Metzger was 11-4 with 16 saves (fifth in the NL) and a 2.92 ERA for the Padres in
1976 to win NL Rookie of the Year honors. His 77 appearances (tied for second in
the NL) set a ML rookie record, and his 10 straight wins tied the ML mark for a rookie
reliever. Coming as it did at the start of the season, the streak combined with his
1-0 records in 1974 and 1975 to set another ML relief record: 12 straight wins at
the beginning of a career. Metzger was traded to St. Louis in May 1977 for John D'Acquisto
and Pat Scanlon (the Padres had signed free agent Rollie Fingers in December 1976),
and was 4-2 with seven saves for the Cardinals. His meteoric career was ended by
arm trouble after he was sold to the Mets for 1978.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»September 15, 1904: Giants rookie Hooks Wiltse wins his 12th straight game, beating Boston, 3-2 at the Polo Grounds. Hooks sets a ML mark for consecutive games won at the start of a career, a record that will be tied by relief hurler Butch Metzger, in 1976. He'll end up at 13-3.
»August 8, 1976: Padres rookie Butch Metzger (10-0) is credited with a 4–3 victory over the Astros, his 10th win without a defeat. With a victory in each of the past two seasons, Metzger's mark of 12–0 to start a career matches Hooks Wiltse, in 1904. Metzger will lose his last four decisions this year.
»April 29, 1994: Montreal P Kirk Rueter defeats SD by a score of 3-1. In doing so, he becomes the first major league pitcher since Fernando Valenzuela in 1981 to begin his career by winning his first 10 decisions. The all-time record is 12, held by former Giants hurler, Hooks Wiltse, who did so in 1904, and tied by Butch Metzger (1974-76).