Matt Keough

keoughprofileName: Matthew Lon Keough
Name (Japanese): マット・キーオ
Date of Birth: July 3, 1955
Hometown: Orange County, California, USA
High School: Corona Del Mar High School (California)
Position: Pitcher
Height: 191 cm (6’3″)
Weight: 86 kg (190 lb)
Threw/Batted: Right/Right
Wore #: 4
Originally drafted by: Oakland Athletics, 1973
Made Tigers Debut on: April 10, 1987
Played Final Tigers Game on: September 27, 1990
Career NPB Stats:
1987 Hanshin 27 27 11 14 0 6 2 168.0 162 79 71 24 47 119 3.80 1.22
1988 Hanshin 28 26 12 12 0 7 1 179.2 174 65 55 16 37 97 2.76 1.17
1989 Hanshin 28 28 15 9 0 8 1 201.0 203 90 83 19 39 110 3.72 1.20
1990 Hanshin 24 23 7 9 0 1 0 129.2 153 80 72 15 57 72 5.00 1.59
NPB Career   107 104 45 44 0 0 22 4 678.1 692 314 281 74 180 398 3.73 1.27

keoughoaklandMatthew Lon Keough is the son of Marty Keough, who played professional baseball with the Nankai (now Fukuoka SoftBank) Hawks in 1968. He was born on July 3, 1955, and was raised in southern California. Drafted out of high school by the Oakland Athletics, he was selected as an infielder and only made the transition to pitcher in his third year in the minors – just over a year before he would make his major league debut.

Despite being named to the all-star game in 1978, his rookie season (he would finish with an ERA of 3.24 but a lopsided 8-15 record), he established a major league record (which has since been matched) of 28 consecutive starts without earning a win. The streak took place over parts of two seasons, and in 1979 his 2-17 record would be one of the worst winning percentages for a pitcher in the modern era. He finally hit his stride in 1980, though, earning Comeback Player of the Year for bouncing back with a solid 16-13 record and a 2.92 ERA. The next two seasons he would pile up double digit totals in the win column, though 1982 was among his worst statistically. Eighteen losses to go with his 11 wins were a league high, as were his home runs against (38) and earned runs (133) totals. He also walked more guys than he struck out (101 to 75).

A trade to the New York Yankees along with arm injuries slowed his major league career down, and by the time he was  finishing up in America he was pitching in the minors.

keough2Keough joined the Hanshin Tigers in 1987, just two seasons removed from winning the Nippon Series in 1985. The team finished poorly in ’86, and named Keough their Opening Day starting pitcher – an honor that had never in NPB history been bestowed upon a first-year import. Though the team finished the year an embarrassing 41-83-6 (a distant last place), Keough accrued 11 wins and finishing with the tenth best ERA in the Central League. He would once again collect more wins than any other Hanshin pitcher over the next two seasons (12 of the team’s 51 wins in 1988 and 15 of the team’s total of 54 in 1989). Unfortunately, a leg injury slowed him down in the spring of 1990, and its effects limited his workload and win total to just 7. He was released that offseason.

Keough managed to do some damage with his bat as well. He was a rare import pitcher who could put the ball over the fence, doing so twice in league play. Despite the team going a grand total of 115 games below .500 during his stint with the club, he finished a game above par. He was apparently a favorite of second baseman Akinobu Okada, who said his curve was one of the best he’s ever seen, and that playing behind Keough always gave him the feeling that the team could win.

Upon returning to America, Keough attempted a comeback, but took a foul ball off the temple and required emergency surgery, essentially ending his baseball career. He has done minor league coaching and scouting for several major league clubs.

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