Heathcliff Slocumb (not the golfer…or the cat)

Quick Hits

Position: Pitcher

Teams:

  • Chicago Cubs (1991-1993)
  • Cleveland Indians (1993)
  • Philadelphia Phillies (1994-1995)
  • Boston Red Sox (1996-1997)
  • Seattle Mariners (1997-1998]
  • Baltimore Orioles (1999)
  • St. Louis Cardinals (1999-2000)
  • San Diego Padres (2000)

Notables:

  • Signed by the New York Mets as an amateur free agent in 1984
  • Co-led the National League in games finished (54) in 1995
  • 297 career games finished is 93rd on all-time list.
  • All-Star (NL) in 1995 (Philadelphia)
  • Career 98 saves, 513 Strikeouts with a 4.08 ERA
  • Saved 32 games for Philadelphia in 1995, 31 for Boston in 1996
  • Traded from Boston to Seattle in 1997 for future all-stars Jason Varitek and Derek Lowe

If you are looking for PGA golfer Heath Slocum you are (A) in the wrong place, (B) surprised that an ex-Major Leaguer had pretty much the same name, and (C) soon to be disgruntled when you find that this site has yet to feature a golfer.

Heathcliff Slocumb and Heath Slocum have more in common than just their name. CBS Sportsline user goillini2006 recalls:

I believe Heathcliff Slocumb was an avid golfer. I remember every 7th or 8th inning at Wrigley when Heathcliff pitched was “Tee off time” – for the opposition.”

Ouch.

You may also remember Heathcliff the cat, a comic strip that has been running for over 30 years (View the one from today’s paper). There was an animated TV series based off the comic in the 1980’s. Watch the intro!

There is one more famous Heathcliff that deserves recognition here: Dr. Heathcliff Huxtable of The Cosby Show

And now back to the featured Heathcliff, Heathcliff Slocumb.

How did he come to put on the Mariners uniform pictured above? It was the result of a famous trading blunder:

The Mariners management are the kings of making bad trades and letting star players go, but in 1997 they successfully made one of the worst trades in sports history. Even in 2008, the 1997 trade is still paying dividends for the Boston Red Sox. Seattle received Slocumb from the Red Sox in exchange for prospects Derek Lowe and Jason Varitek, both of whom became all-stars for Boston.

The Rumors and Rants Blog sums it up:

Lowe saved 42 games in 2000 and won 52 games in his final three years as a starter in Boston. Varitek, a two-time All-Star just like Lowe, has been the heart and soul for two World Series-winning Red Sox teams and has proven to be irreplaceable behind the plate. Heathcliff lasted a season and change in Seattle before retiring in 2000, just as Lowe made his first All-Star appearance.

Here is Seattle PI’s John Levesque on the trade:

Mention the trade of Varitek and Derek Lowe to the Red Sox for one Heathcliff Slocumb, and Mariners fans perform the biggest group eye roll since General Pickett told his men they were going to run across a big open field at Gettysburg while the other side was shooting at them.

Mention it to Red Sox fans and they break into the same sly smile you see on the face of the car dealer after you think you’ve outsmarted him on the trade-in of Aunt Lottie’s Plymouth Duster. If members of Red Sox Nation were inclined to send thank-you notes, they’d have to form support groups to cope with the writer’s cramp arising from their gratitude over that 1997 deal.

On the other side of the fence, Fox Sports blogger Morisato defends the trade, saying it made sense at the time and the Mariners can’t be blamed.

Here is an article by John Donovan at SI reminding us there have been worse deals.

This is a rather comical, user-submitted photo: “Damn you Heathcliff Slocumb

In 2006, Nice Guys Finish Third found a recent trade by the Mariners to be eerily similar to the Slocumb trade: prospects Chris Snelling and Emiliano Fruto to the Nationals for Jose Vidro. (Link)

Honestly though, if you’re (still) a Mariners fan and you are (still) trying to make sense of the Slocumb trade, Vidro trade, or any other great trade the Mariners front office has made, why don’t you watch the evidence that maybe you should switch teams:
Evidence #1

Evidence #2

Oh, and while you have been racking up the washed up stars (Ibanez, Vidro, Sexson and Beltre) here’s what your AL West rivals have been up to:

So here are your options: Go here, or go here

>>Return to RFP Homepage

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