Time for another 1971 "Minor League Days" card to add to one of my favorite projects here on the blog, this time former ace Mike Cuellar:
Cuellar was pitching for the Havana Sugar Kings in 1959 when this images was taken, seeing the 22-year-old pitch to a record of 10-11 with a jnice 2.80 ERA over 29 appearances, all starts.
Earlier in the year he made his Big League debut with the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in two games while not factoring in a decision, though hit hard to the tune of a 15.75 ERA in four innings of work.
Cuellar ended up putting in a nice 15-year career that saw him win 185 games, post four 20+ win seasons, win a Cy Young Award (shared with Tigers pitcher Denny McLain in 1969) and post four sub-3.00 E.R.A. Seasons.
I never realized that even though he came up in 1959 with the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in two games as a 22-year old, he didn't make it back to the Major's until 1964 at the age of 27, now as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Considering his lifetime win total mentioned above, he could have possibly approached 250 wins had he not missed those four-plus years in the early-1960's.
His lifetime numbers nevertheless were impressive: the 185 wins mentioned above, a 3.14 lifetime E.R.A., 36 shutouts and 1632 strikeouts over 453 games, 379 of which were starts, completing almost half of them with 172.