When you talk about the most dominant pitchers in the last decade, it’s hard not to mention David Price.
Though he has dealt with injuries in the last few years, he still has had success on the mound. Our MLB bro has accomplished a lot throughout his 14-year career. Before the 2021 season, Price’s last appearance on the mound came in 2019 as he opted to not play during the 2020 season because of COVID-19 concerns.
He was still awarded a championship ring by the Dodgers for his veteran leadership and his likeability in the locker room.
He made his first appearance coming out of the bullpen on April 2nd against the Colorado Rockies. Price threw 1.2 giving up two runs on five hits.
The 35-year-old made his first start on May 20th against the Arizona Diamondbacks. He had a solid outing that game going two innings and not allowing a run.
Don’t let the age fool you, Price can still pitch. Throughout his career, Price has been a pitcher opposing teams have had difficulties with.
Let’s throw out some of his accolades:
World Series Champion
AL Cy Young Award
AL Comeback Player of the Year
AL wins leader
Two-time AL ERA leader
MLB strikeout leader
Golden Spikes Award
Dick Howser Trophy
That is an impressive resume right there and shows why Price has been one of the most dominant pitchers in the game.
This season, Price has steadily worked his way back into the rotation for the LA Dodgers. Through 11 games, he is 1-0 with a 3.31 ERA and 19 strikeouts. He recently reached a significant milestone registering his 2,000th strikeout which came on May 27th against the San Francisco Giants.
“It’s taken a lot of hard work, a lot of pitches thrown,” Price said in an article from the Los Angeles Sentinel. “Whenever I see a milestone like that, its longevity in this game. To be able to have that at the highest level of baseball, it’s special to me.”
Price started that game and went 2.2 innings, finishing with five strikeouts as the Dodgers picked up the 4-3 victory.
He’s currently in the top 100 for most strikeouts in MLB history.
You can see that Price is getting more comfortable on the mound as he’s making more appearances out there.
He made his third start of the season on June 1st against the St. Louis Cardinals. He only lasted 1.2 innings but surrendered just two runs before Joe Kelly came in to relieve him. The Dodgers know Price has been a workhorse throughout his career, so they will pick their spots as to where he can be most effective for them.
Here’s something to note, Price is the last Black pitcher to win 20 games in a season.
That’s right, he did it in 2012 with the Tampa Bay Rays, the first MLB team he played for. He finished that season with a 20-5 record and won the AL Cy Young Award. Before Price, CC Sabathia was the last Black pitcher to win 20 games in a season, doing it in 2010 with the New York Yankees (20-7).
Only three Black pitchers have won 20 games since 2005 and Dontrelle Willis is the third one when he went 22-10 in 2005 with the Florida Marlins. Price is a winner and he’s done a lot of that throughout his career. And he still has something left in the tank.
It would be foolish to leave out Price’s name when you talk about the best Black pitchers to ever pitch in the MLB. Numbers don’t lie and when his career is over, he will still be mentioned amongst the best to step on the mound.
Through the first month and a half of the Major League Baseball season, Cardinals’ pitcher Jack Flaherty is on his way to joining one of the rarest fraternities in baseball: Black Aces.
The title of ace is given to a very select few in the game of baseball. It comes with high expectations. When an ace is on the mound, it is win day; period. They stem the tide and stop losing streaks while also being able to be called on to perform in the biggest moments of the season and take down the best hitter on the planet.
The Black pitcher, in general, is a rare sight to see in our game. We see many of our MLB Bros showcase their athleticism while roaming in the outfield and even more recently have seen them anchoring defenses throughout the infield, most notably Gold Glove shortstop J.P. Crawford.
The term “Black Aces” derived from a book, “Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty Game Winners” written by former pitcher Jim “Mudcat” Grant, who was the first 20-game winner in the American League when he did it for the Minnesota Twins in 1965.
To qualify for the fraternity of Black Aces, you must win 20 games in a season. Looking at the current landscape of the game, there is one pitcher who looks like he will be on his way to having his own Probate this season, and it’s Flaherty.
The former 34th overall pick in the 2014 draft currently sits alone on the top of the throne for the Major League lead in wins. His record stands undefeated at 7-0 this season with a 2.47 ERA. He recently became the first Cardinals pitcher since Bob Gibson in 1965 to record a win in seven of his first eight games while having an ERA under three.
