Barry Zito

Infobox MLB player
name=Barry Zito

position=Starting pitcher
team=San Francisco Giants
birthdate=birth date and age|1978|5|13
birthplace=city-state|Las Vegas|Nevada
debutdate=July 22
debutteam=Oakland Athletics
statyear=September 25, 2008
*Cy Young Award (AL): 2002
*All-Star (AL): 200203, 2006
*Oakland Athletics (by|2000by|2006)
*San Francisco Giants (by|2007–present)

Barry William Zito (born May 13, 1978 in city-state|Las Vegas|Nevada) is a left handed starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants of Major League Baseball. He previously played seven seasons with the Oakland Athletics where he won the 2002 American League Cy Young Award and made three All-Star game rosters.cite web| url= |title=Barry Zito Player File|| accessdate=2007-09-15] Zito never missed a scheduled start in his career until 2008, and led the American League in starts four times. After the 2006 season, Zito signed the most expensive contract in history for a pitcher at the time.cite web| url= |title=San Francisco Giants|work= Cot's Baseball Contracts] In Zito's first season with the Giants, he set a career high in earned run average and he recorded his lowest number of strikeouts and winning percentage in any full major league season in his career.

Zito played collegiately at UC Santa Barbara, Los Angeles Pierce College, and the University of Southern California. In the 1999 draft, he was drafted by the Oakland Athletics with the ninth pick of the first round. Zito is known for his idiosyncrasies, and his offbeat personality. He created the charity "Strikeouts for Troops" which provides money to hospitals for soldiers wounded in military operations.

High school and college

Zito transferred from San Diego's Grossmont High School to University of San Diego High School, a Catholic school where he earned all-league honors with an 8-4 record and 105 strikeouts in 85 innings as a senior. He then attended UC Santa Barbara where he earned Freshman All-America Honors with 123 strikeouts in 85⅓ innings. Transferring to Los Angeles Pierce College, he posted a 2.62 ERA and went 9-2 with 135 strikeouts in 103 innings, and was named to the all-state and all-conference teams.

He then transferred to USC, where he was a first-team All-America selection by USA Today Baseball Weekly, Collegiate Baseball, and Baseball America. With a 12-3 record, a 3.28 ERA, and 154 strikeouts in 113⅔ innings, Zito was named Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year.cite web| url= |title=Barry Zito Biography|]

While in college, Zito also played in the Cape Cod League, a summer wooden bat league which showcases the nation's top amateur prospects. He led the Wareham Gatemen to the league championship in 1997, and a runner-up finish in 1998.cite web |url= |title=CCBL Alumni Year Drafted|work=Cape Cod Baseball] cite web |url= |title=CCBL Champions: Arnold Mycock Award|work=Cape Cod Baseball]

Professional career

Major League Baseball Draft

Zito was taken by the Seattle Mariners in the 59th round (1,586th overall) of the 1996 MLB Draft and in the third round (83rd overall) by the Texas Rangers in 1998, but did not sign with either team. In the 1999 draft, he was selected by the Oakland Athletics with the ninth pick of the first round, and signed for a $1.59 million bonus.cite web |url= |title=Barry Zito Statistics| work=The Baseball Cube| accessdate=2007-09-15]

Minor leagues

In 1999, Zito began his professional career in Visalia, Oakland's Class-A team. He went 3-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 8 starts. He struck out 62 in 40⅓ innings. Zito was promoted to the Midland RockHounds and went 2-1 with a 4.91 ERA to finish the AA schedule. He then got one start for the AAA Vancouver Canadians, allowing a lone run with 6 strikeouts in 6 innings.

Zito began the 2000 season with the Sacramento River Cats (formerly the Canadians). He pitched 101⅔ innings in 18 starts, going 8-5 with a 3.19 ERA, 91 strikeouts, and 41 walks.

Major leagues

Oakland Athletics (2000–06)

Zito made his major league debut on July 22, 2000 against the Anaheim Angels. He allowed one run in five innings, and got the win.cite web |url= |title=Barry Zito 2000 Pitching Gamelogs| work=Baseball-Reference]

In 2001, Zito finished third in the league in strikeouts per nine innings (8.61), fourth in strikeouts (205), sixth in wins (17), eighth in ERA (3.49), and tenth in winning percentage (.680).cite web |url= |title=Barry Zito Statistics| work=Baseball-Reference| accessdate=2007-10-01] Zito became the sixth lefty aged 23 or younger since 1902 to strike out at least 200 batters in a season.

