Matt Keough
Matt Keough Athletics.jpg
Born: (1955-07-03)July 3, 1955
Pomona, California, U.S.
Died: May 1, 2020(2020-05-01) (aged 64)
Trabuco Canyon, California, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
Professional debut
MLB: September 3, 1977, for the Oakland Athletics
NPB: April 10, 1987, for the Hanshin Tigers
Last appearance
MLB: October 2, 1986, for the Houston Astros
NPB: September 27, 1990, for the Hanshin Tigers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record58–84
Earned run average4.17
NPB statistics
Win–loss record45–44
Earned run average3.73
Career highlights and awards

Matthew Lon Keough (/ˈk/ KEE-oh; July 3, 1955 – May 1, 2020) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a right-handed pitcher from 1977 through 1986 for the Oakland Athletics (1977–1983), New York Yankees (1983–1984), St. Louis Cardinals (1985), Chicago Cubs (1986) and Houston Astros (1986). After his time in MLB, Keough pitched in Nippon Professional Baseball for the Hanshin Tigers for 4 seasons from 1987 through 1990. Keough batted and threw right-handed.


Keough graduated from Corona del Mar High School in Newport Beach, California, in 1973.[1] The Oakland Athletics selected Keough in seventh round of the 1973 Major League Baseball draft.[2]

Keough with the Nashville Sounds in 1984
Keough with the Nashville Sounds in 1984

Keough was signed by Oakland as an infielder. He was supposed to replace departed Sal Bando at third base, but after leading the California league in hitting while playing for Modesto in his second year of professional baseball in 1975, he hit a disappointing .210 in Double-A in 1976. He was converted to a pitcher and joined Oakland a year later. He was selected to the All-Star Game in his rookie season for the 1978 Athletics, recording a 3.24 ERA despite his 8–15 mark. In 1979, he tied a major league record by losing his first 14 decisions and finished with a 2–17 record. His winning percentage of .105 was the worst recorded by a major league pitcher with 15 or more decisions since 1916, when Philadelphia A's teammates Jack Nabors and Tom Sheehan finished the season with winning percentages of .048 and .059, respectively. From 1978–79, Keough made 28 consecutive starts without a victory, tying Cliff Curtis (1910–11) for the longest streak in MLB history according to the Elias Sports Bureau.[3] The streak was later tied by Jo-Jo Reyes (2008–11).[4]

But Keough resurged in 1980 with a 16–13 mark, earning AL Comeback Player of the Year honors. In the 1981 strike-shortened season he finished 10–6, helping Oakland to clinch the AL Division Series. He pitched well in a losing effort in Game Three of the AL Championship Series, giving up one earned run in 8+13 innings in a game won by the New York Yankees 4–0.

Keough slumped again in 1982, tying for the AL lead with 18 losses against 11 wins in 34 starts. He also walked more batters than he struck out (101-to-75) and led the league in home runs (38) and earned runs (133) allowed. A number of baseball historians and statisticians have put this down to manager Billy Martin overworking Keough and the other members of the 1981 rotation. In 2006, Rob Neyer estimated that Keough threw 131 pitches per complete game in 1981, a heavy workload for a young pitcher even then.[5]

In the 1983 mid-season, the Athletics traded Keough to the New York Yankees for Marshall Brant and Ben Callahan.[6] Nursing a sore arm, he spent parts of two seasons in the minors and returned to the majors with the St. Louis Cardinals late in 1985. The next year, he divided his playing time between Triple-A, the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs. In 1987 he joined the Hanshin Tigers of Nippon Professional Baseball and pitched for them until 1990.[7] He attempted a comeback to the major leagues with the California Angels in 1991 spring training but did not make the roster. In March 1992, he tried again with the Angels and had made the major league roster, but while sitting in the dugout during an exhibition game in which he was later scheduled to pitch, he was hit in the right temple by a foul ball off the bat of San Francisco Giants' John Patterson, seriously injuring him and ending his playing career.[8]

Following his playing career, Keough worked for the A's and Angels both as a roving pitching coach and as an executive from 1992 to 1999. After that, he scouted for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and was again an executive for the Oakland Athletics.

