Sunday Remembrance of Rangers Past: George "Doc" Medich

* George "Doc" Medich was signed by the Rangers as a free agent on Nov. 10, 1977. He was originally a 30th round pick by the New York Yankees in the 1970 draft.

* Medich earned both his undergraduate and medical degree from the University of Pittsburgh. He graduated from medical school in January, 1977 and was involved in several potentially life-saving incidents at ballparks.George_medich4

* Medich went into the stands and save a man’s life while with the Rangers. The incident occured on July 17, 1978 at Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium when Germain Languth, 61, suffered an apparent heart attack in the stands. Medich heard the call go out for a doctor and jumped into the stands, administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and external heart massage. Medich was in residency at Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh at the time.

* After the game, Medich said, "I was trained and I was in the right spot at the right time. Yeah, I guess I saved him. Anytime somebody’s lying there without a heartbeat or a pulse…without aid, there’s a good chance he would die."

* Two years earlier, while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Medich was involved in a similar situation an hour before a game in Philadelphia. Medich was walking on the field and noticed an elderly man slumped over his seat and not moving. Medich jumped into the stands and spent 30 minutes trying to revive him. This time he was unsuccessful and the 73-year-old man died of a heart attack.

* Medich also attended to Hall of Fame pitcher Whitey Ford when he collapsed in the Yankees dugout after throwing batting practice on May 21, 1975.

* Medich was a member of the Yankees starting rotation in 1973-75 and was one of the better starting pitchers in the American League. He won 49 games, 14th most in the American League in that stretch, and was 15th in innings pitched and 12th in ERA.

* The Yankees traded Medich to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1975 season. Billy Martin had just taken over as Yankees manager during the 1975 season and apparently wasn’t a big Medich fan. Martin suggested Medich went around blaming his teammates for his losses. The Yankees ended up getting pitchers Ken Brett and Dock Ellis and second baseman Willie Randolph, and winning three straight American League pennants.

* Medich was with the Pirates for just one year. After going 8-11 with a 3.52 ERA in 1976, he was traded in the middle of spring training in 1977 to the Oakland Athletics in a nine-player trade that sent second baseman Phil Garner to Pittsburgh.

* Medich was 7-1 with a 4.25 ERA in his last nine games of the 1977 season. His teams were 8-1 in those nine games. What is so notable about all this? He pitched for three different teams in September in a bizarre tale of baseball finances at the time.

* The Seattle Mariners claimed him off waivers from Oakland on Sept. 13 and he pitched three games for them, winning two of them. Then he was claimed on waivers by the Mets and he pitched one game for them at the end of the season before becoming a free agent.

* Apparently it was all about money and Medich’s impending free agency after the season. Oakland owner Charlie Finley offered him a three-year deal worth $340,000 and Medich turned it down. When their dispute became public, Finley angrily first put him in the bullpen and then put him on waivers. The Mariners claimed him for $20,000 to gain negotiating rights and sign him to a contract extension before he became a free agent.

* When it became apparent that the extraordinarily cheap Mariners weren’t going to sign him, they put him on waivers to get their $20,000 back even though there was less than two weeks to go in the season. The Mets, on their way to a 98-loss season and having suffered a public relations blow earlier in the season by trading Tom Seaver to the Reds, then claimed Medich in the hopes of signing the former Yankee before the season ended. They couldn’t either and Medich declared free agency, signing with the Rangers on Nov. 10.

* Medich later said that Finley could have sold him to an unknown team for $500,000 in June but wanted players back in the deal as well. The other team refused and Finley was left with just the $20,000 from the Mariners.D4_1_sbl

* Medich’s deal with the Rangers was supposedly four years and somewhere in the "neighborhood" of $1 million. A few days prior to landing Medich, the Rangers had signed Richie Zisk to a $2.8 million contract.

* Medich was with the Rangers for 41/2 years, finally being sold to the Milwaukee Brewers on Aug. 11, 1982. He was 50-43 for the Rangers with a 3.95 ERA that is the 10th best for any pitcher with at least 700 innings with the club.

* In 1981, Medich threw four shutouts, tying him for the American League lead with Richard Dotson, Ken Forsch and Steve McCatty. It is one of just two times that a Rangers pitcher has been tied for the American League lead in shutouts. Ken Hill had three along with Pat Hentgen and Rich Robertson in 1996.

* Only three pitchers in Rangers history have ever thrown more than four shutouts in a season: Ferguson Jenkins, Bert Blyleven (twice) and Jim Bibby.

* Medich had seven shutouts in his 41/2 years with the Rangers, sixth most in club history. Top five: Ferguson Jenkins (17), Gaylord Perry (12), Bert Blyleven (11), Charlie Hough (11), Jim Bibby (8).

* Medich is 10th in club history with 22 complete games.

* Medich allowed 0.55 home runs per nine innings while with Texas, the lowest ratio for any pitcher with at least 500 innings with the Rangers. Kevin Brown was second with 0.60 home runs per nine innings.

* The Rangers scored 5.11 runs per nine innings with Medich on the mound. For pitchers with at least 500 innings with the Rangers, this was the highest career run support for a pitcher who never pitched at The Ballpark/Ameriquest Field in club history.

* Medich was 10-6 with a club-leading 3.08 ERA and four shutouts in 1981 but Rick Honeycutt (11-6, 3.31) and Dany Darwin (9-9, 3.64) shared Pitcher of the Year honors for the Rangers.

* His 3.08 ERA in 1981 was the 12th best in a season by a Rangers pitcher with enough innings to qualify for the ERA title.

* Medich’s birthday is Dec. 9. Todd Van Poppel has the same birthday. So does former Cubs infielder Steve Christmas.

1 Comment

I’ve often wondered what became of Medich. Seems like he was involved in a situation where he was writing scripts for pain-killers to himself.

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