Hampton with the Braves in 2008
|Born: September 9, 1972|
|April 17, 1993, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 2010, for the Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Earned run average||4.06|
|Career highlights and awards|
Michael William Hampton (born September 9, 1972) is an American former professional baseball player. Hampton played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a pitcher from 1993 through 2010. He pitched for the Seattle Mariners, Houston Astros, New York Mets, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves and Arizona Diamondbacks. He was the bullpen coach for the Mariners before resigning on July 9, 2017.
Hampton is a two-time MLB All-Star. He won five Silver Slugger Awards and a Gold Glove Award. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 2000 National League Championship Series, and he pitched in the 2000 World Series for the Mets.
Hampton was born in Brooksville, Florida when his father, Mike Hampton Sr., was 19 and his mother, Joan, was 16. He was the oldest of three children. Hampton was raised in Homosassa, Florida, and attended Crystal River High School.
Hampton was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the sixth round of the 1990 Major League Baseball draft. He first broke into the major leagues in 1993, but had a disappointing start. After the season, he was traded to the Houston Astros with Mike Felder for Eric Anthony.
Hampton became a starter for Houston in 1995, and kept his ERA under 4.00 for every season he was with the Astros. In 1999, Hampton had his best year, finishing with a 22–4 record, best in the National League, and a 2.90 ERA. He picked up his first of five Silver Slugger Awards and narrowly finished second in National League Cy Young Award voting to Randy Johnson. During this time, Hampton batted .311 (23 for 74) in 1999.
Entering the final year of his contract, Hampton was dealt to the New York Mets. He went 15–10 with a 3.12 ERA and helped the Mets reach the postseason. With two wins and no earned runs in two starts, Hampton was named the MVP of the 2000 NLCS. Hampton received a loss in his only World Series appearance.
The Colorado Rockies signed Hampton to a long-term contract on December 9, 2000. It was the largest contract in baseball history at the time. Hampton once claimed that he had chosen to move to Colorado because of "the school system", a statement that is often derisively referenced by sportswriters. The Rockies hoped Hampton, who had been one of the best pitchers in the league over the past few seasons, would be able to succeed in the tough pitching conditions of Coors Field.
Hampton went 14–13 with a 5.12 ERA in 2001, often succumbing to control problems. The next season, 2002, Hampton went 7–15 with his ERA climbing to 6.15. Hampton hit ten home runs and had a .300+ batting average over two seasons.
His best all-around offensive season came in 2001 with the Colorado Rockies, when he would hit .291 with seven home runs. The next year he hit three home runs and batted .344. From 1999-2003, Hampton would go on to win five consecutive Silver Slugger Awards.
In November 2002, Hampton was traded to the Florida Marlins, then to the Atlanta Braves. Hampton won 14 games and got his ERA back down to 3.84 in 2003. He overcame a slow start in 2004 by winning 10 of his last 11 decisions and helping to propel the Braves to another division championship.
Hampton's 2005 season was limited heavily by injuries. He went 5–3 in twelve starts, but was lost for the rest of the season with an elbow injury on August 19, 2005. Hampton had Tommy John surgery on September 25, 2005 and missed the entire 2006 season rehabbing.
The Braves were hoping for Hampton to be ready to rejoin the rotation in time for the start of the 2007 season. The rehab was on schedule until Hampton tore his oblique muscle on March 7, 2007, which was to sideline him until at least May. Soon after, the Braves signed Mark Redman to be a left-handed starting pitcher for them in case Hampton was not able to return to action soon. After Hampton threw a bullpen session on April 8, the Braves shut Hampton down due to recurring elbow pain and said that he would see Dr. David Altchek, who had performed his Tommy John surgery in 2005. The next day, it was announced after having another left elbow procedure, that Hampton would miss the entire 2007 season.
Hampton began a rehab assignment on November 22, 2007 for Navojoa of the Mexican Winter League. In the first inning, he attempted to make a play on a comebacker and left during warmups before the second inning, feeling discomfort in his hamstring. The rest of his rehab was left in doubt.
However, Hampton reported to "Camp Roger" on time in late January. He threw off the mound for Bobby Cox and Roger McDowell, both of whom were impressed with Hampton's steady progress. Hampton arrived a day before pitchers and catchers were due to report at Lake Buena Vista. He ran sprints and played catch with teammates, and continued to pitch off the mound, and threw to live batters: Mark Kotsay, Tim Hudson, and Corky Miller.
On April 3, 2008, Hampton was scheduled to make his long-anticipated return to the Braves rotation in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. While warming up, however, Hampton strained his left pectoral muscle, and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.
On July 26, 2008, Hampton made his first major league start since August 2005 against the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he was soon injured again, and finished the season with only 13 appearances. His final 2008 stats included a 3-4 record and a 4.85 ERA.
Hampton chose to wear uniform #11 in his return to Houston to honor his old friend, longtime Astro catcher Brad Ausmus. His #10 that he wore during his first stint with Houston was being worn by Miguel Tejada. He pitched in the number 4 pitcher slot behind Brian Moehler.
Despite initially being expected to miss the whole season, on August 21, 2010, Mike Hampton signed a minor league contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He returned to the major leagues with the Diamondbacks, throwing innings in ten appearances.
In 2013, Hampton was named the pitching coach for the Arkansas Travelers, the AA affiliate for the Angels, joining manager Tim Bogar, who was his teammate for the Astros from 1997-99. Hampton was not retained as coach after the 2013 season.
After 2 years off from coaching, he was hired to be the bullpen coach for the Mariners, the team he played for his rookie year. He joined former Astros teammates Scott Servais (1994-95) and the aforementioned Tim Bogar on the coaching staff. He resigned on July 9, 2017.