It’s no secret that Major League Baseball (MLB) debuts can be a nerve-wracking experience for players. After all, they’re making their first appearance in the big leagues and have the pressure of performing to the best of their abilities. Unfortunately, some players have made less than stellar first impressions, with some of their debuts going down in history as the worst of all time. Let’s take a look at some of the least successful MLB debuts in history.
Scott Munninghoff is widely regarded as having one of the worst MLB debuts ever, as his first appearance in a major-league game ended up being his only one. On April 5th, 1987, Munninghoff entered the game in the ninth inning as a relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers. In the span of just five pitches, he managed to give up two home runs, two walks, and two wild pitches, quickly earning himself an early exit from the game and a place in the record books.
Jim Mecir had a less-than-stellar debut with the New York Yankees in 1996. Mecir entered the game in the ninth inning and gave up two runs, four walks, and a hit. He ended up facing just four batters before being taken out of the game, making it the shortest debut in MLB history. Unfortunately, Mecir’s debut performance would haunt him for the rest of his career, as he would never regain the form that made him an All-Star in 2002.
Scott Karl had an equally abysmal debut with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1994. Karl entered the game in the fifth inning and gave up seven runs in just one inning of work. He ended up walking six batters and giving up two home runs, a performance so poor that it earned him a place in the record books as one of the worst MLB debuts ever.
These three players serve as reminders that MLB debuts can be a make-or-break moment for a player’s career. While some players have managed to turn their debuts into successful careers, others have seen their dreams dashed due to a less-than-stellar performance.
It's a rite of passage for every Major League Baseball (MLB) player: taking the mound for the first time in the big leagues. But for some unlucky players, this momentous occasion quickly devolves into a disaster, with their debut performance ranking among the worst in MLB history. Here's a comprehensive list of the most embarrassing MLB debuts ever:
1. Alan Zinter
In 2001, Houston Astros hitter Alan Zinter made his MLB debut against the Cincinnati Reds. Despite having a relatively successful minor league career, Zinter struck out in all five of his at-bats, making him the first player in MLB history to go hitless in his debut with five strikeouts.
2. Mike Maroth
Mike Maroth was a left-handed pitcher who made his MLB debut with the Detroit Tigers in 2003. His first game was a disaster, as he allowed eight runs in three innings of work, taking the loss in a lopsided 14-3 defeat. Maroth went on to become the first pitcher to lose 20 games in a season since Brian Kingman in 1980.
3. Tony Cingrani
Tony Cingrani made his MLB debut with the Cincinnati Reds in 2012, but it was an outing he soon wished he could forget. The left-handed pitcher allowed six runs in four innings of work in a 10-4 defeat to the St. Louis Cardinals. Cingrani also gave up four home runs, tying a dubious MLB record for most allowed in a debut.
4. Don Cardwell
In 1959, Don Cardwell made his MLB debut with the Philadelphia Phillies in a matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The right-handed pitcher allowed five runs in the first inning, but he was only getting started. Cardwell ended up giving up 10 runs in four innings, resulting in a 10-2 defeat and a dubious place in MLB history.
5. Dave Mlicki
Dave Mlicki made his MLB debut with the New York Mets in 1996 and it was an outing he soon wished he could forget. The right-handed pitcher allowed eight runs in four innings of work, taking the loss in a lopsided 13-2 defeat. Mlicki also gave up three home runs, tying a dubious MLB record for most allowed in a debut.
These five players all had disastrous MLB debuts, but they are far from alone. From Mike Maroth to Tony Cingrani, these players have earned a place on this comprehensive list of the most embarrassing MLB debuts ever.