I had a dream last night that Mike Witt decided to make a comeback and the Yankees signed him. And, after just six starts in the minors, he was called up to the Bronx and started a game for the Yankees – actually pitching well.
This morning, I checked, and saw that Witt is now 50-years old. (In the dream he was closer to 42.) So, we’re pretty safe that this was just a nocturnal manifestation of my imagination and not a premonition.
But, how about a flashback? Via Flip Bondy, who was then with the Times, on May 2, 1993:
The egg timer beeped twice at 20 minutes, so Mike Witt pulled off the ice wrap in the middle of the Yankee clubhouse and declared that the right elbow felt fine, painless, never better.
How could it not? The 32-year-old pitcher had just won his first major league game since Sept. 23, 1990. On a luscious May Day at Yankee Stadium filled with the promise of a fourth or fifth starter for an unfinished rotation, Witt used his reconstructed right elbow yesterday to baffle Seattle with sinking fastballs and defeat the Mariners, 6-2.
“I’ve been through a lot,” Witt said. “I’ve finally gotten to the point where I can get some guys out.”
Since he came to the Yankees for Dave Winfield in 1990, Witt has missed 390 games and as many as 78 starts. He had surgery in July 1991, when a tendon from his leg was transplanted to the pitching arm. He battled tendinitis last year and worked doubly hard at his rehab, while the Yankees watched Winfield in the World Series. Yesterday, Witt made up a little bit for all the lost time and recriminations, yielding just one run on three hits through seven innings.
“I’m awful proud of Mike,” Buck Showalter said. “A moment like this, you dwell on it for a while. It’s probably a small step in the grand scheme of things, but you feel good for him. You take pause to remember how he got here.”
On June 17th of that season, Witt pitched the final game of his major league career.