Mark Acre

Acre, who preferred basketball to baseball in his youth, pitched two no-hitters in high school, including a state championship game, and was signed as an undrafted free agent in 1991. The 6′ 8″ Acre sported a 92-95 mph fastball, supplemented by a forkball and a slider, and was touted by the A’s as Dennis Eckersley‘s successor. But despite his physical tools, Acre lacked intimidating mound presence; furthermore, he struggled in 1995 after his mother died of cancer early in the season. In May 1997, he was demoted to Triple-A. Spurning interest from the expansion Diamondbacks, Acre accepted a more lucrative offer to pitch in Japan in 1998 for the Yakult Swallows. Shoulder surgery in May 1999 ended his career; fortunately, his disability earned him a significant insurance payment.