Flaherty will be compared to the late Gibson – who passed away last year at the age of 84 to cancer – throughout his entire career.
Gibson pitched for the Cardinals during his entire 17-year career and is one of the original Black Aces in the game of baseball. He recorded five 20 win seasons during his time in St. Louis, which is second most all-time only trailing Ferguson Jenkins who had seven such seasons.
Flaherty is trying to be the newest member of the Black Ace fraternity since David Price joined the group in 2012.
Recently retired future Hall of Famer C.C. Sabathia joined the group in 2010 and former pitcher Dontrelle Willis did so as well in 2005. Before then, the feat had not been reached since 1990 when it was accomplished by Dave Stewart who remarkably completed four straight 20 win seasons from 1987-1990.
Early this year, Sabathia presented Price with a custom sweatshirt and joggers. The logo has an Ace of spade between the two C’s with a B hovering over the Ace of Spade.
The numbers Flaherty is putting up this season have put him in the category of potential starters for the National League All-Star team in Colorado this summer, which won’t be easy in a National League that has the best pitcher in baseball – Mets’ Jacob Degrom – and the Padres’ Yu Darvish who has one of the deepest bags of pitches and the Brewers’ Brandon Woodruff whose strikeout-to-walk ratio is incredible. Hence, winning and continued quality starts will be key for Flaherty to give himself the starting nod.
After a shaky start on Opening Day, Flaherty has responded with a 1.47 ERA in his last 43 innings pitched. He has only allowed one home run in the past seven games and has currently registered six quality starts in a row.
He is yet to walk more than two batters in a start this year and in his last four starts, he has at least six strikeouts. Also this year, he joined the “Pitchers Who Rake” club when he hit his first career home run while pitching seven scoreless innings against the Rockies earlier in May.
The Black Ace Fraternity is ready to welcome Flaherty with open arms. He is closing in on the halfway point to be allowed in the club, and there’s a possibility that he’ll break past the bouncer before seasons end.
His next chance to start comes today as he will be on the mound in front of the St. Louis faithful taking on the Pittsburgh Pirates. Last time he faced them, he notched a season-high nine strikeouts on May 1st.
Some of MLB’s best Black Knights have been sidelined with injuries, robbing the fans of some sensational contributions to the game. MVP candidate Byron Buxton, Toronto’s $125 million man George Springer and Black Ace David Price are just a few of the leading MLBbros that have been regulated to the bench due to injury.
Since retiring, former MLB Black Knight CC Sabathia has a media and lifestyle brand named Roots of Fight which celebrates the improbable achievements of history’s most legendary athletes and their unique battle for greatness.
CC presented David Price with some special drip in the form of a sweatshirt and joggers. The logo has an Ace of spade between the two C’s with a B hovering over the Ace of Spade.
What’s A Black Ace?
The logo represents the Black Aces of MLB. That exclusive fraternity that hasn’t had a member enter since 2012 when Price went 20-5 for the Toronto Blue Jays. In many ways, Sabathia and Price are brothers beyond baseball and through their historical achievements have a unique bond that will tie them together in MLB lore.
“The term “Black Aces,” derived from the book, Baseball’s Only African-American Twenty-Game Winners, written by former major leaguer, and group member, Jim “Mudcat” Grant, the first African-American 20-game winner in the American League (Minnesota Twins, 1965) and the first African-American to win a World Series Game in the American League (1965).
The book is a historically accurate description of the lives of the thirteen African-American 20-game winners in the Majors that existed when the book was released in 2007.
The 15 Black Aces
Canadian-born Ferguson Jenkins won 20-games or more a remarkable seven times (1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974)
Bullet Bob Gibson did it five times (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, 1970)
Dave Stewart did it four times (1987, 1988, 1989, 1990)
Don Newcombe (1951, 1955 and 1956), and Vida Blue (1971, 1973, 1975) both won 20 or more games three times.
Dontrelle Willis (2005), CC Sabathia (2010), David Price (2012), Al Downing (1971), Dwight Gooden (1985), Sam Jones (1959), Mike Norris (1980), J.R. Richard (1976), Earl Wilson (1967) and of course, Mudcat Grant (1965) all did it once.
