Shaw exhibits resilience in passing Allen

October 2nd, 2021

ARLINGTON -- As inched closer and closer to dethroning as the Indians all-time relief appearances leader, the two former teammates began texting back and forth.

“He told me to make sure I didn’t stub my toe before the last couple games,” Shaw said. “He’s having fun with it, too. It was a lot of fun.”

There was no stubbed toe that got in Shaw’s way. On Friday night at Globe Life Field, Shaw made his 457th career appearance with the Indians, besting Allen’s previous top mark of 456 appearances.

“Obviously, it’s awesome,” Shaw said of setting the record. “Not only just to pass [Allen], but to be able to come back this year after the last couple years and show the work that I put in this offseason and through the alternate site last season and throughout spring. And to be able to get to where I’m at and to have the opportunity to be able to pitch in this amount of games because of that work, it’s just awesome.”

Shaw pitched in 378 games with Cleveland from 2013-17, leading the Majors twice and the American League once in appearances during that span. The righty then spent '18 and ’19 in Colorado, where he pitched to a combined 5.61 ERA with a 1.547 WHIP. He moved to Seattle in '20 and spent the majority of the season in the Minors reinventing himself to prove that he still has a few more years left in him.

The Indians signed Shaw to a Minor League deal prior to Spring Training, and he forced his way onto the big league roster. He has shown that he’s capable of getting back into the form he was in during his last stint in Cleveland, pitching to a 3.52 ERA in 76 2/3 innings.

“It’s fun to go out there being a little bit older guy right now,” Shaw said, “and be able to pitch more than these younger guys, being able to go out there and compete and have success and do these things that we did back in 2011 when I got called up. It has the same excitement, the same amount of fun, the same amount of joy going out on that mound and competing and pitching as it did back then as it does now.”

Even though Shaw is 33 years old, he still has the energy and stamina of a young kid in his rookie season. The veteran is infamous for making it clear that he wants to pitch every single day, despite how many games in a row he’s already appeared in. And when he’s been down for too long -- or what he considers “too long” -- he isn’t afraid to voice his opinion in a semi-joking way to his coaches.

“Most players don’t walk by the manager’s office that much,” Indians acting manager DeMarlo Hale said with a laugh. “It’s refreshing, though, because it kind of shows the young players, and young pitchers kind of look and hear him that he’s ready to compete every day. I think that’s a positive sign.”

It’s that type of attitude that’s led him to leading the American League this season with 79 appearances so far.

“I didn’t have a goal this season to come in and lead the league,” Shaw said, “but my goal was to come in and pitch as many games as I could for this team and help this team win as many games as I could help them win. … I’m just happy it’s worked out the way it has.”

To Shaw, age is but a number. Although he’ll turn 34 years old in November, he’s been clear that he’s planning to keep pitching for a handful more years with the goal of beating Jesse Orosco’s Major League record of 1,252 career appearances.

Shaw only has 561 appearances to go.

“It’s 70 games a year for eight years," Shaw said with a smirk. “We’re good.”