|TheGoal: Both of you have 6 years with 70 or more appearances, which had not been done in
the history of the Major Leagues until the two of you.
Groom - There were five of us who had done it for four years, We were the only two to have done it for five years, and now we've each done it the 6th year. 1996-2001.
TheGoal: Mike, you've not been in the National League all six of those years?
Myers - No. I've been in the National League four of those six years. Two years were with Detroit, then two with Milwaukee and two with Colorado.
TheGoal: And Buddy, what about you?
Groom - Four of those years were with Oakland, and the last two with Baltimore. I'm going back to Baltimore, and Mike's going back to Colorado.
TheGoal: Mike, the highest number of appearances you had was 88?
Myers - I had 83 appearances with Detroit in 1996, and 88 appearances in 1997. Then 70 in 1998, 71 in 1999, 78 in 2000, and this year was 75 or 76.
Groom - I had 72 in 1996, then 75, 78, 74 or 5, then the last two years with Baltimore I had 70 right on the nose.
TheGoal: Your best ERA?
Myers The year 2000, mine was 1.99.
TheGoal: Pitching in Coors Field?
Myers - It's better to be lucky than good. I had a really good group of guys coming in behind me. If I happened to struggle that day and left a runner on base they came in and made sure they didn't score.
Groom - That's the key for anything. I did the one batter kind of thing for a couple years in a row, in '97 and '98. In '99 I was used a little more. The first year, in '96, I was used all the time. I had more innings than appearances. I had 72 appearances and 79 innings. My last two years in Baltimore, I have been in there for an inning - or an inning plus, as a set-up guy. I did close some this year.
TheGoal: Any saves?
Groom - I had 11 saves.
TheGoal: How about you, Mike
Myers - No. I've had one save opportunity in the last three years, and converted the one I had.
TheGoal: Are you still in the role of a left-handed specialist?
Myers - I go in against the top left-handed hitter. My job is to get those guys out and stop whatever momentum the other team has and then turn it over to the right-handed guy, who comes in behind me.
TheGoal: Mike, how do you feel when you're brought in to pitch to one left-handed batter and
you walk him?
Myers - That's not fun. I didn't do my job. I'm brought in to get this one guy and didn't do it. I basically wasted a few minutes of the game. The previous guy could have just intentionally walked him and saved me the embarrassment, and I feel like I let the team down. More often than not, you get that one left-hander sometimes it can make or break the game.
TheGoal: It sets up a lot of other things.
Myers - It sets up a bunch of other things. It puts more pressure than on the guy coming in. The toughest thing is to come in and get the first out of the inning. It's easy to get the 3rd out of the inning, at least that's the way I feel about it. Buddy might feel differently. There's a lot of pressure on that spot. But I love it. I get a lot of adrenaline from it. I love coming in to face Griffey and Bonds and Grace, and all the top left-handed hitters. It's fun.
TheGoal: How many homers did Bonds hit off you this year?
Myers - He hit one ball about 300 feet, but it was caught. He was like 1 for 12 off me.
TheGoal: - Would you prefer to pitch more than one left-hander?
Myers - I've petitioned my manager, but I also know what my role is and how that role has to be solidified and stay the way it is for us to be a championship team.
TheGoal: You must have had like 60 holds this last year.
Myers - No, not really. We just weren't that good. I expected to get a lot of holds. Usually I'm in the top 10, but this year I wasn't. I came in to tied games, or down by a run, and you don't get a hold for that. When you're not winning too often, you don't get those kinds of statistics. The bottom line is when it comes down to the end, I'm sitting at home watching the games on TV instead of going out to play them.
TheGoal: You have a little side-arm motion, right?
Myers - Somewhere between sidearm and submarine. It works effectively against lefties. In '96 and '97, I was the only left-hander to do it. Over the last couple years a few others have adopted it.
Groom - They got me to drop down when I was in Oakland. I'm not down as extreme as Mike is. I'm down at a low 3/4 motion for lefties. Then for righties I get up over the top, for more deception. Right handed hitters can see the ball a lot longer with a left-handed side arm motion. That's one of the reasons they take Mike out against right-handed hitters. Same with a right-handed submariner, the left-handed hitters see the ball a lot longer.
TheGoal: So, neither of you is a power pitcher?
Myers - I'm not. Definitely not.
Groom - You could probably consider me a power pitcher in one respect. I don't have more strikeouts than innings, but I throw hard.
TheGoal: How hard?
Groom - Hardest I've thrown on the gun is 95.
Myers - Wow. You're throwing flames up there.
Groom - But consistently, I'm throwing about 92.
TheGoal: What's your best pitch, Buddy?
