Note: This page links to major league pitcher Tom Griffin. For the college coach, click here.
Thomas James Griffin
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 3", Weight 210 lb.
- High School Ulysses S. Grant High School (Van Nuys)
- Debut April 10, 1969
- Final Game May 11, 1982
- Born February 22, 1948 in Los Angeles, CA USA
Pitcher Tom Griffin had an up-and-down career in 14 major league seasons. He burst onto the major league scene with a bang in 1969, when he recorded 200 strikeouts in 188 1/3 innings as a starter for the Houston Astros. That year, the Astros set a new major league record - since broken - for team strikeouts with 1,221. Don Wilson and Larry Dierker also broke the 200 K mark that year. He went 11-10, 3.54 that year, but then struggled the next few seasons. In 1970, he was 3-13, 5.74, then 0-6, 4.78 in 1971. But he began to turn things around in 1972 when he went 5-4, 3.24 as a reliever and spot starter. After a mediocre 1973 (4-6, 4.15), he was back as a front-line starter in 1974, going 14-10, 3.54 in 34 starts and logging a career-high 211 innings. However, his days as a strikeout pitcher were over, as he recorded only 110 Ks, while walking 89. He then collapsed again in 1975, with a record of 3-8, 5.33.
He struggled again at the start of the 1976 season, as his 5-3 record in 20 games mainly as a reliever belied a dreadful ERA of 6.05. The Astros finally gave up on him at that point and placed him on waivers. He was claimed by the San Diego Padres, and once again experienced a rebirth. Moved back to starting, he went 4-3, 2.94 in 11 starts the rest of the way. But he couldn't keep it up in 1977, as he began the season in the starting rotation but was eventually moved to the bullpen, finishing at 6-9, 4.46 in 38 games. His 151 1/3 innings that year was the third most of his career, and he would never reach that total again. He then moved around the next couple of seasons, playing with the California Angels in 1978 and the San Francisco Giants in 1979. He was mostly a reliever those two years, making a total of only 7 starts in 83 total appearances but had uninspiring numbers in a support role as a long reliever/spot starter. In 1980, he pitched very well in that role, going 5-1, 2.76 in 42 games for the Giants, and that earned him another shot at the starting rotation in 1981. While his numbers were brought down by the season being cut down by a third due to the strike, they were quite solid: an 8-8 record, in 22 starts, 129 1/3 innings, and an ERA of 3.76. After the season, he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Doe Boyland and began 1982 in the Pirates' starting rotation. However, at 34, he was out of gas. He made just 6 appearances, 4 of them starts, but went 1-3, 8.87 and was released on May 15th. That marked the end of his playing career.
He was a pretty good hitter for a pitcher, hitting .163 in 405 at-bats, but with 16 doubles and 10 homers. One of these was an extremely rare inside-the-park grand slam on May 30th in his rookie season, 1969.
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 1 (1974)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 1 (1969)