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Dave Righetti

From Academic Kids

David Allan Righetti (born November 28, 1958 in San Jose, California), nicknamed "Rags", is an American former left-handed pitcher, and current pitching coach, in Major League Baseball. He was the first player in history to pitch a no-hitter and also lead the league in saves in his career. Dennis Eckersley later duplicated the feat.

He was selected by the Texas Rangers on January 11, 1977 in the first round (10th overall pick) of the amateur draft. On November 10, 1978 he was traded to the New York Yankees (along with four other players including Juan Beniquez) for five players, including Sparky Lyle, and cash. His first major league game with the Yankees was on September 16, 1979, wearing uniform number 56. In 1980 he returned to the minor leagues, but rejoined the Yankees in 1981 wearing number 19, which he would keep until 1994.

He pitched strongly as a starter for the Yankees from 1981-83, winning the American League's Rookie of the Year award in 1981, and helping the Yankees reach the World Series the same year. The highlight of his efforts as a starting pitcher occurred on the Fourth of July, 1983, when he threw a 4-0 no-hitter against the Boston Red Sox. It was the first Yankee no-hitter since Don Larsen's perfect game in the 1956 World Series, and the first by a Yankee left-hander since 1917.

In 1984, Righetti was moved to the Yankees' bullpen due to an excess of starters, and replaced Goose Gossage as the team's closer. He proved even more effective in relief, averaging 32 saves per season over the next 7 years with the Yankees, and being named an All-Star in 1986 and '87. On October 4, 1986 he saved both games of a doubleheader against the Boston Red Sox, finishing the season with 46 saves, and breaking the major league record shared by Dan Quisenberry and Bruce Sutter. The record would stand until Bobby Thigpen saved 57 games for the Chicago White Sox in 1990, which would also be Righetti's last season with the Yankees. Righetti retained the single-season record for left-handers until 1993, when Randy Myers saved 53 games for the Chicago Cubs; Righetti still owns the AL record for left-handers.

Following the 1990 season, he signed as a free agent with the San Francisco Giants. While with the Giants in 1991, he broke Sparky Lyle's major league record for left-handers of 238 career saves; Righetti's record would stand until 1994, when John Franco surpassed his eventual total of 252. Righetti saved only 24 games in 1991, and the following two years saw him ineffective in middle relief roles; his career as a closer was over.

Released by the Giants after the 1993 season, he crossed the Bay to sign as a free agent with the Oakland Athletics. After beginning 1994 with the A's, he was released, and signed as a free agent with the Toronto Blue Jays, playing for the Jays wearing number 24. After that season he was released by the Blue Jays, and in spring 1995 he signed as a free agent with the Chicago White Sox, wearing number 45 with the team. On November 9, 1995, he was again granted free agency; but no team signed him, and Righetti retired to end his 16-year career, finishing with 252 saves, a 3.46 ERA, and a record of 82-79 in 718 games.

Since 2000, Righetti has been the pitching coach for the Giants.

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