Beimel with the Seattle Mariners
Born: April 19, 1977|
St. Marys, Pennsylvania
|April 8, 2001, for the Pittsburgh Pirates|
|October 3, 2015, for the Seattle Mariners|
|Earned run average||4.06|
Joseph Ronald Beimel (pronounced "BUY mul") (born April 19, 1977) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He has played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals, Seattle Mariners, and Colorado Rockies. Beimel is known for his exceptional slider pitch and high change which keeps hitters guessing at the plate. He is also the only MLB player to ever wear the number 97.
Beimel attended St. Marys Area High School and was a letterman in football, wrestling, basketball, and baseball. He played two seasons of junior college baseball at Allegany College of Maryland in Cumberland, Maryland and one season at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh. Six former Allegany College players have made it to Major League Baseball. Beimel was the fifth Major League Baseball player to come out of the Allegany College of Maryland program. The five other Allegany Trojans to make the big leagues were John Kruk, Stan Belinda, Steve Kline, Scott Seabol and Scott Patterson. At Allegany, Beimel played for Junior College Hall of Fame Coach Steve Bazarnic. During Beimel's years at Allegany the Trojans advanced to the Junior College World Series both seasons. At Duquesne University he was the team leader in wins and complete games and was second on the staff in strikeouts and ERA.
He was drafted by the Texas Rangers in the 26th round after his freshman year in college but chose to remain in school. He was later selected in the 18th round of the 1998 draft by the Pittsburgh Pirates after his junior year and signed with the Pirates on June 5, 1998. He is the first pitcher drafted by the Pirates out of the Pittsburgh-based Duquesne University; he is the only pitcher to have made it to the Major Leagues.
His minor league stops in the Pirates organization included their development level team in Erie (1998, 1-4, 6.32, 6 starts), their "A" ball team in Hickory (1999, 5-11, 4.43, 22 starts), their "A+" team in Lynchburg (2000, 10-6, 3.36, 18 starts, 2 CGs), and their "AA" team in Altoona (1-6, 4.16, 10 starts, 1 CG).
After a strong spring, he made the Pirates Major League roster at the start of the 2001 season. He made his major league debut as the starting pitcher on April 8, 2001 against the Houston Astros, pitching 5 innings, allowing 2 runs, and recording his first career victory. He appeared as both a starter and a reliever that season, finishing with a record of 7–11, ERA of 5.23 in 42 appearances, 15 of them as a starter.
He made another 8 starts on the 2002 squad but has been primarily used as a relief pitcher ever since. After finishing both the 2002 & 2003 seasons in the Pirates bullpen as an average middle reliever, the Pirates released him right before the start of the 2004 season.
He was subsequently signed as a free agent by the Minnesota Twins on April 11, 2004. He spent the bulk of the season with Minnesota's Class-AAA Minor League affiliate in Rochester, where he had a mediocre season (2-4, 6.97, in 49 appearances). He made just three relief appearances for the Twins as a September call-up and then was released after the season.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays
Beimel was signed as a free agent by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays on November 5, 2004 and spent most of the 2005 season with their "AAA" team the Durham Bulls, rebounding by going 1-2 with a 3.93 era in 48 games. He made a few trips to the big leagues to pitch for the Devil Rays during the season, making 7 appearances with an era of 3.27.
Los Angeles Dodgers
In 2006, he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers and became a valuable member of their relief corps, with a 2.96 era in 62 appearances, primarily as a late inning left-handed specialist. However, he has also been effective enough against right-handed batters to be used as both a set-up man and emergency closer, and proved remarkably effective when put into games to work the Dodgers out of jams. He wore #97 for the Dodgers, which at the time was the highest number ever used by a Dodger. The number represents the year of his first child's birth.
His successful season ended on a down note; right before 2006 divisional series between the Dodgers and New York Mets began, Beimel cut his hand on glass at a bar in New York. Due to his injury Beimel was left off the series roster. At first he claimed that it happened in his hotel room before divulging the truth after the Dodgers lost to the Mets three games to none. Beimel was completely sober for 15 months following the incident and now drinks only occasionally.
During the 2007 season, Beimel set a record for the Dodgers by making 83 appearances, the most by a left-handed pitcher in the Dodgers history.
During his first two years with the Dodgers, Beimel became known for his ability to get Barry Bonds out. Beimel held Bonds to 1-16 at the plate, with the one hit being a solo home run. He also walked Bonds only three times.
Relationship with fans
Joe gained a cult following in 2008 in a series of fan-made YouTube videos. When the Dodgers conducted their second annual online fan vote during Spring Training to determine what player should be immortalized as part of the team's bobblehead promotions, Beimel took home the honors for 2008 after a strong Internet turnout, including a campaign that was orchestrated by his parents, Ron and Marge Beimel.
On March 18, 2009, Beimel and the Washington Nationals agreed to a one-year $2 million deal; he became their eighth-inning set up man.
On July 31, 2009, Beimel was traded by the Nationals to the Colorado Rockies for Ryan Mattheus and Robinson Fabian. He signed a minor league contract on March 22, 2010, and was brought up to the majors on April 15.
Return to Pittsburgh
On January 27, 2011, the Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to sign Beimel to a minor league contract. He began the season on the disabled list due to soreness in his forearm and elbow which he experienced midway through spring training. He spent the first weeks of season on rehab assignments with the Advance-A Bradenton Marauders and Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. The Pirates activated Beimel from the disabled list on April 15, 2011.
On May 28, 2011, Beimel was placed on the 15-day disabled list with the same injury which put him on the shelf to begin the season. Daniel Moskos was recalled to take his place. He was designated for assignment on August 23. On August 30 he was released.
Beimel signed a minor league deal with the Seattle Mariners on January 24, 2014. In his first appearance with Seattle, Beimel recorded an out without throwing a pitch, picking off David Freese from first base. He enjoyed a successful 2014 campaign, posting a 2.20 ERA in 56 relief appearances.
Beimel signed a $600,000 deal with the Texas Rangers on March 6, 2015. He struggled through spring training, allowing 11 earned runs in three innings pitched. On March 23, Beimel was released. Had he been promoted to the major league level, Beimel's salary would have risen to $1.5 million. Instead, he was paid $147,541.
During the month of May, Beimel signed a minor league deal with the Marlins. Beimel's deal with the Marlins fell through on May 17, making him a free agent.
Kansas City Royals
Beimel signed a minor league contract with the Kansas City Royals on June 6, 2016. He was released on July 15.
New Britain Bees
On March 22, 2017, Beimel signed with the New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Beimel announced his retirement from professional baseball on June 25, 2017 after appearing in 22 games for the Bees.
Beimel is a Democrat. He has two children with his first wife Emily, and one child with his second wife Carley. He wears #97 to represent the year of his first child Drew's birth.
- OnTheBluff.com - Joe Beimel Named To DU Hall Of Fame
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