In 2002, Zito won the AL Cy Young Award with a 23-5 record, narrowly defeating Pedro Martínez in the voting. He led the league with 23 wins, was second in winning percentage (.821), and third in both ERA (2.75) and strikeouts (182). Martínez, who'd led the AL in ERA (2.26), strikeouts (239), and winning percentage (.833), became the first pitcher since the introduction of the award to lead his league in each of the three categories and not win the award.cite web |url= |title=Pedro Martinez Statistics| work=Baseball-Reference]

In 2003, Zito was seventh in the AL in ERA (3.30). He was tenth in strikeouts in 2004 (163), and fifth in 2005 (171). Zito had a streak of 14 consecutive starts (and 20 out of 21) in which he gave up fewer hits than innings pitched.cite web |url= |title=Barry Zito 2005 Pitching Gamelogs| work=Baseball-Reference] In 2006 he led the league in batters faced (945) and games started (34). He was third in the league in innings (221), eighth in wins (16), and 10th in ERA (3.83).

He threw 200 or more innings in each of his six full seasons with the A's. Zito never missed a scheduled start and led the American League in starts four times. He was named to the American League All-Star Team in 2002, 2003, and 2006.

Zito replaced his agent Arn Tellem with Scott Boras in July 2006.cite web |url= |title=Zito drops agent Tellem for Boras| last=Heyman| first=Jon| work=Sports Illustrated| date=2006-07-08] Zito was a focal point of the 2006 trade deadline, and was widely rumored to be headed to the Mets in a potential deal for prospect Lastings Milledge. A's general manager Billy Beane decided to keep him for the rest of the season.

an Francisco Giants (2007–)

Following his seventh season with the A's, Scott Boras negotiated a seven-year deal with the San Francisco Giants worth $126 million, plus an option for an eighth season at $18 million. Zito's contract became the highest for any pitcher in Major League history at the time.cite web |url= |title=Zito agrees to huge deal with Giants| last=Draper| first=Rich|| date=2006-12-28]

During spring training in 2007, he and Barry Bonds made shirts that read "Don't ask me, ask Barry" with an arrow pointing to the other Barry. By all accounts, Zito and Bonds got along well during their short time as teammates, and Zito made a point of saying he would stand by Bonds through onslaughts from the media.cite web |url= |title=Let Barry be Barry| last=Zito| first=Barry| work=ESPN The Magazine| date=2007-05-24]

On May 18, Zito made his return to Oakland as a Giant. He lasted only four innings as he gave up seven runs while walking seven, including two bases loaded walks. The A's beat the Giants, 15-3.cite web |url= |title=Zito battered in return to Oakland| last=Haft| first=Chris|| date=2007-05-19] He faced his old team again on June 9, this time in San Francisco. Zito pitched four innings while giving up three earned runs on nine hits.cite web |url= |title=Giants shut out by Athletics| last=Eymer| first=Rick|| date=2007-06-09]

Zito made his first Major League relief appearance on August 5 against the San Diego Padres, due to an early exit by starter Noah Lowry and an overworked bullpen. Zito pitched a scoreless seventh inning.cite web| url= | title=Lowry hurt, Zito has relief outing in loss| last=Haft| first=Chris|| date=2007-08-05| accessdate=2007-09-04] He recorded his first career RBI two days later against the Washington Nationals, in the same game that Barry Bonds hit his record-breaking 756th career home run.cite web |url= |title=Bonds' 756th comes in loss to Nats| last=Haft| first=Chris|| date=2007-08-08]

After Zito's start on August 12, his ERA was 5.13.cite web| url= |title=Barry Zito 2007 Pitching Gamelogs| work=Baseball-Reference| accessdate=2007-09-03] Over his next four starts, he lowered his ERA to 4.46. He admitted that he had put pressure on himself to perform because of the large contract and was learning that he just needed be himself. Zito also said that it had been difficult for him to adjust to a new league, team, and ballpark.cite web| url= | title=By being himself, Zito is again Zito| last=Shea| first=John| work=San Francisco Chronicle| date=2007-09-03| accessdate=2007-09-03] On the final day of the season, in Los Angeles against the Dodgers, Zito allowed two runs on five hits and had four strikeouts in an 11-2 win.

Zito began the 2008 season as the oldest starter and the veteran presence in the Giants' starting rotation. [ [ Burden's on Giants' youthful starters Rotation appears to be strength of otherwise weak team] ] In April, Zito went 0–6 with a 7.53 ERA and 11 strikeouts. He was the third pitcher in the last 52 years to go 0–6 before May 1. [cite web| url= | title=Zito Zapped Again| last=Shea| first=John| work=San Francisco Chronicle| date=2008-04-27| accessdate=2008-04-27] On April 28, 2008 the Giants moved him to the bullpen.cite web |url= |title=Zito to work things out in bullpen |last=Haft |first=Chris | |date=2008-04-28 | accessdate=2008-04-28] Zito did not make an appearance out of the bullpen and returned to the rotation on May 7, against the Pittsburgh Pirates. In that game, Zito allowed 5 hits and 2 earned runs over 5 innings and took the loss, his 7th of the season. On May 23, 2008, Zito collected his first win of the 2008 season against the Florida Marlins. On June 13, 2008, Zito became the first pitcher to record 10 losses in the Major Leagues following the 5-1 loss to Oakland.


