Doc Medich
Doc Medich Rangers.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1948-12-09) December 9, 1948 (age 73)
Aliquippa, Pennsylvania[citation needed]
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 5, 1972, for the New York Yankees
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1982, for the Milwaukee Brewers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record124–105
Earned run average3.78
Strikeouts955
Teams

George Francis "Doc" Medich (born December 9, 1948) is a former professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1972–1982. He was a medical student at the University of Pittsburgh, and acquired the nickname "Doc" during his early baseball career.

Early years

While in college, Medich (of Serbian descent) pitched for the Pitt baseball team and played tight end on the Pittsburgh Panthers football team.[1]

Professional career

Draft and minors

Medich was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 30th round of the 1970 Major League Baseball draft, and spent three seasons as a starting pitcher in their farm system, going 21-13 over that span with a 2.27 ERA.

New York Yankees

Medich received a call to the majors in September 1972, facing four batters in his major league debut, giving up two singles and two walks.[2] From there, Medich improved substantially, as he went 14-9 with a 2.95 ERA in 1973 to finish third in American League Rookie of the Year balloting. He was also the last Yankee winning pitcher at the original Yankee Stadium, pitching a shutout on September 29, 1973 against the Detroit Tigers. In 1974, Medich won a career high 19 games for the Yankees, tied with teammate Pat Dobson for most wins on the team. Following a 1975 season in which he went 16-16 with a 3.50 ERA, the Yankees sent Medich to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Willie Randolph, Dock Ellis and Ken Brett on December 11, 1975.[3]

Pittsburgh Pirates

Medich spent just one injury plagued season with his hometown Pirates, going 8-11 with a 3.52 ERA. Medich put his medical training to good use during a game on the 11th of April against the Philadelphia Phillies at Veterans Stadium. A 73-year-old spectator collapsed with a heart attack, and Medich performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on the spectator.[4] During spring training in 1977, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics with Tony Armas, Doug Bair, Dave Giusti, Rick Langford and Mitchell Page for Chris Batton, Phil Garner and Tommy Helms.[5]

1977 season

Medich was unhappy with his trade as he was a student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, and wished to remain near the school. He threatened to retire, but later joined the A's, and went 10-6 with a 4.69 ERA. As he was slated to become a free agent at the end of the season, A's owner Charlie Finley attempted to sign Medich to an extension. Unsuccessful, he sold Medich's contract to the expansion Seattle Mariners in September. He was 2-0 with a 3.63 ERA in three starts for the Mariners before being placed on waivers, and selected by the New York Mets. He made one start for the Mets, losing to the Pirates.[6]

Texas Rangers

Medich signed as a Free Agent with the Texas Rangers following the season, going 9-8 with a 3.74 ERA his first season with the club. His best season was the strike shortened 1981 season in which he went 10-6 with a 3.08 ERA, and tied for the AL lead with four shutouts with Richard Dotson, Ken Forsch, and Steve McCatty. In five seasons with the club, Medich went 50-43 with a 3.95 ERA.[7]

Milwaukee Brewers

With the Rangers languishing in sixth place in the American League West, Medich's contract was sold to the Milwaukee Brewers, who were in first place in the American League East, on August 11, 1982. On August 27, Rickey Henderson broke Lou Brock's record for most stolen bases in one season against the Brewers with Medich on the mound.[8] Medich reached the post-season for the only time in his career as a member of the Brewers. His only post-season appearance came in game six of the 1982 World Series. Already down 7-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals, Medich entered in the sixth inning, and gave up six runs (four earned) in two innings of work.[9]

Medical career

Medich entered the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine in 1970 where he obtained his MD degree in 1977.[10]

Twice during his baseball career, Medich went into the stands during a game to aid a fan who was suffering a heart attack. In 1976 in Philadelphia, he performed CPR and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on a fan who died later that day. In a game on July 17, 1978, between the Texas Rangers and the Baltimore Orioles, he revived a man who was suffering a heart attack.[11] The man survived and lived several more years.

Medich was charged in November 1983 with improperly prescribing Percodan and admitted into a substance abuse treatment program.[12] At the time he was a resident in surgery at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.[13] In 1984, he was sentenced to two years of probation and fined $5,000 (equivalent to $13,041 in 2021) in connection with those charges.[14]

Medich was subsequently accused of having written twelve false prescriptions for painkillers in 1999. In 2001, he pleaded guilty to twelve counts of possession of a controlled substance. In March, he was sentenced to nine years of probation and voluntarily surrendered his right to prescribe painkillers.[12]

The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons voted to expel Medich.[15]

References

  1. ^ O'Brien, Jim, ed. (1982). Hail to Pitt: A Sports History of the University of Pittsburgh. Wolfson Publishing Co. p. 32. ISBN 0-916114-08-2.
  2. ^ "New York Yankees 7, Baltimore Orioles 6". Baseball-Reference.com. September 5, 1972.
  3. ^ Durso, Joseph. "Yanks Send Bonds to Angels for Pair And Medich to Pirates for 3 Players," The New York Times, Friday, December 12, 1975. Retrieved May 3, 2020
  4. ^ Mackin, Bob, "The Unofficial Guide to Baseball's Most Unusual Records"
  5. ^ "Pirates, A's Swap 9 Players; Garner and Medich Key Men". The New York Times. Associated Press. March 17, 1977. Retrieved July 5, 2017.
  6. ^ "Pittsburgh Pirates 5, New York Mets 2". Baseball-Reference.com. September 29, 1977.
  7. ^ Adam J. Morris (March 2, 2006). "The Greatest Rangers of All Time – #42 Doc Medich". Lone Star Ball.
  8. ^ Baseball's Top 100: The Game's Greatest Records, p.52, Kerry Banks, 2010, Greystone Books, Vancouver, BC, ISBN 978-1-55365-507-7
  9. ^ "1982 World Series, Game Six". Baseball-Reference.com. October 19, 1982.
  10. ^ Doc Medich and Pennant Trauma - website of the daily newspaper The New York Times
  11. ^ Klingaman, Mike. "This Week in Sports", Baltimore Sun, July 18, 2016, page 2-Sports.
  12. ^ a b "Ex-Pitcher Medich Gets Probation". Associated Press. March 6, 2001. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  13. ^ "Medich in Drug Program". The New York Times. November 17, 1983.
  14. ^ "'Doc' Medich gets 9-year sentence". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. March 7, 2001. Retrieved 4 October 2021.
  15. ^ (Source: AAOS Bulletin – August 2006 – http://www2.aaos.org/bulletin/aug06/fline14.asp)