A journeyman for most of his career, Heredia finally blossomed into a reliable starter when he posted 13 wins for the A’s in 1999. His breakthrough season was aided by a June tutoring session with Catfish Hunter (nearly paralyzed with Lou Gehrig‘s Disease) who told Heredia to simply throw strikes and have fun. Although he turned 34 that October, Heredia set a new personal best the following season with 15 victories, eleven on the road.
Because his fastball topped out in the 80 MPH range, Heredia never overpowered batters. Instead, he relied on a wide variety of pitches to keep them off balance, prompting reliever T.J. Mathews and announcer Ken Korach to dub him “Doctor Gil”.