Jose Lima was often bombastic on the pitching mound. The Dominican right-hander was a flashy showman who unfortunately only had two or three seasons in a 13-year career where his showmanship didn’t grow tiring.†With†the Houston Astros in 1998-99, Lima won 16 and 21 games, finishing fourth in NL Cy Young Award voting in the latter season. But in 2000 his ERA ballooned by more than three runs (from 3.58 to 6.65) and he gave up 48 homers.
His effectiveness†continued to spiral so much that Houston traded him back to Detroit in the middle of the 2001 season, then he was released after the ’02 campaign by the Tigers. It looked as if his big league career was over, but Lima made a miraculous comeback, pitching in the Independent League and earning a brief stint with the Royals where he did well enough that the Dodgers, desperate for starting pitching, signed him in 2004. Lima regained some of his magic, started 24 games, and benefited from good run support. He went 13-5 and was asked by manager Jim Tracy to start Game Three of the NL Division Series against the Cardinals at Dodger Stadium. Lima was up for the challenge that evening, spinning a five-hit shutout. Unfortunately LA still lost the series.
Lima was fond of calling himself and his starts “Lima Time” and he reveled in antics on the mound after recording strikeouts or getting a double play groundball. He died at the young age of 37 from a heart attack in 2010, four years after his last pitch in the major leagues.
Lima was probably the worst starting pitcher in April in baseball history. In 33 career starts in April, Lima had a scary 6.61 ERA. Somehow he still managed a 12-15 record for that month.