Respect Dave Stewart
Dave Stewart is the last Black pitcher to post multiple 20-win seasons. To put this into perspective, in the history of Major League Baseball only five black pitchers have eclipsed the 20 wins mark multiple times in a career.
Two of the five are in the Baseball Hall of Fame: Jenkins, who won more than 250 games in a 14-year career, and Gibson, who did it five times in a span of only six years. Gibson was so unhittable in 1968, that MLB lowered the mound to make it easier for hitters to deal with such Black dominance
Newcombe of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who was the first black pitcher to ever win 20 (1951), and Vida Blue of the Oakland Athletics during the 1970s, each reached the achievement three times.
Price and CC are the last of MLB’s Black Aces.
Sabathia went 21-7 with the Yankees in 2010 after signing a huge free agent deal and then leading the Yankees to their first World Series in almost a decade in 2009. Price went 20-5 as the ace workhorse for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012.
With the way pitching philosophy and culture has changed in the past decade, we may never see another Black or Brown 20-game winner again. So we must hold all Black Aces in the highest esteem because it’s one of the rarest achievements in baseball.
While the Nationals try to weather this COVID storm, veteran pitcher Joe Ross came through in the clutch and definitely made a strong case for a permanent spot in the rotation.
To everyone’s disappointment, Josh Bell and Josh Harrison are in COVID protocols and are yet to take the field this season. Price didn’t pitch and Mookie is day-to-day with back stiffness, so the soul of Friday’s game would have been nonexistent if not for Ross, who hasn’t pitched since losing Game 5 of the 2019 World Series.
The layoff served him well as the 27-year-old righty baffled Dodgers hitters for five innings allowing no runs, two hits and striking out four batters in a 1-0 Nats loss against the offensive juggernaut from the West Coast. Ross had a “shut yo mouth and pass the collard greens” performance, proving that he was the man for the mound.
Joe Ross through 5 innings against the 2020 World Series Champs LA Dodgers
In fact, as soon as Ross exited the game, Justin Turner smashed a homer to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead with two outs in the sixth. That was all they would need. It wouldn’t be hyperbole, however, to suggest that Ross threw a kink in the best-laid plans of Dodgers fans, who surely anticipated an obliteration on such a momentous occasion.
It was World Series “Ring Day” at Dodger Stadium and the fans came back to watch live pro baseball in LA on Friday. It was 548 days since fans walked through the gates of the historic ballpark.
In many ways, Ring Day was more than 30 years in the making as a 60-game COVID season, a ton of uncertainty and the proper dose of competitive spirit helped Dave Roberts, Mookie Betts and Magic Johnson’s ownership group win the franchise’s first World Series since 1988.
It was a huge win for Black baseball. There was a collective sigh released by LA baseball fans, who had suffered through two World Series losses in the past three seasons.
The Dodgers’ 2021 home opener seemed to be the perfect storm. As the fans returned to the ballpark, they got to truly share in an accomplishment and celebration that they were only allowed to witness on TV in 2020. Ring Day was like their World Series. The first time they could reach out and touch the moment (with a distance of six feet of course).
Mookie got his ring and a resounding ovation.
Mookie Betts gets his first standing ovation at Dodger Stadium while getting his championship ring 👏
There was some uncertainty surrounding whether or not the Dodgers would award veteran Black Ace David Price a ring because he opted out of 2020, but his positive standing in the clubhouse and the championship leader he’s been since he arrived made it an easy decision for Dodgers brass.
Classy move by the Dodgers. In an even classier move, Price donated his ring to the Players Alliance.
So with 2020 in the rearview and baseball, as we know it pretty much back to normal, it’s time to focus on the task at hand. The matchup between the Dodgers and Washington Nationals on Friday featured baseball’s last two World Series Champions in what could very well be a preview of the 2021 Autumn Classic.
Before the season started, fans of Black baseball definitely had this home opener marked on the calendar as both teams feature elite MLB Bros. The Nationals acquired power-hitting first baseman Josh Bell during the offseason and when he does take the field, to his right will be veteran second baseman Harrison. The Dodgers, of course, have Betts and Price.
On Friday, Ross made sure that nobody forgets that he’s also an MLB Bro capable of delivering All-Star performances.