Byron McLaughlin

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Byron Scott McLaughlin

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Biographical Information[edit]

Byron McLaughlin pitched parts of five seasons in the majors, most notably with the Seattle Mariners.

Originally a position player, McLaughlin began his pro career in the Montreal Expos organization, hitting .313 in 7 games without playing the field for the West Palm Beach Expos in 1974 before being released that June. The following year, he signed with the Baltimore Orioles, who moved him to the mound. After one summer in the O's organization (1-2, 1 Sv, 7.46 for the Bluefield Orioles and 0-1, 4.67 for the Lodi Orioles), he pitched for the unaffiliated Victoria Cowboys, leading the Gulf States League with 10 wins while posting a 3.05 ERA, second to Tom Brown. He was also 4th with 74 strikeouts.

Signed by the expansion Mariners in early 1977, McLaughlin was loaned to the Nuevo Laredo Owls of the Mexican League for most of that year. He was very good, going 18-13 with a 1.84 ERA and 221 strikeouts in 244 innings. He was third in the Liga in ERA behind former major leaguers Horacio Pina and Ralph Garcia, tied for 8th in wins with Alejo Ahumada and led in strikeouts by 22 over Bobby Castillo. Returned to Seattle in September, he made his big league debut against the Kansas City Royals on September 18th. He had a rough entrance to the majors, replacing Glenn Abbott with a 4-0 deficit, one out and one on. Freddie Patek was caught stealing and Tom Poquette lined out. The Mariners scored three in the top of the 6th but McLaughlin imploded in the bottom of the 6th. Hal McRae and George Brett led off with singles, then John Mayberry homered. McLaughlin got Clint Hurdle on a fly and fanned Amos Otis, but Darrell Porter and Patek singled and Steve Burke relieved; he let Porter score, giving McLaughlin a line of 5 hits and 4 runs in 1 1/3 IP for the season.

He split the 1978 campaign between Seattle and the AAA San Jose Missions, going 5-2 in 8 minor league starts. He made his first major league start on April 25th against the California Angels, striking out 10 while taking the loss, and got his first big league win against the Baltimore Orioles on August 16th. Overall, he went 4-8 with a 4.37 ERA in 20 games for the Mariners that year. At the big league level for the entire 1979 season, he went 7-7 with a 4.22 ERA in a career-high 47 appearances, while leading the M's with 14 saves. He tied Mark Clear and Ed Farmer for 7th in the American League in saves. In 1980, he posted a 3-6 record in 45 outings, but his earned run average ballooned to 6.85. Following the season, he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for OF Willie Norwood.

Released by Minnesota at the end of Spring Training in 1981, McLaughlin returned to Neuvo Laredo for a time. He was again excellent for the Owls at 12-5, 1.58. He was third in ERA behind Vicente Romo and Jose Limon. He was 12-6 with a save and a 3.22 ERA for the club in 1982. Late that season, his contract was purchased by the California Angels, and he pitched in 6 late-season games for the AAA Spokane Indians (1-0, 1.26). He split the 1983 season between the minors (4-2, 6.66 for the Beaumont Golden Gators; 1-2, 1 Sv, 5.83 for the Edmonton Trappers) and the bigs, going 2-4 with a 5.17 ERA in 16 appearances for the Angels. Let go by California after that year, he was back with Nuevo Laredo in 1984. He had his only poor run in Mexico (2-1, 1 Sv, 5.15) to finish his Mexican League career 44-25 with 2 saves and a 2.37 ERA. He was 22-13 with 2 saves and a 4.53 ERA in the US minors and 16-25 with 16 saves and a 5.11 ERA in 129 major league games (35 starts). Overall, his professional record was 82-63.

Following his playing days, McLaughlin was arrested in 1990 for making and selling counterfeit shoes; he was making up to $750,000 a month at the time. He was also charged with money laundering. He pleaded guilty but fled the country before being sentenced. He was believed to be living in France, as of 2007.

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