Kerrigan's first major-league appearance was a relief stint for the Expos during Larry Dierker's no-hitter for Houston on July 9, 1976. "I knocked [Dierker] down with a pitch in the eighth inning," Kerrigan later remembered, "and all the fans were booing me."
The 6'5" forkballer won both games of a doubleheader later that season against St. Louis, his only two wins that year. He shared Montreal bullpen duties with Don Stanhouse in 1977, making 66 appearances and saving 11. The two were then shipped to Baltimore, where Kerrigan closed out his brief major-league career.
Kerrigan, whose brother Tom was a catcher in the Phillies organization in the 1960s, returned as the Expos' bullpen coach in 1983. Within a decade he had become the team's pitching coach, charged with nurturing a young flock of talented arms that included Pedro Martinez, Jeff Fassero, Ken Hill and Kirk Rueter.
By the time Kerrigan jumped to the Red Sox in 1996, he was already considered one of the top pitching coaches in the majors, and he continued to impress by cobbling Boston's motley pitching staff into a surprisingly effective unit. Five years later after moving to Boston, he got his first taste of managerial experience when he was hired to replace Jimy Williams in August 2001.
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FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»September 8, 1976: In a twinbill, the Expos Joe Kerrigan wins a pair from the Cardinals with two innings of relief work in both games. Montreal wins, 7–5 and 8–7.
»September 2, 2001: The Yankees defeat the Red Sox, 1–0, as P Mike Mussina comes within a strike of hurling a perfect game. Pinch-hitter Carl Everett's two–out, two–strike single in the 9th inning ruins Mussina's gem. It is the 3rd time in his career that the righty has taken a perfect game into the 8th inning. The Yankees score the only run of the contest in the top of the 9th on Enrique Wilson's double. Opposing hurler David Cone, who takes the loss, is the most recent pitcher to toss a perfecto. The Yankees sweep of the Red Sox was the first in baseball history by a team that did not score in the first seven inning of any of the games. In a move that enrages many players, Red Sox GM Dan Duquette abruptly relieves pitching coach John Cumberland of his duties just minutes after the game. A visibly angry Cumberland, who was promoted from bullpen coach to pitching coach last month when Joe Kerrigan became manager, said Duquette told him he was being reassigned to the team's training facility in Fort Myers, Fla. ''I'm not going,'' Cumberland said. ''That's official, that's for damn sure. That's OK. We've had a lot of good people leave this organization, and now it's going to be me because I'm not going to be reassigned.''
»September 17, 2001:
Boston OF Carl Everett is suspended for four games by the Red Sox. Everett was late for a schedule workout on Sunday and got into a shouting match with manager Joe Kerrigan after being told to go home.