Mike Norris

Norris was a brilliant pitcher for one season, but drug problems sidetracked his career. The San Francisco native shut out the White Sox in his first ML start in 1975. After four faltering years, Norris went 22-9 in 1980 under new manager Billy Martin as the A’s finished a surprising second. Norris was probably the best pitcher in the league that year, but lost a close Cy Young vote to Baltimore’s Steve Stone. Norris lead the AL in fewest hits per nine innings (6.8), tied for second in wins, and was second in ERA (2.54), complete games (24), and innings (284). He declined somewhat in 1981, but his 12-9, 3.75 performance helped the A’s win the first half of the strike-split season. Norris pitched a four-hit shutout in the first game of the division playoff, working out of two bases-loaded jams, as the A’s swept the Royals. He took a tough 3-1 loss in the opener of the LCS, allowing all three Yankee runs in the first inning. Drug use and arm fatigue took their toll in the next two seasons, and Norris was made persona non grata on the major league level. He pitched for the rest of the decade with the independent San Jose Bees, always attempting to be reinstated.