioles in an unknown transaction.
With the Orioles
Chuck made his major league debut with the Orioles two seasons later, on April 21, 1960, in front of a crowd of 9,377 at Memorial Stadium. Estrada came in relief for starting pitcher Steve Barber in the 5th inning, and pitched two innings of one-hit ball with five strikeouts. Estrada spent the beginning of the 1960 season coming in relief, but he later joined the young Orioles starting pitching rotation, which also featured Steve Barber, Milt Pappas, Jerry Walker and Jack Fisher. Estrada's rookie season was perhaps the best season of his career. He pitched in a total of thirty-six games, and started twenty-five of them. He tied with Jim Perry for the American League lead with 18 wins that season. Only four other pitchers since 1900 had led their respective league without winning more than twenty games in the season. Estrada also was on top of the American League in hits allowed per nine innings, and finished with a twelve complete games, 144 strikeouts and a 3.58 earned run average. The All-Star Estrada finished second in the 1960 Rookie of the Year voting, falling distantly behind Orioles teammate Ron Hansen. He placed 12th in the American League Most Valuable Player Award voting, but he did win the year's TSN Pitcher of the Year Award. Estrada also was on the Topps All-Star Rookie Roster under the category of right-handed pitcher.
Estrada had another successful season in 1961, pitching in thirty three games for the Orioles. He had a 15-9 record, a 3.69 earned run average and 160 strikeouts in 212 innings of work. He again led the league in hits allowed per nine innings. However, Estrada again showed signs of wild pitching, as he issued a league-high 132 walks, thirty-one higher than that of his rookie season. He again placed second in the league by hitting ten batters in the season, finishing only one lower than the leader, Jim Kaat, of the Minnesota Twins.
The next season was disastrous for Estrada, as he led the league with seventeen losses. He only collected nine wins on the season, and his ERA ballooned to 3.83. He had 121 walks in 223.3 innings, finishing a close second behind Los Angeles Angels rookie southpaw Bo Belinsky.
Estrada's woes did not end, though. The following season, Estrada pitched in only eight games during the season. On June 8, 1963, Estrada suffered an elbow injury with bone chips and a spur in his right elbow, and was done for the season. The following season, Estrada came in as a relief/starting pitcher for the Orioles. It seemed the elbow injury had affected Estrada's pitching. He pitched only 54.7 innings that season, but he posted a 3-2 record with a 5.27 ERA.
Across the league
Estrada did not pitch the following season, and he was sent to the California Angels by the Orioles as part of a conditional deal two months prior to the start of the 1966 season. Just weeks into the 1966 season, he was returned by the Angels to the Orioles. A day later, he was sent packing again, this time to the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs gave Estrada a shot as a starting pitcher on June 14, 1966, but he pitched less than an inning, giving up three hits and four earned runs and also hitting a batter. The Cubs then sent him to the bullpen and used him in relief for the remainder of the 1966 season. His stats only worsened, as he pitched a career-worst 7.30 ERA in only 12.3 innings of work. The 28-year-old Estrada was released by the Cubs on November 30, 1966. That same day, he was picked up by the New York Mets as a free agent. The first game Estrada pitched as a Met was on April 13, 1967. Estrada came in the sixth inning to relieve Tom Seaver on his major league debut, and Estrada pitched two innings of hitless ball. He picked up the win in the first start of Tom Seaver's Hall-of-Fame career. However, the rest of the season did not fare as nicely. In 22 innings of work, Estrada gave up 28 hits, walked 17 batters, and had a 9.41 ERA. So ended Estrada's major league baseball career as a player. He officially announced his retirement from the majors in 1967.
After retiring from the majors, Estrada found employment in the majors again, but this time as a pitching coach. He served as pitching coach for the Texas Rangers (1973), San Diego Padres (1978–1991), and Cleveland Indians (1983).
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Baseball Library - Chuck Estrada
|Texas Rangers pitching coach
| Succeeded by|
|San Diego Padres pitching coach
| Succeeded by|
|Cleveland Indians pitching coach
| Succeeded by|
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