Don Aase

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Donald William Aase

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Biographical Information[edit]

“I'm like a whale. Every once in a while I resurface.” - Don Aase, on catching on with the New York Mets in 1989

Don Aase was a major league pitcher from 1977 through 1990. He played for five clubs during the course of his big league career, most notably the California Angels and Baltimore Orioles.

Aase was drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round of the 1972 amateur draft. That summer, he struggled with the Williamsport Red Sox in putting up an 0-10 record to go along with a 5.81 ERA. The following season, he was with the Winter Haven Red Sox and led the Florida State League with 15 losses. He bounced back in 1974 with the Winston-Salem Red Sox, leading the Carolina League in wins, complete games, and shutouts, and was named the circuit's Pitcher of the Year. Aase reached the majors when he joined the Red Sox rotation in July 1977. He won his first big league game against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 26th and then threw a shutout against the California Angels five days later. He added another shutout against the Toronto Blue Jays on September 5th and ended his rookie year with a 6-2 record and a 3.12 ERA in 13 starts (a 146 ERA+).

Following this maiden voyage, Aase was traded to the California Angels for Jerry Remy. He was primarily a starter in his first two and a half years with the team, notching 11 wins in 1978. In Game 3 of the ALCS on October 5, 1979, he became the first Angel to earn a postseason victory. In that contest, he replaced Frank Tanana in the sixth inning with a 2-1 lead over the Baltimore Orioles. He gave up runs in the sixth and seventh innings to blow the lead but still earned the victory when the Angels scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to win the game and stay alive in the Series. Aase was moved to the bullpen in the middle of the 1980 season (he would never start another big league game) and was the Angels primary closer in 1981, notching 11 saves. In July 1982, he suffered an elbow injury that sidelined him for nearly two years. He came back in June 1984 and made 23 appearances, recording 8 saves.

Following the 1984 season, Aase became a free agent and signed a lucrative deal with the Baltimore Orioles. He won 10 games and saved 14 in his first year before putting up his best numbers of his big league career in 1986. That season, he saved 23 games in the first half and was named to the All-Star team. In the only All-Star Game appearance of his career, he entered in the ninth inning with runners on first and third and one out, and earned the save by inducing Chris Brown to hit into a game-ending double play. Late in the season, he began to show signs of overwork. On August 28th, he became the first Orioles pitcher to lose two games in the same day, giving up game-winning hits to Dave Kingman in the first game of a doubleheader against the Oakland Athletics and then to Carney Lansford in the nightcap. Nonetheless, Aase set the record for most saves in a season for an Oriole with 34, surpassing Tim Stoddard's 26 saves in 1980. He held the record until Gregg Olson earned 36 saves in 1990. His 34 saves were also at the time the record for a member of a last place team.

Aase's sole win in 1987 came on Opening Day, April 6, pitching an inning and a third of scoreless relief after replacing Mike Boddicker. After a few more relief appearances, he missed the rest of the season with shoulder surgery. He ended his career following stints with the New York Mets in 1989 and the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1990.

During his career, Aase primarily wore numbers 46 (with the Angels) and 41 (with the Orioles). In spite of his name starting with two "A"s, he is only fourth in the major league alphabetical list, after David Aardsma, Hank Aaron, and Tommie Aaron. Aase's son, Kelby, pitched collegiately at Fullerton College and UNLV.

Notable Achievements[edit]

Related Sites[edit]