Jason Isringhausen is primarily known for being one of the most consistent closers during his time with the Cardinals. However, the righthander was brought up as a starting pitcher in the New York Mets system and found some success there before injuries took a toll.
Isringhausen talked about his time in New York and why it’s still a special place to him on the Audacy Original “The Bret Boone Podcast”.
“New York is a different animal. I could still go there today and walk down the street in the city and somebody’s going to yell my name out,” Isringhausen said (16:28 in player above). “‘We miss you. You should’ve stayed here all season. You should’ve stayed here your whole career. You sucked when you came back. You sucked with the Cardinals. It’s a good thing you weren’t closing when you guys played the Mets, Wainwright closed it out you never would’ve done.’ They’re very knowledgeable. They never forget your career.”
Isringhausen started off strong in New York. He went 9-2 with a 2.81 ERA in 14 starts during the 1995 season. He finished fourth in NL Rookie of the Year voting, but then things went downhill.
The righthander hit a bit of a sophomore slump with a 6-14 record and 4.77 ERA the following year, and the injuries started piling up. Ultimately, after injuries to his shoulder and elbow caused him to miss the 1998 season, Isringhausen was never the same again – at least for the Mets.
“New York pretty much chewed me up and spit me out. The best thing to happen to me was getting traded to Oakland. They made me a closer out there, Billy Beane did. But like I said, New York is a special place,” he said. “It’s still a special place to me. I’m always going to be a Mets fan. The team drafted me, that’s who I came up with. I think anybody that’s ever played for your original team you’re always going to be somewhat of a fan of them. They gave me my shot and Steve Phillips traded me to Oakland to give me another shot.”
Isringhausen was moved to the Mets bullpen after just five starts in the 1999 season. He was then traded to the Athletics where he found his game as a closer.
“It’s a crazy thing the game is. You think you’re worn out in one spot, you go to a new spot and things take shape,” he said. “Next thing you know you made an All-Star in Oakland, I made an All-Star in St. Louis. But New York was my starting point and it’s still got a special place in my heart.
“My wife and I go back there all the time. The best places to eat in the city are unbelievable, the parks, just New York is amazing. The people, I love them all. I would’ve loved to stay there my whole career but you can’t replace the years I spent in Oakland or in St. Louis.”