A colorful lefty who wore his green stirrups high, slept on pink satin pillows made by his mother and disarmed batters with a show-stopping curve, Zito's pregame routine centered around 30 minutes of yoga. Whatever the cause, his fine debut with the A's in 2000 (7-4, 2.72 ERA in 92 2/3 innings) and a strong start against the Yankees in the ALDS convinced Oakland that Zito was ready to handle the second slot in the rotation behind Tim Hudson
in 2001. He responded with a breakthrough sophomore season.
Zito's father, Joe, was a talented musician who had composed for Duke Ellington and once conducted the London Symphony Orchestra. (JGR)