You definitely know the leg kick. But did you know he was a Pirate? Drafted in the third round of the 1995 out of high school, Bronson Arroyo is today’s subject.
Bronson’s career with the Pirates was very unspectacular. He was with them from 2000-2002 and he appeared in just over 50 games - about half of those being starts. He was shuttled back and forth between AAA and the majors to be used as a spot starter and a long reliever. His career ERA with the Pirates sits over 5.00, and frankly there’s not a whole lot in the history books regarding his time in Pittsburgh as he spent much of his time on the Disabled List.
Despite the tumultuous start to his career, his story is one of persistence as we went on to have a long and notable career. In 2003 the Red Sox signed him off waivers, and in 2004, he was an important part of the Sox rotation that went on to win the 2004 World Series. Prior to the 2006 season, he was traded to the Reds in exchange for Willy Mo Pena. He went on to have the best year of his career at age 29. He led the majors in starts (35) and innings pitched (240 2/3) and was named to his first and only All-Star team. He continued on with the Reds for eight more seasons, making at least 32 starts a year and proving to be one of the most durable pitchers in majors.
In 2011, Arroyo placed himself in the record books for all the wrong reasons - He surrendered a whopping 46 home runs across his 199 innings pitched. Quick math tells me that’s roughly one home run every four innings… and that’s a lot. It’s just four shy of the MLB record (50) held by Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.
Despite his affinity for giving up the long ball, his career numbers are those of a very solid MLB pitcher: 419 appearances, 383 stars, win-loss of 148-137, and a career ERA of 4.28. I know a lot of modern-day MLB teams that would jump all over a guy with a guaranteed W/L of .500 and a sub-4.30 ERA.
As for the cardboard, I don’t have a ton to to show, but I do have a pair of his cards.
Bronson Arroyo - 2001 Upper Deck
Bronson Arroyo - 2002 Upper Deck
Sadly, neither one captures the signature leg kick.
Thanks for stopping by for this edition of "He Was a Pirate?"