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Former All-Star pitcher Andujar dies at 62

Right-hander was two-time 20-game winner, helped Cards to '82 title
MLB.com

Former Major League pitcher Joaquin Andujar, a four-time All-Star who helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series title in 1982, has died at the age of 62.

The right-handed native of the Dominican Republic had a 13-year Major League career that featured stops with Houston (1976-81, 1988), St. Louis (1981-85) and Oakland (1986-87).

Former Major League pitcher Joaquin Andujar, a four-time All-Star who helped lead the Cardinals to the World Series title in 1982, has died at the age of 62.

The right-handed native of the Dominican Republic had a 13-year Major League career that featured stops with Houston (1976-81, 1988), St. Louis (1981-85) and Oakland (1986-87).

"It's someone that served, to people like me, as a role model," Hall of Famer and fellow Dominican native Pedro Martinez said Tuesday on MLB Network. "This is a big hit for the Dominican Republic, because before I thought about baseball as a career, it was only a dream. And Andujar was in the middle of every dream I had because he was one of the best pitchers we ever had in the Dominican Republic."

Andujar was instrumental in helping the Cardinals to the World Series title in '82, throwing a team-high 13 1/3 innings -- including seven in the decisive Game 7 -- over two World Series starts, allowing just two earned runs for an ERA of 1.35, the lowest in the seven-game Series by any pitcher who worked at least three innings.

Video: CHC@STL: Cards have moment of silence for Andujar

"I loved him," said Whitey Herzog, Andujar's manager in St. Louis. "He made managing fun. He'd take the ball and he'd pitch. He was a good competitor. Even in the [1982] World Series, when [Ted] Simmons hit that line drive back at him in the third game, I thought he was killed. It hit him on the shin, and I had to take him out, and it didn't look good. He said, 'I'm one tough Dominican. I'll pitch the seventh game.' And he did a good job and, of course, we won in the seventh game."

Andujar went on to win a Major League-leading 20 games with the Cardinals in 1984 (also taking home a Gold Glove that year), then won another 21 games the following season as the Cardinals won the National League pennant.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of the best pitchers in Cardinals history," Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said. "Joaquin Andujar was 'One Tough Dominican' who endeared himself to Cardinals fans not only with his great talent, but also with his unrivaled passion for the game. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, his friends and his teammates today."

Said former Cardinals teammate Rick Horton: "He was an outstanding pitcher and a terrific pitcher. We probably don't talk about how good he was as a pitcher often enough. We always talk about [John] Tudor and Bob Forsch and Bob Gibson and [Adam] Wainwright and [Chris] Carpenter, but Andjuar was a 20-game winner twice.

'He was incredibly good during those early 80's years, and a guy you could count on to pitch a lot of innings. So many despite his flair and his notoriety at the time, he has been more forgotten than he should have been for his accomplishments."

According to an ESPN Deportes report citing former Reds pitcher Mario Soto, who is the president of the Dominican Federation of Professional Baseball Players, Andujar died after a long battle with diabetes.

Tweet from @Cardinals: He was "One Tough Dominican" & a member of our Cardinals family. We loved him & we will miss him. RIP Joaquin Andujar

ESPN's Enrique Rojas reported that Andujar will be honored Tuesday in his hometown of San Pedro de Macoris and will be buried on Wednesday.

"Someone that came over from San Pedro de Macoris, like pretty much every one of us -- hungry and from very poor backgrounds," Martinez said. "To have him serve as a role model for so many of us is great."

Andujar, well known for his aggressive pitching style and fiery personality on the mound -- not to mention his colorful commentary, including his endearing use of the expression "you never know" -- finished his career with 127 wins in 405 games, with the majority of his appearances coming for the Astros, with whom he won 44 games as both a starter and reliever. He was signed by the Reds as an amateur free agent in 1969 but was traded to Houston in October 1975, and he debuted with the Astros in 1976. He won nine games that rookie season.

"He was a real hard thrower and wild," former Astros teammate Larry Dierker said of Andujar. "He was very emotional, almost an explosive-type personality. He started a couple of fights -- started them or finished them, whatever -- and funny, too. He had that one quote, 'You can sum it up in one word: You never know.' A lot of people have a lot of memories when they hear that name.

"He developed into a good pitcher with us and a great pitcher with the Cardinals."

Andujar returned to the Astros in 1988 for a final season, going 2-5 in 23 appearances (10 starts).

Enos Cabell, currently a special assistant to Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, played with Andujar in Houston for five seasons.

"Joaquin was a great competitor and very entertaining as a teammate," Cabell said. "He went on to become one of the best pitchers in the league. We really enjoyed playing with him because he brought a lot of energy to our club. I'm very sad to hear of his passing.

"He became a really good pitcher. He was really excitable when he pitched. He had chicken legs, but he was very competitive. For his talent, he really pitched a long time and was very successful."

The Astros released the following statement:

"We are saddened by the passing of former Astros pitcher Joaquin Andujar. Joaquin began his long Major League career with Houston, spending seven of his 13 Major League seasons in an Astros uniform. The passion and enthusiasm that he brought to the game will always be remembered by the fans and the players that he played with and played against. We send our deepest condolences to his family members, friends and fans."

Former Astros GM Tal Smith said Andujar was one of the most unforgettable characters he came across in baseball.

"He was an interesting guy," Smith said. "He was a very accomplished athlete, but he was very controversial. ... You never knew what you were going to get. I really think some of it may have been intentional."

Smith said that Andujar was a switch-hitter who would bat left-handed against lefty pitchers, exposing his pitching arm to being hit by a pitch.

"That was just Joaquin," Smith said. "If it was 90 degrees out and humid, he wanted a jacket when he reached base. If was 50 degrees, he'd be sleeveless. Just a real eccentric, but he was very accomplished, very competitive. He pitched some great games for the Astros, and obviously with the Astros, he was a leader and won back-to-back 20 games."

Joey Nowak is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @joeynowak. MLB.com reporter Jenifer Langosch contributed to this report.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

St. Louis Cardinals, Houston Astros