A resilient, versatile finesse pitcher, LaCoss was waived by the Reds after 1981
and released by the Royals after 1985 before making the Giants staff as a nonroster
invitee to spring training in 1986. He led San Francisco's 1987 NL West champions
with 13 wins, and after an injury-plagued 1988, began the 1989 season as the Giants'
bullpen stopper. The success of Craig Lefferts in relief and injuries to many starters
moved LaCoss into the rotation; he finished 10-10 with a 3.17 ERA as the Giants won
the NL pennant.
LaCoss enjoyed his best season at age twenty-three, going 14-9
with the NL West champion Reds in 1979 and pitching in the All-Star Game. But by
1983 he was a struggling reliever and occasional starter with the Astros, and he
posted a 5.09 ERA in 1985. In 1985 he hit his only two ML home runs in
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»April 6, 1982:
The Reds sell P Mike LaCoss, 4–7 in 1981, to the Astros.
»June 18, 1986:
Padre reliever Tim Stoddard slugs a solo homer in the 3rd off the Giants Mike LaCoss, and then is lifted an inning later. The Giants win 6–3. For Stoddard, his first homer comes in his last major league at bat. He'll appear in another 128 games but never swing a bat.
»June 23, 1986:
Mike LaCoss pitches a 3-hitter and belts his first ML home run, off position player Dane Iorg, as the Giants pound the Padres 18–1. Tying a ML record, 14 Giants get hits and 13 come around to score in the game. In his next at bat, on June 29th, LaCoss will belt the 2nd and last homer of what will be a 14-year career. That homer will be served up by Tom Browning of the Reds. Iorg gives up four runs in his inning, but does strike out CF Randy Kutcher.