Prior, Baker Have Come Full Circle


Mark Prior was once thought to have the promise of a Hall of Fame career. Drafted by the Chicago Cubs with the second overall pick in 2001, and by 2003 he was already a Cy Young caliber starter (finishing third in the award’s voting that year). Along with Kerry Wood, Prior helped lead an organization with a history so marred the team has become known as the “Lovable Losers” to a division title in 2003, and nearly to the World Series. Chicago lost the NLCS to the eventual champion Florida Marlins in the Bartman series.

Prior’s career would quickly turn south. Beginning in 2004, various injuries caused the right hander to miss significant time each season before arm and shoulder problems forced him to undergo his first of multiple shoulder surgeries in 2007.

Many blamed then Cubs manager Dusty Baker for Prior’s injury-laden free fall, claiming Baker overused Prior and forced him to throw too many pitches in his starts. He averaged 113.4 pitches per game in the 2003 regular season, 126 pitches per start in the month of September and 120 pitches per game in the postseason.

But Prior himself never blamed Baker, and in fact the two have remained close to this day. Now Prior and Baker have been reunited.

Prior was signed to a minor league contract by the Cincinnati Reds this offseason, and was assigned to minor league camp. On Thursday, Prior took to the mound for the first time. He logged one inning of work, faced four batters, struck out one and beamed another.

Seeds All Day would like to share some headlines surrounding this ongoing story.

Prior aims to show Reds he’s big league material

Injury-plagued Prior mentoring future Reds

Baker on Prior: “He’s not too far off”

Healthy Prior trying to win bullpen job with Reds

About Matthew George

Matthew George graduated from the University of Kentucky in 2008 with a bachelor of science in journalism. He spent three years writing sports for the Kentucky Kernel, the university's daily paper, and served as assistant sports editor. After undergrad, Matthew attended Chase College of Law at Northern Kentucky University where he earned his juris doctorate. He is now admitted to practice law in Kentucky and Indiana.

2 thoughts on “Prior, Baker Have Come Full Circle

  1. Since I have decided not to express my opinion on matters posted by you Mr. Blogger, I won’t express my opinion on whether your current manager ruined Prior’s career, even though I have one. 🙂

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