Wednesday, November 12, 2008

#221 John Tsitouris

tsitouris by you.

Let's talk about the robustly-eyebrowed, even more robustly-chinned John Tsitouris, shall we? After the in-depth profiles I've provided in recent entries, I'm a bit ashamed to admit that there's a dearth of information readily available about today's subject, other than the fact that he is of Greek ancestry. Of course, the name is a bit of a giveaway, I'd say.

John, a North Carolina native, signed with the Tigers in 1954 fresh out of high school. He made his major league debut three years later, earning a win in relief despite being the only one of four Detroit pitchers to allow a run. That November, he was sent to the Athletics in your standard 7-for-6 trade. Notable players involved in the deal included Gus Zernial and Billy Martin, both of whom were acquired by the Tigers. Between 1958 and 1960, Tsitouris pitched sparingly in K.C., topping out with 10 starts (24 games total) in 1959. He won 4, lost 3, and posted a pedestrian 4.97 ERA. In January of 1961, the Reds obtained the righty from the A's, but left him in the minors for the entire season. It looked like his career had stalled out at age 25.

1962 was a turnaround year for John. He won 13 games in the Pacific Coast League, and Cincinnati gave him a shot in September. He pitched progressively better in each of four games, culminating in a season-ending five-hit shutout of the Phillies. Having a secure spot on a major league roster at last, Tsitouris enjoyed a career year in 1963. He rode his curveball (and the rumored occasional spitter) to a 12-8 record that included eight complete games and three shutouts, including a two-hitter and three-hitter in his final two starts, both against St. Louis. His strong 2.97-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio was key to a 3.16 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.

Despite appearing in a career-high 37 games (24 starts) in 1964, John's performance dipped a bit from the previous year. He went 9-13, saved two games, and posted a 3.80 ERA. He also struck out 145 batters, a career-high total that placed him a distant second behind Jim Maloney for the team lead. The following year Tsitouris slipped in a major way, with a 6-9 record and a lofty 4.95 ERA for the Reds. That was essentially the end of his time in the major leagues, as the Reds used him in just six games from 1966 through his final year of 1968.

Fun fact: John's lone shutout in 1964 was one of the more notorious games of an unbelievable pennant race. On September 21, the Reds stood six-and-a-half games behind the first-place Phillies. Tsitouris and Phils starter Art Mahaffey traded zeroes for five innings before Cincinnati's rookie outfielder Chico Ruiz stole home with two outs and Frank Robinson batting in the sixth. It proved to be the only run of the game, as John six-hit the Phillies while striking out eight. It marked the beginning of a ten-game losing streak that doomed Philadelphia's pennant hopes.
tsitourisb by you.


  1. his last name almost looks backwards. Tsiouris could be Siruoist - which looks more like a real word, like sunkist and serious had a child.

  2. Hey, this is my grandfather!
    He's great (: