What Is With That Frown?*
Turn that frown upside down and smile upon the best #43, Isidro Pedroza Monge. Originally born in Agua Prieta of Sonora, Mexico, Sid’s family emigrated to the states during his youth. He attended Brawley (CA) High School which is located about 100 miles east of San Diego. The Angels drafted him in the 24th round of 1970 draft and he signed shortly thereafter. He reported to the Idaho Falls Angels (Pioneer-Rookie) and went 5-1 in 17 appearances and a 4.21 ERA.
In 1971, Monge was promoted to the Quad Cities Angels (Midwest-A) and had a breakout season, 12-11 in 24 starts and a 2.40 ERA in 169 IP with a 8.4 K/9. From 1972-1974, his numbers stalled (3.47, 4.59 and 4.64 ERA), playing for the Shreveport Captains and El Paso Sun Kings (Texas-AA) as a starter. Although his WHIP was a robust 1.528, that shiny 14-5 record earned him a his next level jump in 1975, the Salt Lake City Gulls (Pacific Coast-AAA). His numbers stayed stagnant again, 14-9, 4.63 ERA, 1.605 WHIP and 167 IP in 27 starts. But this earned him his cup of coffee in September.
Monge pitched well enough in spring training in 1976 to make the Angels bullpen, and he had a solid year, 6-7 record, 3.37 ERA (99 ERA+). 37 appearances and 13 spot starts with 2 complete games. Early in 1977, Phil Seghi needed a cash infusion, and sent All-Star Dave LaRoche and Dave Schuler to the Angels for Bruce Bochte, Monge and $250k. The shock of the trade affected his numbers as his ERA shot up to 6.23 (64 ERA+) albeit in only 39 IP.
But after an offseason, Monge became a top end reliever in 1978. In 48 appearances he had a 2.76 ERA (136 ERA+) in 84.2 IP, and 6 saves. By this time, it was a known quantity that Monge would walk many a batter, as his lowest ratio was 3.7 BB/9. In 1979, Monge became the closer, throwing a whopping 131 IP, a 2.40 ERA (178 ERA+) and a 12-10 record and 19 saves. His WHIP dipped to a career low of 1.221, his BB/9 rate down to 4.4 BB/9 and a 7.4 K/9 rate was also a career best. He was the lone Indians All-Star representative as well that year.
In 1980, he had another 14 saves in 94.1 IP and a 3.53 ERA (117 ERA+) and a 1.272 WHIP in 67 appearances. By 1981, he had become league average, a 4.34 ERA (85 ERA+) in 58 IP during the strike year. In spring training 1982, Monge was traded to the Phillies for Bake McBride. He lasted one season there before being traded to the Padres. Interestingly enough, in 1984 he ended up receiving World Series shares from both the Padres and Tigers as he pitched for both during the season.
In 2004, Monge was elected to the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame. He is currently the pitching coach for the Monterrey Sultans in the Mexican League. His final career numbers with the Tribe are 23-25, 255 G, 3.38 ERA (119 ERA+) in 407 IP with 46 saves, which is tied for 9th with Jim Kern all-time. He is also 6th in games finished with 152.
*It is thought it takes all 43 facial muscles to create a frown on your face, but less than half of that (usually credited to 17) to smile.
A Brief History
The first player to wear #43 for three seasons was the Stinger, Lee Stange. After arriving with George Banks from the Twins for Mudcat Grant, he would be league average, 13-12, 78 games, 28 starts, 239.2 IP and a 3.61 ERA (99 ERA+). In June 1966, he was dealt to the Red Sox for Dick Radatz.
The next #34 was Vicente Romo, or Huevo to his amigos. Romo was purchased from the Mexico City Tigers in 1964. The Dodgers selected him in the 1967 Rule 5 draft, but after only one appearance with them, he was offered back to the Indians in late April 1968. Romo was fantastic for the Tribe in 1968, 5-3 in 40 games, 12 saves and a blistering 1.68 ERA (185 ERA+) in 83.1 IP and a 0.900 WHIP. In 1969 he only made 3 appearances before being included in the Sonny Siebert deal to the Red Sox with Joe Azcue for Hawk Harrelson, Dick Ellsworth and Juan Pizarro.
If we were to base the best #43 off of only one season, that would most likely go to Rick Sutcliffe. The former Rookie of the Year in 1979 was sent to the Indians with Jack Perconte for Jorge Orta, Jack Fimple and Larry White in December 1981. In 1982, Sutcliffe would finish 14-8 with a league leading 2.96 ERA (140 ERA+) in 216 IP and a league leading 7.3 H/9. He would finish 5th in Cy Young voting and 32nd in MVP voting. But he was 17-11 in 1983, and even though he was an All-Star, he was decidedly league average with a 4.29 ERA (100 ERA+) in 243.1 IP. After another rough beginning in 1984, 5.15 ERA (80 ERA+) in 15 starts, he was dealt to the Cubs for Joe Carter, Mel Hall, Don Schulze and Darryl Banks. He promptly won the NL Cy Young for his 20 starts, going 16-1 and a 2.69 ERA.
