Wednesday, April 27, 2011

#149 - Mac Scarce

Mac Scarce looks very tall to me in this photo. He is at Shea. The cards this year with the Shea outfield in the background always throw me off because I'm not used to the foliage beyond the wall. Mac has the warmup jacket thing going on an overcast day. The Phillies lost 91 in '73 so I think a lot of days seemed overcast. Mac felt a little of that weather in '73 when, despite a very good ERA and his twelve saves he had a not so great record. No Florida weather and no run support - no wonder he had to wear that jacket.

Mac Scarce is about the purest reliever we have seen so far on this blog. He grew up in Virginia where by high school he was pretty much a stud at everything, including football, as his team's quarterback. He went to Manatee Junior College in '67. There he was already strictly a reliever and he was teammates with Johnny Grubb. After two years at Manatee, Mac was drafted by the Reds but shot them down. Instead he played summer ball in South Dakota (with John Stearns and Mike Caldwell, among others) and then went to Florida State. There he had two great seasons, going 1-2 with a 1.62 ERA and 12 saves with 49 K's in 33 innings in '69 and 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA, 18 saves, and 60 strikeouts in 36 innings as a senior. He was then nabbed by the Phillies in the '71 draft. At Single A that summer he would pick up where he left off in college. In '72 he was in Triple A where he had a rough start and moved down a level. He then killed them at Double A Reading where he had six saves to go with his four wins and 0.46 ERA.. That got him up top where he had a nice rookie season for a crappy team. He gives props to Steve Carlton for helping him out. '73 was all Phillies as Mac had a pretty good year with his saves and a low ERA, despite a few too many walks and the 1-8 record. '74 wasn't so great and in the middle of a bad season - 3.8 with a 4.99 ERA - Mac was sent to Triple A. While he had some minor injuries during the season, he really messed up his arm during winter ball - probably rotator cuff issues - and that December he was traded with Del Unser and John Stearns to the Mets for Tug McGraw, Don Hahn, and Dave Schneck.

Scarce pitched one game for the Mets in '75 and was then traded to the Reds for Tom Hall. He spent the next three seasons pitching primarily at Indianapolis, the Reds' Triple A club, but wasn't the dominant pitcher he'd been in the past at the minor levels. Over that time he was 8-10 with eight saves and a 3.97 ERA. In '78 he went to the Twins as a free agent, returning to the top for a few games (1-1 with a 3.94 ERA in 17 games) then moving down to Toledo, where he dropped over a run from his ERA. Although he was then traded to the Rangers, he retired before the '79 season. Mac finished with a 6-19 record, 21 saves, and a 3.69 ERA. In the minors he was 18-14 with a 3.03 ERA and 31 saves,

After baseball Scarce worked a while at an electrical supply business and then moved into real estate, starting his own company in 1990. There is an excellent interview with him from the SABR guys here.

Now that's a hell of a name, maybe the best one so far. Florida State won the SEC title in '70 and then lost a heartbreaker to USC (and Dave Kingman) in the CWS in extra innings. Mac pitched over seven innings in relief in that game.

Two short career guys, but we get lucky:

1. Scarce and Ollie Brown '74 Phillies;
2. Brown and Nate Colbert '69 to '72 Padres;
3. Colbert and Hilton '72 to '74 Padres.

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