Isringhausen with the Mets in 2011
|Born: September 7, 1972|
|July 17, 1995, for the New York Mets|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 19, 2012, for the |
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
|Earned run average||3.64|
|Career highlights and awards|
Jason Derik Isringhausen ( born September 7, 1972) is an American former professional baseball pitcher and coach. He pitched in Major League Baseball from 1995 through 2012 for the New York Mets, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Isringhausen was, with Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson, a member of "Generation K", a group of highly regarded Mets prospects. Isringhausen proceeded to have a successful career as a relief pitcher, recording exactly 300 career saves. He was a two-time All-Star and led the National League in saves in 2004.
Isringhausen was born on September 7, 1972 in Brighton, Illinois, one of at least three children of Charles and Georgene Isringhausen. Isringhausen played catcher in high school before being moved to the outfield at Lewis and Clark Community College.
In the mid-1990s, Isringhausen, along with pitchers Bill Pulsipher and Paul Wilson were all widely hyped as the next generation of New York Mets' superstars, despite all being in the minor leagues. The group received considerable press attention and the nickname "Generation K". However, injuries took their toll and 1995 was the first year that all three started the season healthy.
Isringhausen began his career as a starter for the Mets near the end of the season, posting a 9-2 record in 14 starts. But a steady progression of serious injuries, including tuberculosis, a broken wrist (sustained while punching a dugout trash can) and three major operations on his pitching arm, derailed his progression into the major-league rotation. (He also was caught clandestinely playing softball for a strip club while rehabilitating.) Consequently, he was forced to miss most of the 1997 season, as well as the entire 1998 season. When he was finally healthy in 1999, he was moved to the bullpen after only five starts. After inconsistent play with the Mets, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics at the trading deadline for reliever Billy Taylor. Mets manager Bobby Valentine was reluctant to use Isringhausen in relief, saying that it would be akin to "[using] an Indy car as a taxi."
As a relief pitcher and closer for the Athletics, Isringhausen's performance improved. Isringhausen established himself as a top closer with Oakland, as the A's made the playoffs in 2000 and 2001. Isringhausen earned his first selection to the All-Star game in 2000.
Isringhausen signed with the Cardinals as a free agent before the 2002 season. During Isringhausen's time with the team, the Cardinals won the Central Division in 2002, 2004, 2005, and 2006 with World Series appearances in 2004 and 2006, winning the World Series in 2006. He registered a league-leading 47 saves in 2004, tying the franchise record which Lee Smith set, until Trevor Rosenthal broke the record in 2015. He was an All-Star and posted a 2.14 earned run average (ERA) with 39 saves in 2005 as the Cardinals won 100 games. The saves total was fifth in the NL.
Despite this success, Isringhausen's 2006 season began with two losses and a blown save in his first five appearances. He struggled with control problems throughout the season, leading to 38 walks (the most given up by Isringhausen in a season since he became a closer) and a 3.55 ERA, which was his highest ERA as a closer since the 2000 season, in which his ERA was 3.78. Isringhausen finished the season with a 4-8 record and 33 saves along with 10 blown saves. He missed the entire 2006 playoffs due to a hip injury, allowing rookie Adam Wainwright to become the Cardinals' closer for the playoffs and that team's World Series Championship.
During the 2006 off-season, Isringhausen underwent his second hip surgery in two years. With Wainwright slotted into the rotation, Isringhausen was returned to the closer role to begin 2007. Isringhausen responded by notching career numbers in 2007, posting a 4-0 record, 2.48 ERA, and 32 saves while walking 28, striking out 54, and giving up only four home runs in 63 innings pitched, appearing in 63 games. Batters hit .179 against him.
On September 25, 2007, Isringhausen was named as one of 10 finalists for the "DHL Presents the Major League Baseball Delivery Man of the Year Award"; and on October 5, 2007 it was announced the St. Louis Cardinals had picked up Isringhausen's option for the 2008 season.
On May 10, 2008, manager Tony La Russa removed Isringhausen as the club's closer. On July 29, 2008, La Russa announced that Isringhausen had resumed his role as closer.
On February 20, 2009, Isringhausen signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays with an invitation to spring training. On April 1, 2009, Isringhausen was added to the 40-man roster of the Rays, and began the season on the disabled list. Once activated, Jason pitched in nine games before it was announced on June 13 that he tore a ligament in the surgically repaired right elbow and would miss the rest of the season to undergo Tommy John surgery.
On July 20, 2010, Isringhausen pitched a bullpen session for the Cincinnati Reds. He impressed both pitching coach Bryan Price and former Cardinals and current Reds General Manager Walt Jocketty enough that the Reds prepared a contract offer for Isringhausen.
Isringhausen signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training for the 2011 season. He began the season in extended spring training, but was promoted to the Mets on April 10. He had a good outing in his first game, against the Colorado Rockies. He was called in with 1 out in the bottom of the eighth inning and retired both batters he faced. His return also marked him as the only pitcher in major league history to return to the mound following a third Tommy John operation. He was being used as the 8th inning setup pitcher for the Mets until previous closer Francisco Rodriguez was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers. Isringhausen was then moved to the closer's role. On July 19, 2011, he picked up his first save since 2008. On August 15, 2011, Isringhausen became the 23rd pitcher all time with 300 career saves against the San Diego Padres in a 5-4 Mets win.
On February 22, 2012, he signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. He eventually appeared in 50 games out of the bullpen for the Angels with a 4.14 ERA.
On February 14, 2013, Isringhausen was named volunteer pitching coach at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) in Edwardsville, Illinois, where he resides during the offseason. While a member of the staff at SIUE, Isringhausen denied through his agent that he was retiring from Major League Baseball, and was still looking for pitching jobs.