Don Koonce

From BR Bullpen

Donald Clayton Koonce

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Don Koonce was a minor league relief pitcher who played in 1968 and from 1970 to 1974. He was the brother of Cal Koonce.

Koonce began his career in the New York Mets organization, playing for the Mankato Mets and going 1-6 with a 1.94 ERA in 19 games (two starts). He allowed only 32 hits in 51 innings of work. Had he qualified, he would have ranked 4th in the Northern League in ERA. After missing 1969, Koonce played for the Memphis Blues in 1970, going 5-3 with three saves and a 3.25 ERA in 32 relief appearances. He split the 1971 season between the Blues (four games) and Tidewater Tides (39 games), going a combined 5-6 with a 2.22 ERA in 43 relief appearances. He saved 15 games for Tidewater, leading the 1971 International League, in his AAA debut.

Koonce was traded to the Montreal Expos on December 3, 1971, being sent with Arsenio Diaz, Billy Carthel and Curtis Brown in exchange for Jim Gosger. He spent that year with the Peninsula Whips, going 8-10 with 18 saves and a 2.97 ERA in 59 relief appearances. He was third in the International League in saves; had he qualified, he would have been 6th in ERA.

On January 22, 1973, Koonce was traded to the Detroit Tigers for Jack Whillock. He pitched for the Toledo Mud Hens, going 3-2 with four saves and a 2.45 ERA in 35 games (one start). He began the 1974 season in the Tigers organization, pitching for the Evansville Triplets and going 4-4 with four saves and a 2.37 ERA in 27 relief appearances. He ended up in the Atlanta Braves organization, finishing the year with the Richmond Braves. In total, he made 36 appearances (one start), going 5-7 with a 2.70 ERA.

Overall, Koonce went 27-34 with over 40 saves and a 2.63 ERA in 224 minor league appearances (four starts). He allowed 347 hits in 394 innings of work over the course of his six-year career. Despite his fine numbers at AAA, he never pitched an inning in the majors.