Matt Keough

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Matthew Lon Keough

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Biographical Information[edit]

Pitcher Matt Keough is the son of Marty Keough and the nephew of Joe Keough and Tom Keough. He is best known as one of the workhorse starters for the Oakland A's during the early 1980s.

Keough was named to the All-Star team in his rookie season pitching for the Athletics in 1978, when he recorded an ERA of 3.24 that belied his 8-15 won-loss record. However, he had a dreadful sophomore year in 1979, tying a major league record by losing his first 14 decisions and finishing the year 2-17. His winning percentage of .105 was the worst recorded by a pitcher since 1916 (Jack Nabors and Tom Sheehan).

Keough enjoyed a resurgence after the Athletics hired Billy Martin as their manager in 1980. He tossed a shutout in his first outing of the year and won his first three starts. As part of Martin's "five aces" rotation, Keough and his fellow starters were subjected to a workload unheard of for modern pitchers. Keough completed 13 of his first 16 starts and 16 of his first 20 in 1980. His 20 complete games for the season placed him third in the American League behind teammates Rick Langford and Mike Norris. For the season, he recorded a 16-13 record and a 2.92 ERA and was named 1980 AL Comeback Player of the Year.

Keough won his first five starts for the A's in 1981, but began to feel pain in his shoulder in May of that year. He pitched through the pain and performed admirably in a losing effort in Game 3 of the 1981 ALCS, giving up 1 earned run in 8 1/3 innings in a game the A's lost 4-0 to the New York Yankees.

The wear and tear began to catch up with Keough and he had an awful season in 1982, putting up a 5.72 ERA. He walked more batters than he struck out and he led the AL in home runs allowed, earned runs allowed, and losses.

In 1983, Keough was traded by the A's to the New York Yankees for minor leaguers Ben Callahan and Marshall Brant. He continued to struggle, putting up a 5.33 ERA in 99 2/3 innings. In 1984, he voluntarily went down to the AA Nashville Sounds in the spring in an unsuccessful attempt to learn a knuckleball, and finally succumbed to the shoulder pain. Keough was placed on the disabled list with a strained rotator cuff and was released at the end of the year. He made 4 appearances for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1985, and then managed to make the Chicago Cubs' opening day roster as a non-roster invitee out of spring training in 1986, but was released on June 14th. Keough then hooked up with the Houston Astros for 10 appearances and 5 starts.

Following the season, in 1987, Keough joined the Hanshin Tigers in Japan and pitched for them until 1990. He began his Nippon Pro Baseball career by going 11-14, 3.80 in 1987, then was 12-12, 2.76 in his best season in 1988. He was sixth in the Central League in ERA and led foreign pitchers in the CL despite a league-high 8 hit batsmen. In 1989, Matt allowed the most earned runs in the circuit (83) en route to a 5-9, 3.72 season. Continuing to decline, Keough was 7-9 with a 5.00 ERA in his fourth and last year with Hanshin in 1990. Overall, he went 45-44, 3.73 in Japan.

He attempted to return to the major leagues with the California Angels in 1991 but did not make the team. The following year, Keough made a bid to make the Angels again, but while sitting in the dugout during a spring training game at Scottsdale Stadium outside Phoenix, AZ, he was hit in the right temple by a foul ball off the bat of the San Francisco Giants' John Patterson. The blow caused a life-threatening blood clot, which required surgery and ended his career. Keough took a job as a minor league scout with the Angels in 1992 and was employed by them through 1999. He has also worked as a scout for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and later as a Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Oakland A's.

In April 2005, Keough was involved in a car accident while driving while intoxicated. He pleaded guilty to drunk driving, injuring a pedestrian, and leaving the scene of an accident and afterward checked into a Betty Ford Clinic and an outpatient alcoholism program. Keough served three months in jail for charges related to the accident.

Keough was separated for over 10 years from November 1980 Playboy Centerfold Jeana Tomasina. His son, Shane Keough, a shortstop, was signed by the A's as a draft and follow pick in 2006 after being made their 36th pick in the 2005 amateur draft.

Keough died in May 2020, mere weeks after his daughter Kara lost a child during childbirth.

Notable Achievements[edit]

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