Cardinal Nation has lost another beloved member of its organization.
Former Cardinals pitcher Joaquin Andujar has passed away at the age of 62.
According to former MLB pitcher Mario Soto, Andujar had suffered from diabetes for years and died due to complications from the disease. “Joaquin struggled for years with diabetes and in recent days had deteriorated a lot,” Soto said in a statement released.
On social media, tributes poured out, including one from the Cardinals organization.
He was “One Tough Dominican” & a member of our Cardinals family. We loved him & we will miss him. RIP Joaquin Andujar
The Dominican-born Andujar was born on December 21st, 1952, and made his Major League Baseball debut on April 8th, 1976 for the Houston Astros. For his rookie year, he started in the bullpen but worked his way into the starting rotation, and finished the season with a 9-10 record as well as an ERA of 3.60.
From 1976 until 1980, the years in which he was a member of the Astros full time, Andujar went 40-45, which is a win pct. of .471. He had an ERA of 3.60 in 170 games (100 of which he started), threw five shutouts, as well as 23 complete games. In total, Andujar allowed 303 total runs, 37 home runs, while walking 328 batters and striking out 335.
In the middle of the 1981 season, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he finished the season with a 6-1 record and 3.74 ERA. But it was during the following year where he played a pivotal role in the dynamic Cardinals. He won 15 games and had a career low 2.47 ERA during the regular season, while going 2-0 and 1.35 ERA in the 1982 World Series, helping the Cardinals win their ninth World Series.
Over the next three years, Andujar continued to be an essential member to the Cardinals pitching staff, going 47-42, having a 3.68 ERA, playing in 113 games, and starting 108 of them. He also struck out 384 batters over the course of those seasons, with 20 wins in 1984 and winning a Gold Glove Award that same year.
However, it was the 1985 season that made Andujar a memorable name for millions. He won a career high 21 games, and only lost 12 games, and actually got off to a 12-1 start to the season.
In the 1985 World Series, Andujar was not on the same level he was in the 1982 World Series, and manager Whitey Herzog noticed. While John Tudor was on a roll, going 3-1 in the postseason, it was the decisive game seven that things escalated to new levels. With the score already 3-0 Royals, with the bases loaded and no outs in the third inning, Tudor was pulled, and Andujar was brought in. Once umpire Don Denkinger made a call on a pitch that Andujar did not approve of, Andujar let him have it, and was actually restrained by teammates.
Eventually, Herzog was ejected, and, an inning later, Andujar was too. The Cardinals lost 10-0 as the Royals won the World Series.
After the 1985 season, Andujar headed to the Athletics, and later had another short stint with the Astros once again. But the tail end of his career paled in comparison to his performance throughout his time with the Cardinals.
Hot-tempered, dedicated, and strong-willed, Andujar will always be remembered as a beloved member of Cardinal Nation.
Rest in peace, Joaquin.
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