Throughout the 2016-17 offseason, Fish Stripes is recapping the Top 100 Marlins to ever appear with the franchise. Using the Wins Above Replacement (WAR) metric, all 523 players were considered, whether they played for the Florida or Miami version of the Marlins. Today’s Marlin, Christopher Andrew Hammond, earned 5.0 while with the team.
Hammond was born on January 21st, 1966 in Atlanta, Georgia. Many years later, he grew into a 6’1”, 190 lb. left-handed pitcher, and was selected in the sixth round of the 1986 amateur draft by the Cincinnati Reds, with the 148th overall choice. Darren Lewis, who played in 1,354 major league games, was the only other selection from that round who totaled over 0.1 WAR through his career.
Hammond made his major league debut with the Reds in 1990, and over parts of three seasons posted a 14-19 record, 133 K’s in 258.1 innings, a 1.428 WHIP, a 4.25 ERA and a near-identical 4.13 FIP over 47 starts (and four relief appearances). A week prior to Florida’s first ever opening day in 1993, the Reds traded him to the Marlins for Gary Scott and a PTBNL (Gary Scott).
Hammond opened Florida’s first ever season as their number three rotation starter, and was one of four pitchers (along with Charlie Hough, Jack Armstrong, and Ryan Bowen) to start over 27 games in Florida’s inaugural season. Hammond led the team with 11 wins, going 11-12 with a 4.66 ERA, a 1.429 WHIP, a 4.13 FIP, 108 strikeouts in 191.0 innings over 32 starts. On June 17th, he went eight innings and struck out five Phillies while giving up just one run on four hits, earning the victory in a 4-1 decision over Philadelphia.
In 1994, the 51-64 Marlins again slotted Hammond third in the rotation, after Hough and Bowen. Through 11 starts, Hammond was gold, going 4-3 over 67.2 innings, striking out 38 and allowing a 2.39 ERA. In his first start of the season, on April 7th, he struck out six and allowed four hits over 7.2 shutout innings as the Marlins defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers by a 1-0 final score. On May 5th, he threw a complete game shutout, striking out five in a 5-0 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies. On June 10th, he allowed 10 hits and five runs over 2 2⁄3 innings of a 5-4 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates. He got pulled and evaluated later with a back injury.
It’s getting really frustrating. It feels good on the days when I get treatment, but then I throw on the side and it starts all over again. - Hammond, as quoted in the Sun-Sentinel
Hammond came back for one more start that season, but was lifted after giving up two runs over three innings in an eventual 9-8 win against the Chicago Cubs.
Hammond came back in 1995 after the end of the work stoppage to rejoin the 67-76 Marlins’ rotation. Over 24 starts, he earned a GameScore over 70 on eight occasions, going 9-6 with a 3.80 ERA, 126 strikeouts in 161.0 innings, a 1.267 WHIP and a FIP of 3.95.
On May 17th, Hammond gave up just two hits and struck out six over eight innings of a 3-1 loss to the Phillies. In his next start, six days later, he again allowed just two hits over eight innings, striking out seven and limited the Pirates to one run in a 6-1 victory over Pittsburgh. He pitched a shutout on June 14th, striking out eight and giving up seven hits to the New York Mets in a 4-0 victory. On June 30th, in a 10-1 win against the Montreal Expos, Hammond struck out seven and allowed one run over eight innings, allowing six mostly harmless base hits.
On July 13th, Hammond pitched nine-innings of three-hit shutout ball, striking out four Dodgers in a 4-0 win. 10 days later, he struck out 10 Dodgers in a 4-2 loss. One start later, he pitched seven three-hit shutout innings, striking out five in a win against the St. Louis Cardinals, 6-0. He closed the season with seven innings of two-hit ball, striking out five in a win against Philadelphia, 5-2.
In 1996, Hammond posted a 5-8 record over 38 games, making nine starts and earning a 6.56 ERA, a 1.617 WHIP, a 5.33 FIP, and 50 whiffs in 81.0 innings. After the season, he signed a free agent contract with the Boston Red Sox.
Hammond went 3-4 for the Sox in 1997, with a 5.92 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 65.1 innings. He had a 3.97 FIP that would indicate he wasn’t as bad as he seemed over his eight starts and 21 relief appearances. The Marlins resigned him through free agency for the 1998 campaign.
Hammond went 0-2 over three starts in his return, with a WHIP over two and a 6.59 ERA. After his final appearance of the season on May 17th, he didn’t appear in the major leagues again for nearly four years. He resurfaced with the Atlanta Braves in 2008, then posted a 0.95 ERA over 76.0 innings of relief pitching, going 7-2 with a 1.105 WHIP and 63 K’s in 76.0 innings. He went on to play a season each with the New York Yankees (62 games, 3-2, 2.86 ERA, 1.206 WHIP, 45 K’s in 63.0 innings), the Oakland Athletics (41 games, 4-1, 2.68 ERA, 1.286 WHIP, 34 K’s in 53.2 innings), and the San Diego Padres (55 games, 5-1, 3.84 ERA, 1.108 WHIP, 34 K’s in 58.2 innings) before ending his career back with Cincinnati (29 games, 1-1, 6.91 ERA, 1.430 WHIP, and 23 K’s in 28.2 innings).