Former Cajuns Who Played MLB – Ron Guidry
How many former Louisiana (formerly both Southwestern Louisiana Institute and University of Southwestern Louisiana) Ragin' Cajun baseball players went on to play Major League Baseball?
The answer is 13.
Over the next couple of weeks, I'm going to look back at the respective professional careers all every one of them.
Yesterday, we looked back at Alvin Dark.
Today, we feature Ron Guidry.
Born in Carencro in 1950, Guidry, a left-handed pitcher, played 14 seasons in Major League Baseball, all for the New York Yankees, from 1975-1988.
Prior to that, Guidry graduated from Northside High School, before playing for then-USL in 1969 & 1970.
While playing for the Bulldogs, where he had a team-high 50 strikeouts in 57.1 innings in 1969 and 87 in 80 innings in 1970, Guidry was coached by former Comeaux football coach Bobby Banna.
After playing his college baseball at UL/USL, Guidry was drafted in the third round of the 1971 Amateur Draft by the Yankees.
The 5-foot-11, 160-pound Guidry played for the Yankees’ minor league affiliate in Johnson City, Tennessee, going 2-2 with a 2.11 ERA. in 7 games, all as a starter, in his first season of professional baseball.
Guidry spent four more season in the minors, making stops in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Kinston, North Carolina, West Haven, Connecticut, and Syracuse, New York, before being called up to the big leagues during the 1975 season, becoming the second former Cajun player to make it to the Major League Baseball level.
Nicknamed "Gator" and "Louisiana Lightning", Guidry pitched in 10 games in 1975, going 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA, prior to going 0-0 with a 5.63 ERA in 7 games in 1976.
In 1977, his first full season in Major League Baseball, Guidry made a big splash, going 16-7 with a 2.82 ERA., while finishing 7th in the American League Cy Young voting.
As an encore, Guidry was even better in 1978, compiling one of the best seasons by any pitcher, ever.
In that magical 1978 campaign, one in which he was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career, Guidry won the AL Cy Young Award, going 25-3 with a sparkling 1.74 ERA.
The 1979 season saw Guidry continue to flourish, going 18-8 with a 2.78 ERA., while making the AL All-Star team, and finishing third in the AL Cy Young voting.
Over the next 6 seasons, Guidry piled up double-digit victories in each, including 21 n 1983, and 22 in 1985, giving him four 20-win seasons during his spectacular career.
1985 was Guidry's last great year however, as he went a combined 16-23 over his last three seasons, 1986-1988.
Still, Guidry had a marvelous career; one that many can only dream of having.
In 14 MLB seasons, Guidry compiled an overall record of 170-91 with a 3.29 ERA.
A 4-time All-Star, and the 1978 AL Cy Young Award winner, Guidry was also a great fielder, winning the AL Gold Glove for pitchers 5 times.
How good of a career was that? Well, Guidry's number 49 was retired on "Ron Guidry Day", August 23, 2003.
However, did you know that Guidry's first number was 54 when he broke in?
The Yankees' pitching coach during the 2006-2007 seasons, Guidry had quite the career in Major League Baseball.
Guidry made his debut on July 27, 1975, while making his final appearance on September 27 of 1988.
Now 67-years old, Guidry was inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 1992 and the UL Athletics Hall of Fame in 2015.