Consistently good but never overpowering, Bruce Hurst used an array of pitches to keep righthanded sluggers at bay. The southpaw may not have been the natural athlete that his longtime teammate Roger Clemens was, but he turned to sneaky fastballs, knee-buckling forkballs, and changeups to play mind games with his opponents. Hurst was a rare lefthander who excelled at Fenway Park. He was 33-9 there from 1986 to 1988, and his 56 Fenway wins are second only to Mel Parnell's among southpaws. His pickoff move to first base was a weapon as well -- he caught 15 baserunners in 1984.
A highly-touted rookie coming up with the Boston Red Sox in 1980, Hurst didn't meet expectations soon enough. But despite spending six midsummer weeks on the disabled list with a pulled groin in 1986, Hurst posted a 2.99 ERA and helped lead the Red Sox to the 1986 World Series. In the Fall Classic he baffled the Mets, winning Game One 1-0 and Game Four 4-2, prompting Darryl Strawberry to remark, "Clemens is tough, but he's no Hurst." He had been voted the Series MVP before the Mets rallied to win Game Six with three runs in the bottom of the 10th, and the award was given to Ray Knight when the Mets won Game Seven as well.
In 1988, Hurst became baseball's most coveted free agent after a career-best 18-6 record, and he accepted less money from the San Diego Padres than the Red Sox had offered so he could pitch in San Diego, closer to his Utah roots. He went 15-11 with a career-best 2.69 ERA in 1989.
Hurst pitched well with the Pods for four years, going 55-37 and establishing himself as a top-notch lefty. At the end of 1992, Hurst began to feel pain in his left shoulder, and underwent surgery that October to repair a torn rotator cuff and labrum. The rehabilitation was an arduous process, and he ended up going on and off the DL for the entire 1993 season, pitching only 13 innings. Half of those innings came for the Colorado Rockies, to whom he was traded in July along with Greg W. Harris
for Brad Ausmus, Doug Bochtler, and Andy Ashby.
At the end of the season, Hurst signed on with the Texas Rangers, hoping to leave his injuries in the National League. But halfway through the year, with repercussions of the surgery still lingering, the southpaw was forced to pitch through pain each time he trudged to the mound. When he realized his shoulder wasn't getting any stronger, Hurst retired in June 1994, stating that he didn't want to be a detriment to his team. (AG/SCL)
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»April 10, 1989:
San Diego's Bruce Hurst pitches a one-hitter and collects his first ML hit in a 5–2 win over the Braves. Lonnie Smith's 2-run home run in the 3rd is the only hit.
»June 19, 1990: Gary Carter catches his 1,862nd career game to break Al Lopez's National League mark. He goes 0-for-3 in the Giants' 4–3 loss to San Diego. Batting for Ed Vosberg in the bottom of the 5th, Giants Don Robinson becomes the first pitcher to hit a pinch home run since 1971. San Diego's Bruce Hurst serves up the gopher. His job done, Robinson does not pitch.
»May 18, 1992: San Diego P Bruce Hurst hurls a one-hit shutout over the Mets, defeating Dwight Gooden by a score of 3–0. The only hit is a single by the recently acquired Chico Walker. Hurst does it without Tony Gwynn, who breaks the tip of his right middle finger by slamming it in the door of his Porsche on the way to the bank. Gwynn is hitting .369.