Keough would occasionally throw a spitball. One time, however, his spitball backfired on him. Keough threw a spitball that Boston Red Sox second baseman Jerry Remy missed completely and had seemingly struck out. The umpire, seeing the tremendous break on the pitch, assumed Remy had fouled off the pitch and so he remained at bat with two strikes. On the next pitch, Remy hit a home run, the last of his career.[citation needed]

In a nine-season career, Keough posted a 58–84 record with 590 strikeouts and a 4.17 ERA in 1190 innings pitched, including seven shutouts and 57 complete games.

Personal life

Keough was the son of Marty Keough and the nephew of Joe Keough, both of whom also played in the majors.[9]

Keough was married to actress and November 1980 Playboy Playmate of the month, Jeana Tomasino in 1984. They unofficially separated in the 1990s, legally separated in 2004, and divorced in 2019.[10][11] The two appeared on reality television on The Real Housewives of Orange County.[12] The couple had three children: Shane, Kara and Colton. Shane, their oldest son, is a third-generation professional baseball player, making it as far as the Stockton Ports, a Class A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics, before being released in 2010.[13] Daughter Kara married NFL player Kyle Bosworth.[14]

Keough was sentenced to 180 days in jail in 2005 for driving under the influence, to another 180 days in jail in 2008 for violating his probation by drinking alcohol and to a year in jail in 2010 for driving under the influence.[15]

Keough died on May 1, 2020, in California at the age of 64.[16] His former wife Jeana revealed the cause of death was a pulmonary embolism.[17]

See also


  1. ^ Dunn, Richard (February 27, 2015). "Several alumni help celebrate Corona del Mar baseball". The Orange County Register. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  2. ^ Thanawalla, Ali (May 1, 1991). "Former A's All-Star pitcher, special assistant Matt Keough dies at 64 | NBCS Bay Area". Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  3. ^ Kepner, Tyler (May 25, 2011). "Hapless but Not Hopeless, Blue Jays' Reyes Carries On". The New York Times. p. B11. Archived from the original on September 20, 2017. Retrieved February 27, 2017.
  4. ^ "Jo-Jo Reyes equals winless start record". May 25, 2011. Archived from the original on May 28, 2011. Retrieved May 25, 2011.
  5. ^ Neyer, Rob (2006). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York: Fireside. ISBN 978-0-7432-8491-2.
  6. ^ Gerald Eskenazi, Special To the New York Times (June 16, 1983). "Martin Is Called For Talk Today - The New York Times". New York Times. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  7. ^ Gustkey, Earl (May 8, 1988). "IMPORTED BY JAPAN, AGAIN: Like His Father Before Him, Matt Keough Goes Overseas to Further His Baseball Career". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Keough Hit by Ball, Critical Following Brain Surgery". The Washington Post. March 17, 1992. Retrieved June 19, 2017.
  9. ^ Coker, Matt. "Matt Keough, Ace Pitcher-Turned-Town Drunk, Gets Year in Jail (Sorta) for Latest DUI".
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^ "'Housewives' husband gets year in jail". October 15, 2010.
  13. ^ "Shane Keough Stats & Scouting Report - Baseball America". Baseball America. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  14. ^ Share Tweet Email (February 9, 2014). "Real Housewives of Orange County Star Kara Keough Is Married | E! News". Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  15. ^ Reza, H. G. (April 6, 2005). "Former Pitcher Jailed in Hit-Run". The Los Angeles Times. p. 6. Retrieved February 11, 2022.
  16. ^ Slusser, Susan (May 3, 2020). "Matt Keough, one of A's 'Five Aces,' dies at the age of 64". The San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved May 3, 2020.
  17. ^ Turner, Andrew (May 13, 2020). "Former Corona del Mar baseball star Matt Keough remembered". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved June 3, 2020.