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.
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.
David Price is one of the most accomplished Black pitchers of our generation, but the price wasn’t right in his role as a reliever in his season debut for his new LA Dodgers squad.
The last Black pitcher in MLB history to win 20 games as a starter, entered the game and surrendered four hits to the first five batters including two homers. It certainly wasn’t the results Price or the Dodgers expected when newly acquired Trevor Bauer handed the ball off to him.
The Dodgers hung on to win 11-6, so Price’s tough outing doesn’t mean that much. He’s still working off the rust of missing an entire season.
This is Price’s fifth team in his 13 MLB campaigns. He now represents the Senior Circuit and has to mentally prepare himself to come out of the pen at a moment’s notice.
With the Dodgers’ signing of highly-touted free agent Trevor Bauer, they now have an overflow of starting pitching. Price will likely be used in a number of different ways. It’s an adjustment that Price, who averaged over 200 innings as a starter from 2010-14, is eager to make — even after a relief appearance that was funky like ya grandma’s draws.
“I’m willing to do whatever you guys need me to do. Just keep me in the loop and let me know when and I’ll be ready” Price told reporters this spring when asked about his opinion on what role he’ll serve this season.
February 10th, 2020 went down as one of the most important days in recent Dodgers history. A three-team deal between the Dodgers, Red Sox and Twins sent two of the top Black Knights in the league to the city of Los Angeles: An MVP in Mookie Betts and former Cy Young winner Price.
Betts gave the Dodgers exactly what they were looking for. The 2018 MVP had another elite season and made multiple spectacular defensive plays in the playoffs including an NLCS Game 7 homer-robbery of 2020 MVP Freddie Freeman.
Price, on the other hand, chose to opt-out because of the coronavirus, so it’s now Price’s chance to prove his worth as a Dodger. The Black Ace already has one World Series title under his belt with the Red Sox. His veteran leadership and mound savvy can only enhance an already formidable LA rotation.
Price currently ranks 5th All-time in wins for Black pitchers in MLB history behind C.C. Sabathia, Ferguson Jenkins, Dwight Gooden and Dave Stewart (who he trails by just 18 victories).
Price has seen plenty of success in his career as a starter. He has 5 All-Star appearances and won the 2012 Cy Young award while finishing 2nd in 2015. His career ERA stands at 3.31 and he is closing in on 2,000 strikeouts.
Entering the league Price was the number one overall pick for the then-Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 2007 out of Vanderbilt. His Major League debut was in September of 2008 where he pitched out of the bullpen.
He would make their playoff roster and most notably get the save in game 7 in the ALCS to send the Rays to their first-ever World Series.
After 13 years and hundreds of millions of dollars earned his career has come full circle.
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.
Being a relief pitcher in baseball has to be the greatest job in the world. Observing the action from the bullpen, you have one of the best views in sports to watch the greatest game ever created.
Despite that, it comes with a high price as the pressure is on 100 percent, the second you enter the game.
After just the first half of the season, a few of our MLBbro relievers have become diamonds under the pressure.
Here is my #HighFive list of a few current black relievers and how they have fared this season.
Devin Williams, Milwaukee Brewers
The 2020 National League Rookie of the Year got off to a slower start than expected this season after posting a 0.33 ERA in 2020, but has recently stemmed the tide and appears to be back to his dominant self. He currently has a 3.55 ERA with 40 strikeouts in 25 innings.
In six appearances during June, he has only given up one run while striking out 11. He also has only given up more than two hits in an appearance three times this year and has not allowed a home run since April 24.
The Brewers are tied for first place in the NL Central. Williams will need to continue to lock the 7th and 8th innings down in order to get the ball to Brewers’ closer Josh Hader who is one of the filthiest in all of baseball.
David Price, Los Angeles Dodgers
Black Ace Club Member, five-time All-Star, Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion David Price is taking on a new challenge this season as he is coming out of the bullpen for the Dodgers for the first time since his World Series run during his rookie year with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Price is one of the most accomplished Black starters in the history of baseball and for sure in the current generation. His 20-win season in 2012 gave him the green light to enter the Black Ace fraternity but with the Dodgers being loaded with pitching options it was thought that Price would be best used out of the bullpen.
His first two outings this year were a little shaky, but we’ll take that as time spent getting used to his new role. After giving up five runs in his first two starts, only four runners have scored in 14 appearances.
Price has an ERA of 3.74 with 24 strikeouts and a 2-0 record, his most recent win coming on Monday after 0.2 innings of scoreless baseball. He is no longer using speed to blow batters away, rather movement and ball placement have led to many ground balls and fly ball outs for him.
Amir Garrett, Cincinnati Reds
Amir Garrett is literally the biggest reliever in the game. He stands 6-foot-5, 239 pounds, and was suspended earlier this season for seven games after being involved in a benches-clearing brawl against the Chicago Cubs in the beginning of May.
Amir Garrett strikes out Anthony Rizzo, words are exchanged and then both benches clear during the Reds and Cubs game. pic.twitter.com/dGX508V2Gh
— Bally Sports Cincinnati (@BallySportsCIN) May 1, 2021
He saw struggles before his return, but when he arrived he came with a vengeance, allowing only three runs in eight appearances and 10 strikeouts for the rest of May.
After a bump in the road to start June, Garrett has still been a great anchor for the Reds’ bullpen. In his last four games, he has given up one run in three innings and has struck out six. It may take a while to bring his 8.34 ERA down to more of a respectable number. He’ll need to stay dominant and keep his focus on one start at a time.
Taylor Hearn and Demarcus Evans, Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers are the only bullpen in baseball with multiple Black relievers. One throws for the left side and the other the right, but both get it done by throwing flames in Texas’ heat.
Hearn made the Rangers’ Opening Day roster and has had a Jekyll and Hyde beginning to the first three months of the season. After a few April struggles, he seemed to turn it around in May as he posted a 1.93 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 14 innings.
As the calendar turned to June, Hearns arrow shifted in a downward direction. He has given up six runs in six innings, three of them being home runs.
Evans made his MLB debut May 25 and has instantly become one of the team’s best relievers. He won the team’s Minor League Reliever of the Year award for two straight seasons and he’s showing the batters in the Majors are not much tougher. In 8.1 innings, he has only given up two runs and has 11 strikeouts with a 2.16 ERA.
Resilience is the common characteristic found in the makeup of strong MLB relievers. Evans has that. He’s got guts too.
With the Rangers appearing to be in seller mode as the trade deadline inches closer, Hearn and Evans have the chance to showcase their abilities to be stable pieces in the bullpen for years to come.