Wednesday, June 10, 2009

2002 Nabisco Phillies #13 Turk Wendell

Turk Wendell is probably best known for his on-field antics and idiosyncrasies, which he managed to temper (slightly) as his career progressed. This is the guy who: insisted the umpire roll the ball to the mound instead of throwing it to him, crouched down whenever his catcher stood and wore a necklace containing the claws and teeth of animals he had hunted down.

The Phillies acquired Turk from the Mets prior to the 2001 non-waiver trading deadline, in an attempt to bolster the club's depleted bullpen. To date, it's the last trade completed between the two rivals. At the time of the trade, the Phillies were a game out of first place in the NL East. At regular season's end, the club had failed to win the division by 2 games.

Unfortunately, Turk helped ensure the Phillies would not make the playoffs in 2001, as he went 0-2 with a 7.47 ERA in 21 games. He walked 12 and gave up 21 hits in 15.2 innings of work. In short, that's not good. He missed the entire 2002 season due to an elbow injury, but he bounced back in 2003 to pitch in 56 games with the Phils, compiling a decent record of 3-3 with a 3.38 ERA. (Also unfortunate is Cole Hamels' Turk Wendell-like performance tonight against the Mets).

Turk signed as a free agent with the Rockies following the 2003 season, pitching in just 12 games in 2004 before the team released him. His Wikipedia page notes Turk's numerous charitable endeavors, including his trip to Afghanistan in 2006 as part of the "Heroes of the Diamond Tour".

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