Jim Mecir

Selected by Tampa Bay in the November 1997 expansion draft (during his honeymoon, no less) Mecir pitched well for the Devil Rays but fractured his elbow in a freak collision with teammate Rick White the following May. The injury ended Mecir’s season early, but he recovered the next year and became one of the most sought-after relievers on the trading block that July. Tampa Bay eventually dealt him to Oakland for hot prospect Jesus Colome, and Mecir settled in as one of the A’s top setup men, filling in at times for inconsistent closer Jason Isringhausen.

One of Mecir’s main weapons was a screwball, making him one of the few right-handers in baseball history to use the pitch, following in the footsteps of Christy Mathewson and Mike Marshall.

A Queens native who grew up rooting for the Yankees, Mecir made his major-league debut in Yankee Stadium in 1995 during a cup of coffee in Seattle. After the season, he was sent to the Bronx with Tino Martinez and Jeff Nelson in a deal that brought Russ Davis and Sterling Hitchcock to the Mariners, but he spent most of his time in Triple-A Columbus. He was sent on to Boston in August 1997 and a few months later the Sox left him unprotected in the expansion draft.

Mecir was born with two club feet, a condition that required two surgeries before his tenth birthday. Even though an atrophied right calf muscle left one of his legs an inch shorter than the other, he was one of the quickest pitchers in the majors.