Former pitcher Anthony Young, who still holds the major league record with 27 consecutive losses, died in Houston on Tuesday, the New York Mets announced.
He was 51.
His death comes on the anniversary of his 24th consecutive loss, which broke the record, on June 27, 1993, against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Former Mets pitcher Turk Wendell said in a statement that Young said earlier this year at the Mets’ fantasy camp that he had been diagnosed with a brain tumor.
“Anthony was a true gentleman,” Wendell said. “At this year’s fantasy camp, he told us he had a brain tumor. That was Anthony. He never ran away from anything.”
Young’s streak of losses began in 1992 with the Mets and stretched into the next season. In all, the drought spanned 74 appearances — he had a 4.39 ERA in that span.
The right-hander posted 15 saves in 1992. But he was 2-14 that season, then went 1-16 in 1993 for a miserable Mets team that led the majors with 103 losses.
The highlight of that awful season might’ve come on July 28 at Shea Stadium. That night, Young was summoned in the ninth inning against the Florida Marlins and gave up the go-ahead run on a bunt single, putting him in position for a 28th straight loss.
Instead, the Mets rallied for two runs in the ninth for a 5-4 victory. Young got the win and was mobbed by his teammates.
“That wasn’t even a big monkey that was on my back,” Young said. “It was a zoo. The guys treated it like I had won a World Series game for them.”
Soon after ending the streak, Young was a guest on “The Tonight Show” with Jay Leno.
Young broke the mark of 23 losses in a row by Cliff Curtis in 1910-11 for the Boston Braves. At one point, Young met members of Curtis’ family.
Young also got all sorts of encouragement and advice during his slump, with psychics often offering ideas on how he could reverse his fortunes. Young was traded to the Chicago Cubs before the 1994 season and finished with the Astros in 1996. He was 15-48 with a 3.89 ERA in his six-year career.
The Mets said in the statement that Young “never let his losing records with the Mets rob him of his sense of humor or his grace.”
“A.Y. took a lot of kidding about his losing records,” Doug Flynn, a former Mets infielder who participated in the fantasy camps with Young, said in the statement. “But he was the victim of some bad luck during the streak. He knew inside that he was a better pitcher than his numbers.”
After his playing days, Young worked with a youth baseball group near his hometown of Houston.
Said the Astros in a statement:
We join many others in the baseball world in mourning today’s passing of former pitcher Anthony Young: pic.twitter.com/GtFHGs9V3D
— #VoteAstros (@astros) June 28, 2017
ESPN Stats & Information and The Associated Press contributed to this report.