A first-round draft pick in 1985, the fireballer overwhelmed opponents in two-plus minor league seasons with a 1.89 ERA. Despite time out for a sore elbow his rookie season, Magrane was 9-7 in 1987 and finished third in NL Rookie of the Year balloting. As a rookie, he also drew the starting assignment for Game Seven of the World Series that year, a game the Cardinals lost, 4-2.
The quotable media favorite employed excellent control and a great curve and changeup in 1988 to win the ERA crown (2.18) but at 5-9 was the first ERA leader since Nolan Ryan in 1987 with a losing record. He again missed time that year on the DL, and he sat out his last start of the season to protect his ERA crown, which he won by four points. He was 18-9 with a 2.91 ERA in 1989.
After going 10-17 with a 3.59 ERA in 1990, Magrane missed most of the next two seasons with an elbow injury. “I’ve had so many X-rays that my pitches might take on a subtle glow,” the oft-injured pitcher once said. “It will be tough to pick up the ball. It will look like an opaque-type fog.” Unfortunately for the pitcher, hitters didn’t have too much trouble picking up the ball after injuries struck; post-surgery, Magrane struggled through three more unsuccessful seasons before retiring in 1996.
Magrane, who got his first taste of broadcasting while on the DL in 1991, spent a year working for ESPN and was then hired as a television analyst for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998. He also worked for NBC as a baseball commentator during the Sydney Olympics.