Mike Griffin (griffmi02)

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Michael Leroy Griffin

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Biographical Information[edit]

Mike Griffin was born on June 26, 1957 in Colusa, California.

He attended Woodland High School in California. In the June 1976 amateur draft, he was selected by the Texas Rangers in the 3rd round.

The lanky righthander began his pro career with the Asheville Tourists, in the Western Carolinas League, and was part of the starting rotation the rest of the season. In 11 starts, he had a 6-3 record with a 4.85 ERA. He showed good control with 25 walks in 65 innings.

He was back with Asheville for the whole year in 1977. He was among the league's best pitchers, leading the circuit in wins (17), complete games (19) and strikeouts (201). His ERA was 3.49 in 209 innings. He was named to the post-season All-Star team. However, Griffin hit a wall in 1978 with the Tulsa Drillers in the Texas League. His record was 6-19 with a 6.07 ERA in 169 innings. His WHIP was over 1.7 and he was unusually wild with 85 walks, 10 hit batsmen and 25 wild pitches. After the season, the Rangers included him in a nine-player deal with the New York Yankees. Along with Griffin, the Yankees acquired Juan Beniquez, Paul Mirabella and minor leaguer Greg Jemison for Mike Heath, Sparky Lyle, Larry McCall, Domingo Ramos, Dave Rajsich and cash.

In a more pitcher-friendly environment, Griffin had a solid season in 1979, split between the West Haven Yankees, in the Eastern League, and the Columbus Clippers, in the International League. He was effective at both levels, going a combined 11-8 with a 2.66 ERA in 166 innings and 8 complete games in 23 games. He was called up for a couple of days in mid-August but didn't play. The Yankees called him back in September and made 3 appearances, earning one save.

He made the team out of spring training in 1980 as the team's fifth starting pitcher. But he had only one quality start in 8 assignments (going 2-2) when he lost his spot in mid-June. He was sent to Columbus where he was 7-2 in 13 starts with a 3.47 ERA before being called back in September.

Spring training in 1981 was a defining moment for Griffin and his time with the Yankees. After a bad outing, he was singled out publicly by owner George Steinbrenner. From then on, his days with the Yankees were numbered. He began the season with Columbus where he was used as a full-time reliever for the first time. He did well with 6 saves, a 3-1 record and a 2.44 ERA in 17 games when he was surprisingly called up in June. He made only 2 appearances before the players went on strike. Even though he had spent most of the season in AAA, Griffin found himself idle for almost two months. But he had played his last game with the Yankees organization. As the players came back in August, Griffin was sent to the Chicago Cubs to complete a June transaction when Rick Reuschel had been traded to the Yankees for Doug Bird and a player to be named later. Griffin remained on the Cubs major league roster the rest of the season. He had the chance to start nine games but had only two quality starts. For the season, his record was 2-4 with a 4.31 ERA in 56 1/3 innings.

In March 1982, Griffin was traded again, this time from the Cubs to the Montreal Expos in return for Dan Briggs, who had been sent to the Cubs earlier that month. He spent most of the season with the Wichita Aeros in the American Association, back to starting duties. He went 8-7 with a 5.93 ERA, allowing only 24 walks in 136 2/3 innings but was hit hard with 166 hits. Griffin was called up in June but spent only a few days with the Expos before being sent back to Wichita, without making a single appearance. In August, he was traded to the San Diego Padres, again as a player to be named later, to complete the deal in which the Expos had re-acquired Jerry Manuel in June. Griffin finished the season with the Padres, making 7 appearances and losing his only decision.

His time with the Padres organization was rather short as he was released in late March of 1983. He was picked up in early April by the Texas Rangers and he played the next two seasons with the Oklahoma City 89ers, in the American Association. He was used as both a starting pitcher and a reliever both years. In 1983, he made 15 starts in 35 appearances, showing a 7-8 record and a 4.23 ERA. In 1984, he finished 8-5, his 8 wins being second on the team, with a 4.46 ERA, with 10 starts in 31 appearances. He became a free agent after that season and signed with the Kansas City Royals organization.

Griffin pitched with the Omaha Royals in the American Association in 1985 and was used mostly as a starting pitcher. He had a very solid season with a 7-8 record, a 3.27 ERA and a WHIP of 1.17, second among the team's starting pitchers. In 1986, he led the team with 28 starts, going 8-11 and a 4.08 ERA. The Royals never called him up in these two seasons. He became a free agent and signed with the Baltimore Orioles.

He began the 1987 season with the Rochester Red Wings in the International League. He was 5-1 with a solid ERA at 3.28 in 74 innings when he was called up in June. The Orioles first used him as a starter. He was 2-3 with a 3.56 ERA after 5 starts when he was relegated to the bullpen the rest of the season. He allowed at least one run in 12 of his last 18 appearances, all but one in relief, for a 4.91 ERA in the last two months. Griffin was back with Rochester in 1988 for the whole year. He was 4-8 with a 3.85 ERA in 43 appearances, including 10 starts. After the season, he signed with the Cincinnati Reds organization.

With the Nashville Sounds, in the American Association, in 1989, he was a full-time reliever. He had a strong season with a 2.30 ERA in 74 1/3 innings (41 games), with a 2-3 record and 6 saves. The Reds called him up in June but was ineffective in his 3 appearances, allowing 10 hits and 3 walks in 4 1/3 innings, his last in the big leagues. Given he had never spent a full season in the big leagues at that point, Bill James joked after the season in his Baseball Book that he would be the first player to make it straight from being a prospect to playing in the Seniors League.

After his playing career, Griffin has been a pitching coach in the Cincinnati Reds (1990-1998), Boston Red Sox (1999-2007) and Baltimore Orioles (2008-present) systems.

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