Groom - Probably my fastball. But when I started dropping down a bit, my slider's pretty good to the lefties. It keeps them honest. Then I can use my fastball more and don't have to use my breaking ball as much. My fastball becomes better when I can show that I can throw the breaking ball for a strike.
TheGoal: Your best pitch, Mike?
Myers - My best pitch is a frisbee.
Myers - If you throw the frisbee sidearm, that's my motion.
TheGoal: Is it a roundhouse, or does it snap?
Myers - It starts up a little bit, because my arm angle has to come up to get a strike. It rises up and away from the left-handers and into the right-handers. That's my best pitch, and it's 67 miles an hour.
TheGoal: Do you watch guys bail out?
Myers - On occasion. The ball starts out behind them and breaks into the strike zone. My whole motion is all about deception. I top out at 82 or 84 miles per hour on a good day. I have to be deceiving and hit my spots.
TheGoal: Were you a starter anywhere in the minors?
Myers - I was a starter in the minor leagues.
Groom - You threw over the top back then, though, didn't you Mike?
Myers - I threw over the top then. My first appearance out of the bullpen was in the big leagues, and I threw over the top for about 5 games, and wasn't getting the job done, and a Hall-of-Famer, Al Kaline, suggested I throw side-arm, and every now and then when I see him, I give him a little nudge and say, "Thanks".
It was interesting, when I went to Colorado they game me a locker at the entrance to the locker room, and in there we have a bunch of pictures of Hall-of-Famers, and right across from my locker is the picture of Al Kaline. People who know the story of how I got started throwing sidearm ask if I put that picture there.
TheGoal: How did you guys get traded for each other?
Myers - It was 1995. Buddy was in Detroit, and I was in Florida's AAA system. Buddy got traded on the 4th or 5th of August and my wife and I were in Pennsylvania. She had come with me and read in the paper that Buddy Groom was traded for a player to be name later, and I said, "Wouldn't it be funny if I was the player to be named later?" She said, "Don't say that. I just came here on the road trip and I want to be with you." Three or four hours later the manager called me in and told me I'd been traded to Detroit. I spent a week in their minors and was called up.
It was pretty neat getting traded for each other. And then doing what we're doing now.
TheGoal: You guys didn't know each other at the time, did you?
Groom - No. I was told to head to Florida. I didn't know who I was traded for. They just said pack your stuff up. My very first appearance there I had gone 77 straight appearances without a win in the American League and my first appearance with the Marlins was an extra inning game. They used up the pen, and called down at the beginning of the 11th and said I was in there. And there wasn't anybody behind me. I was it. I was in there.
TheGoal: That's an interesting position to be in.
Myers - You're in there to win it or lose it.
Groom - Nobody to bail you out. You could give up six or seven runs, and you're still in there. And I went in and got them 1-2-3, struck out two of the three guys. We went out there, got one hit, and Terry Pendleton blooped another hit, and we got a run. My first appearance in the National League I got a win after I'd gone 77 appearances in the American without one.
TheGoal: So your first win was in the National League?
Groom - No. I got my first win in the American League and then went 77 games without another one. I got my first win on May 12, and the only reason I remember it was my son was born the day before. It was against the Rangers. I was starting at the time.
TheGoal: When did you guys get to know each other?
Myers - It was 1996. I was with Detroit and Buddy was with Oakland. They were remodeling the stadium in Oakland so we had a four game series in Las Vegas, and I was in the outfield talking to someone else and Buddy came up and said, "Hey I want to meet the guy I got traded for." And since then, we see each other whenever we play each other.
Groom - Our paths don't cross all that much because we're in different leagues.
TheGoal: How long have you been a believer?
Myers - Since '93.
TheGoal: This is really cool when you stop to think about it. Here you are, two brothers in
Christ, and it's so interesting the way your journeys have woven together.
Groom - It makes all this even more special knowing we're both believers and God has blessed us both, allowing us to be in the game this long.
TheGoal: How old are you, Buddy?
Groom - 36
TheGoal: And you Mike?
Myers - 32
Groom - I didn't even make to the Majors till I was 27. I've been blessed to be around as long as I have. I still enjoy just being part of the game and going out there every day - being part of the competition.
TheGoal: Your favorite memory?
Myers - The first hitter I faced. Mike Piazza. I was with Marlins. We were down. It was opening day, April 25, 1995. My wife was there we had just gotten married the past off-season so she was able to see my first big league game. And I threw him a nasty slider and it was low and in and off the plate and he hit a ball so hard it went off the wall. They had a manual scoreboard with tiles, and it hit so hard two of the tiles fell off the scoreboard.
TheGoal: There's a start!
