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Mike Hampton

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Mike Hampton

A photo of Mike Hampton.

Michael William Hampton (born September 9, 1972 in Brooksville, Florida, U.S.) is a Major League Baseball starting pitcher who plays for the Atlanta Braves. He bats right-handed and throws left-handed. Hampton is well known for being one of the best active hitting pitchers, as well as (more recently) for his large contract and frequent injuries.

Early careerEdit

Mike Hampton was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 5th round of the 1990 draft. He first broke into the major leagues in 1993, but had a disappointing start. After the season, he found himself traded to the Houston Astros, where he would become a star.

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. He broke through 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.

Entering the final year of his contract, Hampton was dealt to the New York Mets in the wake of his big season. He went 15-10 with a 3.12 ERA and helped the Mets greatly in 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.

During this time, Hampton also established a reputation as a good hitting pitcher, as he batted .311 (23 for 74) in 1999. His best season came in 2001 with the Colorado Rockies, when he would hit .291 with 7 home runs. The next year he hit 3 home runs and batted .344. From 1999-2003, Hampton would go on to win 5 consecutive Silver Slugger Awards.

Colorado and AtlantaEdit

The Colorado Rockies signed Hampton to an expensive, long-term contract on December 9, 2000. The contract is the 23rd largest in the history of sports. 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 a slightly disappointing 14-13 with a 5.12 ERA in 2001, his pitching clearly affected by Coors Field. Like his predecessor Darryl Kile, Hampton succumbed to control problems. The next season was even more of a disaster for the highly-paid Hampton, as he went 7-15 with his ERA climbing to 6.15. The only positive from Hampton's two Colorado years was his hitting (ten home runs and .300+ batting average over two seasons).

In November 2002, Hampton and his contract were traded to the Florida Marlins, then to the Atlanta Braves. Braves' pitching coach Leo Mazzone set about trying to get Hampton's career back on track after the Coors Field debacle. 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 did not contribute nearly as much in 2005 as he 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.[1] 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.[2] The next day, it was announced after having another left elbow procedure, that Hampton would miss the entire 2007 season.[3]

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.[4]

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 10, 2008, Hampton was scheduled to start for the Mississippi Braves, the Double-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, against the Jacksonville Suns.

On July 26, 2008, Hampton made his first major league start since August 2005 against the Philadelphia Phillies.

On August 5, 2008, following two mediocre starts in his return to the majors, Hampton earned his first victory in very nearly three years with a sterling 7 inning, 4 hit, 2 earned run performance against the San Franciso Giants. In addition to providing an outstanding start on the mound, Hampton helped his own cause in the 5th inning when he showed his vintage batting prowice and smashed an RBI double to left-center field.

Awards and AccomplishmentsEdit

StatisticsEdit

Year Team W L ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H HR BB SO
1993 Seattle Mariners 1 3 9.53 13 3 0 0 1 17.0 28 3 17 8
1994 Houston Astros 2 1 3.70 44 0 0 0 0 41.1 46 4 16 24
1995 Houston Astros 9 8 3.35 24 24 0 0 0 150.2 141 13 49 115
1996 Houston Astros 10 10 3.59 27 27 2 1 0 160.1 175 12 49 101
1997 Houston Astros 15 10 3.83 34 34 7 2 0 223.0 217 16 77 139
1998 Houston Astros 11 7 3.36 32 32 1 1 0 211.2 227 18 81 137
1999 Houston Astros 22 4 2.90 34 34 3 2 0 239.0 206 12 101 177
2000 New York Mets 15 10 3.14 33 33 3 1 0 217.2 194 10 99 151
2001 Colorado Rockies 14 13 5.41 32 32 2 1 0 203.0 236 31 85 122
2002 Colorado Rockies 7 15 6.15 30 30 0 0 0 178.2 228 24 91 74
2003 Atlanta Braves 14 8 3.84 31 31 1 0 0 190.0 186 14 78 110
2004 Atlanta Braves 13 9 4.28 29 29 1 0 0 172.1 198 15 65 87
2005 Atlanta Braves 5 3 3.50 12 12 1 0 0 69.1 74 5 18 27
2008 Atlanta Braves 0 0 13.50 1 1 0 0 0 4.0 8 0 2 1
Career 138 101 3.99 376 322 21 9 1 2078.0 2164 177 828 1273

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Hampton strains side muscle
  2. Hampton suffers setback
  3. The Official Site of The Atlanta Braves: News: Atlanta Braves News
  4. Hampton Strains Hamstring In Mexico

External linksEdit

Preceded by:
Tom Glavine
National League Wins Champion
1999
Succeeded by:
Tom Glavine
Preceded by:
Eddie Perez
National League Championship Series MVP
2000
Succeeded by:
Craig Counsell
Preceded by:
Greg Maddux
National League Gold Glove Award (P)
2003
Succeeded by:
Greg Maddux

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