Thursday, April 27, 2006

Don Aase

Donald William Aase proved false the old adage that says you can never go home again. A Southern California native, Aase came home twice—pitching for the California Angels and Los Angeles Dodgers in addition to three other clubs during a 13-year, injury plagued major league career.

Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the sixth round of 1972 amateur draft, Aase burst onto the big league scene five years later, hurling back-to-back complete game victories against the Milwaukee Brewers and California Angels while striking out 18 enemy batters to earn American League Player of the Week honors.[1]

The Angels were so impressed with Aase’s first-year performance that they shipped Jerry Remy, their starting second baseman, and an undisclosed amount of cash to Beantown for the young, hard-throwing right-hander the following off-season.

A fastball-slider pitcher, Aase was primarily a starter at the beginning of his career, but pitched exclusively in relief after the 1980 season. He suffered a torn rotator cuff in July of 1982, an injury that would sideline him for nearly two years.[2] Although he pitched well in his return, posting a 4-1 record and eight saves, to go along with an earned run average of 1.62 in 1984, the Angels refused to meet the free agent hurler’s contract demands.[3]

Prior to the 1985 campaign, Aase signed a four-year, $2.4 million contract with the Baltimore Orioles.[4] He enjoyed his best season in the majors with Baltimore in 1986 when he recorded career-high 34 saves and was selected to the A.L. All-Star squad. Shortly thereafter, the injury bug bit the big right-hander once again. He underwent arthroscopic shoulder surgery in July 1987 and was waived by the Orioles following the 1988 season.[5] He then pitched for the New York Mets in 1989, before closing out his career with the Dodgers in 1990, compiling a 3-1 record, three saves and an ERA of 4.97 in 32 games.

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[1] -----. Henderson, Aase Win Player of the Week Honors. TSN: August 13, 1977, p. 36.
[2] Henneman, Jim. Orioles Gave Lynn What He Wanted. TSN: December 31, 1984, p. 61.
[3] Gammons, Peter. Angels Pull In Bankroll. TSN: January 7, 1985, p. 44. See also, Singer, Tom. Angels Are Upset Over Losing Aase. TSN: January 7, 1985, p. 41.
[4] Henneman, Jim. Orioles Gave Lynn What He Wanted. TSN: December 31, 1984, p. 61.
[5] Lang, Jack. Mets’ Gamble Pays Off. TSN: April 17, 1989, p. 22.

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