Kip Bouknight

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Kip McKey Bouknight

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Biographical Information[edit]

Kip Bouknight was a highly decorated college pitcher, but pitched in the minor leagues for 9 years, six at double-A, without reaching the majors.

Amateur Career[edit]

Kip had a fine freshman year at the University of South Carolina, going 11-3 with a 4.07 ERA. He made the Southeastern Conference All-Conference team despite having just missed the top 10 in the league in ERA. He made the Baseball America All-Freshman team. In summer ball, he was 5-2 with a 3.10 ERA for the Wilson Tobs. In 1999, Bouknight went 7-4 with a 3.86 ERA and a save. Moving up to the Cape Cod League that summer, he had a 5-2, 2.25 record for the Chatham A's.

As a junior, Bouknight was dominant. He posted a 17-1, 2.81 record. He was only 40th in NCAA Division I in ERA but led the nation in wins, one ahead of Lenny DiNardo. Bouknight was tied for 8th with 143 strikeouts. He was named the SEC Player of the Year, was a consensus All-American and practically swept the major college baseball awards - he was the ABCA Player of the Year, Collegiate Baseball Player of the Year and won the Rotary Smith Award and Golden Spikes Award. He additionally was named the SEC male athlete of the year.

Oddly, Bouknight was not taken until the 21st round of the 2000 amateur draft, when the Oakland Athletics picked him. The primary reasons for his not being selected among the top 600 players was that he was not overpowering and was deemed short for a pitcher.

Bouknight returned to South Carolina in 2001 and slipped to 10-4, 3.99 with 2 saves. He became the school's all-time strikeout and win leader.

Minor League Career[edit]

He was selected by the Colorado Rockies in the 13th round of the 2001 amateur draft.

Bouknight debuted professionally with the Tri-City Dust Devils, going 3-5 with a 2.78 ERA but a .229 opponent average and a K:BB ratio of 4.53:1 while fanning over a batter per inning. He combined with Pat Lynch to pitch a perfect game that year. He was one strikeout behind New York-Penn League leader Charlie Manning.

While playing for the Salem Avalanche, Bouknight threw a no-hitter on August 7, 2002. He had a 14-7, 3.35 record. He tied Denny Tamayo for the Carolina League lead in victories.

In 2003, the right-hander made it to AA with the Tulsa Drillers, where his record was 10-7, 4.04. Bouknight struggled in 2004 with Tulsa (1-2, 5.55, .340 opponent average) and the Colorado Springs Sky Sox (1-3, 6.75, .325 opponent average). He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays and pitched 3 games for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (3.86) and 1 for the Syracuse SkyChiefs (0-1, 3.60). He went to the Venezuelan Winter League and had a 2-2, 3.67 record for Occidente Pastora.

Toronto did not invite Bouknight back and he was signed by the Washington Nationals for 2005. He split time between the New Orleans Zephyrs (3-2, 3.42 in 9 games) and Harrisburg Senators (4-4, 4.01). In 2006, he was back with the same two teams - 3-0, 4.64 for New Orleans and 6-8, 4.55 for Harrisburg. He led Nationals minor leaguers in complete games (2), innings pitched (158) and tied Andrew Good for the win lead.

For 2007, Bouknight was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went 11-6 with a 3.83 ERA for the Altoona Curve and 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA for the Indianapolis Indians. In 2008, he pitched for the Reading Phillies of the Eastern League, but was hit hardf to the tune of a 6.95 ERA in 16 starts, during which he went 3-8. That was his last taste of organized baseball. After being released by the Phillies in mid-year, he signed with the Somerset Patriots of the independent Atlantic League and was 5-1, 2.52 the rest of the year. he was back with Somerset in 2009, where he went 6-8, 5.17 in 25 games. He decided to retire after that season.

Sources: 1999-2007 Baseball Almanacs, Altoona Curve website

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