We haven’t had a pitcher yet as part of hideous ballplayer week but with this nomination that can be said no longer.
You’re going to look at Eric Plunk’s career 3.82 ERA and say ‘well that guy wasn’t too shabby’. Well yes he was. First off, that’s nearly a 3.82 isn’t that far from 4 and when you are often asked to come in and get three of the most crucial outs of the game, and your ERA is around that area in the big leagues, that means you spent a fair amount of the time getting your tits lit. When you are a pitcher, and your last name is ‘Plunk’, you’re set up for some really shitty karma. Shitty name too.
Look, we watched the guy. He got hit hard and he got hit hard a lot. He was never a guy who could come in and right the storm after getting hit hard either. Once Eric Plunk entered the game, if he had a bad inning that shit would continue until he got the hook. He was easily rattled. Any Cleveland fan would probably admit that they were guilty of having the following conversation in the early 90’s.
Fan 1: Indians win last night?
Fan 2: Nope, they fucking blew another late lead?
Fan 1: You’re kidding me! Another lead blown? Who was it?
Fan 2: Who the fuck do you think it was? Same guy it always is! Eric Plunk. Eric Ker-Plunk!
I heard my uncle say it. I had friends say it. If you watched the Tribe you said it. Plunk had the dubious distinction of being part of two different trades that involved Rickey Henderson. On December 5, 1984, as a minor-leaguer, he was traded by the New York Yankees with Tim Birtsas, Jay Howell, Stan Javier, and Jose Rijo to the Oakland Athletics for Rickey Henderson, Bert Bradley, and cash. On June 21, 1989, he was traded by the Oakland Athletics with Greg Cadaret and Luis Polonia to the New York Yankees for Rickey Henderson.
In 1993 the Indians made Plunk their outright closer after the tragic death of Steve Olin, and he was never really the same after a failed stint as a big league closer. He saved a career high 15 games that year, and probably blew about that many saves in the process. His 7.53 postseason ERA tells you that he was especially brutal in October baseball.
Plunk was teammates with Albert Belle, Jeff Kent, Dwight Gooden, Goose Gossage, Eddie Murray and Billy Ripken.
But if you know the name Eric Plunk, you know all about his hideous tendency to throw that 95 mph gas right down the cock and have it end up in the stands in the most inopportune of times.
*Props to our former teammate Mike G. who ironically was a pitcher for this hideous nomination.