"Mr. Peabody! We just lost second base!"
The Reds have historically had problems with no-name pitchers or pitchers they havenâ€™t seen a lot of. The term that Marty uses for it is Alex Madrid Syndrome, although Iâ€™ve always called it The Alex Madrid Factor. In any case, this begs the question of just who is Alex Madrid, and why do the Reds have an apparent curse named after him? Iâ€™ve been threatening to write this story for awhile now. Time to make good on it.
Sherman, set the wayback machine for the year 1982 (extra credit if you can explain this sentence, and the title of this diary, without resorting to a search engine).
I should probably explain that in those ancient times, there were two phases to the amateur draft. The first phase was held in June (after high school graduations), the secondary phase was held the following January and involved players who had been drafted earlier but did not sign with the teams that drafted them. This system was done away with in 1986.
Alex Madrid was a right-handed pitcher that the Reds drafted in 1982, in the secondary phase of the amateur draft, but he did not sign with the Reds. Prior to this, Madrid had also been drafted by the Cubs in the first phase of the 1982 amateur draft, but did not sign with them, either. In 1983, he was drafted in the first phase by the Rangers and didnâ€™t sign. He finally signed with the Brewers after they picked him in the secondary phase of the 1983 draft.
Madrid spent some time in the minors first, then appeared in three major league games with the Brewers in 1987, compiling an ERA of 15.19 and subsequently being traded to the Phillies.
Madrid pitched in five games for the Phillies in 1988, including two starts against the Expos. In 1989, he pitched in six games for the Phillies, three of which were starts. The results of those three starts:
May 7, 1989 - Madrid earned his only victory of the year, pitching 6 2/3 shutout innings against the Reds while holding them to just five hits. Marty called this game as a Reds broadcaster and coined the term “Alex Madrid Syndrome” thereafter.
May 14, 1989 â€“ Madrid lasted just 3 2/3 innings against the Dodgers, giving up 5 hits, 3 walks, and 5 earned runs.
May 25, 1989 â€“ Madrid worked 5 innings against the Giants, allowing 8 hits, 3 walks, and 4 earned runs.
Madrid made one more major league appearance after that May 25 start, pitching the ninth inning of a May 30, 1989 game as the mop-up man in a blowout against the Padres, giving up 2 hits, 2 walks, and an earned run. It was his 14th and final major league game. Less than a month after his masterpiece against the Reds, Alex Madrid's career was finished.
So now, every time another no-name pitcher like Cole Hamels (who took a no-no into the sixth against the Reds for Philly the other night) makes the Reds look foolish, you can think back to Alex Madrid, the guy who Marty credits for having started it all, way back in 1989.