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Reliever MacDougal’s rare introductory feat

New St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Mike MacDougal is the 23rd reliever to win in his first game with the team.

Mike MacDougal (Allison Rhoades photo)As St. Louis Cardinals fans may already know, the club purchased the contract of veteran reliever Mike MacDougal on Wednesday, optioning out Fernando Salas for the fourth time this season. The 33-year-old, wearing number 63, was immediately thrown into action, picking up a win after tossing a scoreless 12th that same evening. Albert Pujols’ RBI single plated what would become the winning run in the 13th inning at New York.

MacDougal was called upon again Thursday afternoon, but did not fare as well wearing what will be his semi-permanent number 48. As has been his custom in the past, control was the issue. He walked two and hit another batter, but escaped his self-made jam for a scoreless eighth inning.

His first-game victory had not happened previously with a Cardinals reliever since Troy Percival did it on June 29, 2007. For a starter, it is far more prevalent, with future Hall of Famer John Smoltz being the last to accomplish a win in his St. Louis debut, on August 23 of last season.

Researcher Tom Orf was kind enough to pull the list of 23 relievers to have taken a “W” in their first game with the Cardinals over the last half-century, since 1960. There are some familiar names as well as others virtually forgotten over time.

St. Louis Cardinals, relievers, win in first game with the team, 1960-present

Mike MacDougal 7/28/2010
Troy Percival 6/29/2007
Sterling Hitchcock 8/23/2003
Russ Springer 3/31/2003
Juan Acevedo 4/2/1998
Paul Kilgus 6/3/1993
John Costello 6/2/1988
Tim Conroy 4/19/1986
Andy Hassler 9/16/1984
Doug Bair 9/12/1981
John Martin 8/27/1980
Tom Bruno 8/5/1978
Roy Thomas 6/28/1978
Clay Carroll 4/10/1977
Doug Capilla 9/12/1976
Mike Garman 4/11/1974
Diego Segui 6/8/1972
Stan Williams 8/1/1971
Dick Hughes 9/11/1966
Don Dennis 6/18/1965
Harry Fanok 4/16/1963
Craig Anderson 6/23/1961
Bob Grim 8/3/1960

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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