Pitching style

The velocity of Zito's four-seam fastball has diminished, it's currently one of the slowest in the Major Leagues clocked in the low 80s while occasionally reaching 85mph.cite web |url= |title=Baseball's obsession with the fastball| last=Crasnick| first=Jerry|| date=2007-03-26] He augments it with a changeup, and a traditional "12-6" curveball that's very slow but sharp. It was voted as the best curveball in the Major Leagues in a player poll conducted by ESPN The Magazine, the curveball is also Zito's strikeout pitch. Since mid-2004, Zito has added a two-seam fastball and a slider to his arsenal, though the curveball is still used more often. Zito's velocity and command are the key components of his struggle because his velocity does not allow him to overpower hitters. Thus, it places him in the same class as veterans Greg Maddux, and Jamie Moyer, but Zito does not possess the same type of command.


*by|1999 - Pac-10 Pitcher of the Year
*1999 - First-Team College All-American
*1999 - Pac-10 Conference All-Star
*by|2000 - AAA All-Star
*2002 - Baseball America First-Team Major League All-Star
*2002 - Cy Young Award (AL)
*2002 - All-Star (AL)
*2003 - All-Star (AL)
*2006 - All-Star (AL)

Personal life

Zito is known for his idiosyncrasies, and his offbeat personality. He has earned the nicknames "Planet Zito" and "Captain Quirk".cite web |url= |title=Pitching the Zen of Zito| last=Weiner| first=Richard| work=USA Today| date=2002-10-03] He once made it a practice to buy his own autographed baseball cards on eBay; when asked why he bought them at auction for high prices rather than acquiring unsigned cards and signing them himself, Zito replied, "Because they're authenticated."Fact|date=April 2008 Despite batting and throwing left-handed, Zito signs autographs for fans at the ballpark right-handed.

At his introductory press conference with the Giants, Zito said he liked the way his uniform number 75 looked, because the 7 and the 5 are like a "shelf" to hold the name "Zito" up. He carries pink satin pillows on the road, collects stuffed animals (such as a good luck teddy bear, with which he used to travel), and burns incense to relax.cite web |url= |title=10 Burning Questions for... Barry Zito|] Early in his career, Zito dyed his hair blue. He plays guitar, surfs, practices yoga, and follows Zen. He has done yoga poses in the outfield, and meditates before games.cite web |url= |title= For Zito, it's dollars vs. sense| last=Price| first=Jay| work=Staten Island Advance| date=2006-12-06] In 2001, Zito espoused a universal life force that he credited with his midseason turnaround. His mother Roberta named him after her brother Barry, a beatnik “freethinker” and acolyte of Zen who mysteriously vanished in 1964 at the age of 22 near city-state|Big Sur|California.cite web |url= |title=Barry's Way| last=Horowitz| first=Mitch| date=September 2003| accessdate=2007-09-03]

He created the charity "Strikeouts for Troops", to which he donates $400 for every strikeout he throws. The charity benefits hospitals for soldiers wounded in military operations.

His father composed and arranged music for Nat King Cole in the early 1960s (ca.1961-64), and arranged for the "Buffalo Symphony".cite web |url= |title=Slingin' it with Barry Zito| last=Moriarity| first=W.C| work=ChinMusic!] Zito's mother is a classically trained musician who also sang with Nat King Cole's band, in a choral group known as The Merry Young Souls.cite web |url= |title=Ben Folds' stop in Milwaukee engages audience| last=Bolda| first=Velia|| date=2002-11-25]

His uncle is actor Patrick Duffy.Arizona Diamondbacks broadcast of September 19, 2007 game againstSan Francisco Giants. "KTVK 3TV".]

Guest-starred on the hit T.V. show JAG, Season 9 episode, "The Boast."

He is a big fan of the San Francisco punk band, NOFX.

His favorite musician is Ben Folds.

ee also

* List of Major League Baseball wins champions


External links

* [ Barry Zito's official web site]
* [ Strikeouts for Troops]
*imdb name |id=1600134 |name=Barry Zito

NAME= Zito, Barry
SHORT DESCRIPTION=American baseball pitcher
DATE OF BIRTH=1978-5-13
PLACE OF BIRTH=city-state|Las Vegas|Nevada, United States

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