Myers - Then I went out and put up a goose egg. I don't even remember walking off the field - facing Mike Piazza, the poster boy of the Dodgers. My dad was there, my family. It was a great day.
TheGoal: What's your favorite memory, Buddy?
Groom - My first appearance. It was a start in June of '92. I had been a starter as long as I had pitched. When I went to Detroit, I was picked up in the minor league Rule 5 draft from the White Sox. I went to Double A and was told I would be a reliever. God laid everything out for me, because the guy at AAA tore his labrum, they called up a starter from AA and put me in the rotation. I went 7and 0. I got called up to AAA, and started and relieved the rest of the year. In.'92., I was pitching well. I got called up. My wife came, my parents came. My first start was against the White Sox, facing guys I had played against in the minors. I faced Tim Raines and was so nervous I walked him on four pitches. Then I faced Craig Grebeck, who hit a double, so there were guys on 2nd and 3rd with Frank Thomas coming up. Frank Thomas was the guy Sparky Anderson said he didn't want to beat us. I threw him four sliders in the dirt and walked him. Sparky Anderson came out and said, "You did what we asked. Now get a ground ball." George Belle came up, and he's hurt a lot of guys at the plate. I threw him a two seamer away, and he tried to pull it, and hit a double play ball. Now there's a guy on 3rd with two out. I threw him a first pitch fastball right in the perfect spot. He hit a rocket to right field. Rob Deer was playing right, and he slid and made the catch, and I was the first guy in the dugout. I don't even remember coming off the mound. I pitched 6 and 2/3s and lost 3-1 to Kirk McCaskill. That's the game that stands out.
TheGoal: - Have you been in a playoff game?
Myers - No
Groom - No
TheGoal: Is that the next step? Do you dream in stages?
Groom - The year before in Baltimore we had kind of a fire sale, and the way I was pitching this year, when it came to the trading deadline, I figured I was gone for sure. I heard the rumors that every team had called wanting me. But the Orioles weren't willing to give me up. I don't know why, because we didn't have much of a chance, nor do we for the next few years. That was frustrating. I would have liked to have gone somewhere where I could win.
Myers - Quality lefthanders are hard to find, and in order to get one in the middle of the season it's going to cost you a little bit. I was rumored to go to the Yankees in 96, 97, 98 and 99, and three out of those four years they won the Championship.
TheGoal: - How cool would it be if the two of you faced each other in the World Series?
Groom - It would be neat.
Myers - That would be awesome
TheGoal: Wouldn't that be a great way for your roads to cross?
Myers - When you first get drafted, your only goal is to make the big leagues, then you want to play for one full year, then when you play for a whole year, you want a contract, and then after a couple years, and after you get a feel of what it takes to win, day in and day out, you don't worry about your contract, then your focus is on getting in the playoffs. After you play on enough losing teams you crave that championship a little more each year. If we're not winning in July, every team needs a lefty, and I find myself thinking "Let me be the one this year."
Groom - Right.
TheGoal: The two of you are very similar. You're pitchers, left-handers, specialty pitcher.
Although, Buddy, you've moved a little past that.
Groom - It's been entirely different since I've been in Baltimore. I've been relied on more in the 8th inning in a setup kind of role. I'm just in there, righties, lefties.
TheGoal: So, is it the fact that you're so similar, that you share the record for consecutive
seasions with 70 or more appearances that allows you to relate so well together, as I
see you do, or is it the fact you are brothers in Christ, or is it both?
Groom - It's both. You always want someone you've been traded for to do good. You want to look like you were worth something. It makes it even better that he's a believer. That's even more important to me than the pitching part of it. Someday we'll be together in the Kingdom, too.
Myers - I feel the same way. You want to feel you're traded for the best. It's a low-limelight position we're in out in the bullpen. You're either the goat, or passed over, or you just sort of help to get to the victory. It's good to know it's a small world. In '96, we found our niche, and got the streak going, and to see that Buddy is a believer is pretty awesome, and hopefully we'll continue for another 6 years or so.
TheGoal: - You'll be 42, Buddy.
Myers - Have left-handed glove, will travel.
Groom - If you're left-handed and breathe, you've got a job.
Baseball's A Gift
Since I was a little kid, I have always felt very lucky to be able to play the game of baseball. It's been a gift. I've been able to play for the White Sox, Tigers, Marlins, Oakland A's. And in 1996, I joined the Baltimore Orioles. Playing baseball has always made me happy.
Looking For Answers
My grandpa was a minister, and my dad was a minister of music. Growing up, he used to read the Bible to us kids before we left for school so that we'd begin the day with God in our thoughts. My family believed in God and really loved Him, so I got the chance to see what He did in people's lives.