The player with the second most IP in #43 is Scott Bailes. A 4th round pick by the Pirates in 1982, Bailes was sent as the PTBNL for light hitting Johnnie LeMaster in July 1985. Over his four seasons with the Tribe, Bailes was below average, going 31-41 in 172 games, 59 starts, a 4.70 ERA (89 ERA+) in 491.2 IP. In 1990 he was traded to the Angels for Jeff Manto and Colin Charland.
The One Year Wonders
Cal Dorsett, Ken Jungels, Chuck Tanner, Jack Curtis, Juan Pizarro, Marcelino Lopez, Dave LaRoche, Jerry Ujdur, Bryan Clark, Mike Aldrete, Cliff Young, Chris Nabholz, Matt Williams, Doug Jones and Brian Williams all wore uniform #43 for only one season.
The All-Time List
Cal Dorsett RP (1940) 0-0, 1 G, 0 GS, 9.00 ERA, 1 IP, 64 ERA+; BRef also claims he wore #24 in 1940; switched to #23 and #33 in 1941
Ken Jungels RP (1941) 0-0, 6 G, 0 GS, 7.24 ERA, 13.2 IP, 56 ERA+; also #33 and #36 in 1941; was #33 in 1940; Rule 5 draftee by Pirates
Chuck Tanner CF, PH, LF (1959) 250/280/354 76 OPS+, 50 PA; purchased from Red Sox; switched to #6 in 1960
Gordon Seyfried RP (1963-1964) 0-1, 5G, 1 GS, 0.93 ERA, 9.2 IP, 424 ERA+; traded with Ron Nischwitz by Tigers for Bubba Phillips
Lee Stange RP, SP (1964-1966) 13-12, 72 G, 28 GS, 3.61 ERA, 239.2 IP, 99 ERA+; traded with George Banks by Twins for Mudcat Grant; traded with Don McMahon to Red Sox for Dick Radatz
Vicente Romo RP (1968-1969) 6-4, 43 G, 1 GS, 1.68 ERA, 91.1 IP, 184 ERA+; purchased from Mexico City Tigers; returned from Dodgers (Rule 5); traded with Sonny Siebert and Joe Azcue to Red Sox for Ken Harrelson, Dick Ellsworth and Juan Pizarro
Juan Pizarro RP (1969) 3-3, 48 G, 4 GS, 3.16 ERA, 82.2 IP, 119 ERA+; also #49 in 1969; traded with Ken Harrelson and Dick Ellsworth from Red Sox for Sonny Siebert, Joe Azcue and Vicente Romo; sold to Athletics
Milt Wilcox RP, SP (1973-1974) 10-12, 67 G, 21 GS, 5.43 ERA, 205.2 IP, 71 ERA+; was #32 in 1972; traded to Cubs for Dave LaRoche and Brock Davis
Dave LaRoche RP (1975) 5-3, 61 G, 0 GS, 2.19 ERA, 82.1 IP, 172 ERA+; also #17 in 1975; traded with Brock Davis by Cubs for Milt Wilcox; switched to #17 in 1976
Sid Monge RP (1977-1981) 23-25, 255 G, 2 GS, 3.38 ERA, 407 IP, 119 ERA+; All-Star in 1979; traded with Bruce Bochte by Angels for Dave LaRoche and Dave Schuler; traded to Phillies for Bake McBride
Rick Sutcliffe SP (1982-1984) 35-24, 85 G, 77 GS, 3.92 ERA, 553.2 IP, 107 ERA+; All-Star in 1983; 5th in Cy Young voting in 1982; 32nd in MVP voting in 1982; also #44 in 1982; traded with Jack Perconte by Dodgers for Jorge Orta, Jack Fimple and Larry White; traded with Ron Hassey and George Frazier to Cubs for Joe Carter, Mel Hall, Don Schulze and Darryl Banks
Jerry Ujdur SP (1984) 1-2, 4 G, 3 GS, 6.91 ERA, 14.1 IP, 85 ERA+
Bryan Clark RP (1985) 3-4, 31 G, 3 GS, 6.32 ERA, 62.2 IP, 66 ERA+
Scott Bailes RP, SP (1986-1989) 31-41, 172 G, 59 GS, 4.70 ERA, 491.2 IP, 89 ERA+; traded by Pirates as PTBNL for Johnnie Le Master; traded to Angels for Jeff Manto and Colin Charland
Mike Aldrete 1B, PH, LF (1991) 262/380/322 96 OPS+, 222 PA
Cliff Young RP, SP (1993) 3-3, 21 G, 7 GS, 4.62 ERA, 60.1 IP, 94 ERA+
Chris Nabholz SP (1994) 0-1, 6 G, 4 GS, 11.45 ERA, 11 IP, 42 ERA+; traded by Expos for JJ Thole and Dave Duplessis; traded with Steve Farr to Red Sox for Jeff Russell
Doug Jones RP (1998) 1-2, 23 G, 0 GS, 3.45 ERA, 31.1 IP, 139 ERA+; traded by Brewers for Eric Plunk
Josh Tomlin SP (2010-2012) 18-11, 38 G, 38 GS, 4.34 ERA, 238.1 IP, 90 ERA+; *2012 stats not included
Statistics and such
Other fun facts, the uniform #43 has been worn 37 times by 21 different players covering 33 seasons of a possible 84 seasons since 1929. Uniform #43 was shared in a season four times, 1963, 1964, 1969 and 1984.