No left-handed pitcher had a lower ERA during the 1970s than Frank Tanana, for those hurlers with at least 1,400 innings. Tanana was a fireballer with a fastball that reached 100 miles per hour when he came up with the California Angels. He teamed with Nolan Ryan to form one of the best 1-2 pitching duos in baseball history, though the two were never able to win much on mediocre Angels teams.
After an arm injury robbed Tanana of his velocity he transformed himself from an incredible thrower into a good†pitcher. He pitched 14 seasons and won 149 games after having shoulder surgery, using finesse and a lollipop curveball to frustrate opposing batters. After eight seasons and 102 wins with the Halos, Tanana actually pitched more games (250) in his eight years with the Detroit Tigers, winning 96 games and serving as a left-handed counterpart to Jack Morris in Sparky Anderson‘s rotation in the mid-1980s and early 1990s.
In the final game of the 1987 season, Tanana tossed a 1-0 gem to defeat the Toronto Blue Jays at Tiger Stadium and clinch the AL East division title for Detroit.
The southpaw won 240 games in his 21 seasons, and his 2,669 K’s rank second in American League history for lefties.