Mike Cuellar, one of the greatest pitchers in Orioles history, died today in Orlando, Florida. The Cuba-born Cuellar, who won 143 games with the Birds, was 72.
According to the Orlando Sentinel, Cuellar had been in failing health since January and was dealing with the effects of a brain aneurism and stomach cancer.
Cuellar was a mainstay in the Orioles rotation during some of the club’s glory years and pitched in three straight World Series from 1969 to 1971.
He was nicknamed “Crazy Horse” and had an outstanding screwball among his pitches.
The lefty shared the 1969 American League Cy Young Award with Detroit’s Denny McLain. Cuellar was 23-11, 2.38 that year.
He was the first Latin American born player to win a Cy Young Award.
Overall, he pitched in the Majors from 1959 through 1977 and was with the O’s from 1969 to 1976. He was a four-time, 20-game winner between 1969-74 as the O’s won five division titles in that stretch.
In his eight Orioles seasons, Cuellar was 143-88, 3.18. He pitched in four All-Star games, three as an O’s representative. In 1971 he was part of an O’s rotation that produced four 20-game winners as Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson and Dave McNally joined him.
On the all-time Orioles list, he ranks 2nd in career complete games, 3rd in shutouts, 4th in wins and 5th in strikeouts.
We’ve lost some great Orioles in recent years and sadly, it happened again today.
RIP Mike and thanks for everything.