All-Time Indians: Paul Shuey

Name: Paul Kenneth Shuey Position: Relief Pitcher        
              Number: 53          
Tribe Time: 1994-2002       DOB: 09/16/1970        
Stats W L W% ERA G Hld SV SVO IP H ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1999) 8 5 0.615 3.55 71 19 6 12 81.2 68 32 8 40 103 1.33 11.4 .218
Career 34 21 0.618 3.61 361 67 21 44 404.2 363 162 32 202 450 1.40 10.0 .230
Post Season Career 1 1 0.500 4.44 16 2 0 0 16.2 19 8 4 14 20 2.04 11.1 .281

Paul Shuey was a great Cleveland story, born in Ohio and drafted second overall in 1992. It only took him two years to burn through the minor league system as he made his debut in 1994 and installed himself as an indispensable member of the bullpen by 1996. From that time through 2002, he pitched in at least 39 games a year, becoming a primary set-up man from 1998 through his final season in Cleveland.

Shuey's prime coincided perfectly with the advent of the Central Division winning team's of the 1990's. The teams of the time were famous for their comeback wins and those would have been impossible without a strong bullpen to keep the games where they were and Shuey was a big part of this. In 1996, Shuey's first season, he threw 53.2 innings in 42 games with an ERA of 2.85. As the years went on, Shuey gave up more runs, but started striking out more batters, leading to a career high 11.6 K/9 in 2001. While he did have a relapse in 1997 when his ERA ballooned over 6.00 and he was kept out of the play-offs, but he quickly recovered and ended his career with the Indians with a 3.60 ERA.

Shuey missed the 1995 post-season as he wasn't established yet and the 1997 play-offs due to struggles, but was an important part of each of the Indians other trips to October from 1996 through 2001. After missing 1997, the 1998 post-season was the best of Shuey's career. Against the Red Sox and Yankees, Shuey threw 9.1 innings in 8 games, striking out 11 and not allowing a single run.

Shuey's nine year career was the longest ever by an Indians pitcher who was exclusively used in relief and he has the numbers to show why. His 34 wins are tied for sixth as an Indians reliever and he is among the top ten in games pitched among all pitchers. In addition to his length of service stats, Shuey remains the greatest strike out pitcher in team history, better than Bob Feller, Herb Score and Jose Mesa with his 10.0 K/9 through more than 400 innings.

The one statistic that Shuey should be exemplary in is the one that was created to showcase the best set-up men, holds. The problem with this is that holds weren't officially counted until 1999, well into his career. Even still, his 67 holds earned in his final four seasons with the Tribe still rank fourth in team history, although he was been recently surpassed by Joe Smith and will likely be passed by Vinnie Pestano in 2014. Shuey also has a top five single season hold mark for his 28 in 2000 and a top ten mark for his 19 in 1999. In the end, he was one of the greatest right handed relievers in Indians history.

With just two seasons left on his contract and the Indians looking back at the tail end of their Divisional title run, Shuey was shipped off to Los Angeles for a couple top prospects, in Francisco Cruceta and Ricardo Rodriguez, and a veteran, in Terry Mulholland. Neither of the prospects ended up panning out, though both showed promise, while Shuey went on to have two more quality seasons with the Dodgers. After a year in the minors with LA, Shuey came back to Cleveland in 2005, but was unable to pitch without pain after hip surgery and never made it past AA Akron. Not ready for retirement, he came back for one more unsuccessful season in Baltimore before finally calling it quits.

After retiring, Paul Shuey became an assistant woman's soccer coach for Wake Forest in 2009. He has since moved on to become the assistant woman's soccer coach at Barton College, a division II school in North Carolina.

Joseph Coblitz

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona the Spring Training home of the Cleveland Indians.

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