Kevin Richard Kobel (born October 2, 1953) is a former Major League Baseball pitcher. Having made his major league debut with the Milwaukee Brewers a month shy of his twentieth birthday on September 8, 1973, he holds the distinction of being the only pitcher in franchise history to make his major league debut as a teenager.
Kobel was selected by the Brewers out of Saint Francis High School in Colden, New York in the eleventh round of the 1971 Major League Baseball Draft. After three seasons in their farm system, in which he went 20–24 with a 3.60 earned run average, Kobel joined the Brewers as a September call-up in 1973. He began his major league career with a perfect inning of work in which he struck out the first two New York Yankees batters he faced and inducted a weak ground ball to first base from the third. In his second inning, however, he surrendered a grand slam to light hitting shortstop Fred Stanley.
His first major league win also came against the Yankees on May 12, 1974. Kobel held the Yankees scoreless on two hits through seven innings in the rain delayed second game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. After surrendering a home run to Rick Dempsey to lead off the eighth, the game was called due to rain. Kobel spent the entire 1974 season in the majors, compiling a 6–14 record and 3.99 ERA. He seemed to be at his best against the Yankees, as his ERA against the Yankees was 2.10, and three of those six wins were at their expense.
He developed arm troubles that limited him to thirty innings for the triple A Sacramento Solons in 1975. He remained a minor leaguer with the Brewers until receiving a second September call-up in 1976. Following a 1977 season spent in the minors, his contract was purchased by the New York Mets. He pitched parts of three seasons for the Mets, in which he went 12–18 with a 3.58 ERA. On June 17, 1980, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for a player to be named later. He appeared in eight games for the triple A Omaha Royals. He pitched briefly for the Pittsburgh Pirates' triple A affiliate, the Portland Beavers, in 1982.
- ^ Kyle Lobner (September 8, 2011). "Today In Brewer History: Happy Anniversary, Kevin Kobel". Brew Crew Ball, a Milwaukee Brewers community.
- ^ "New York Yankees 15, Milwaukee Brewers 1". Baseball-Reference.com. September 8, 1973.
- ^ "Kevin Kobel Settles for First Victory". Evening News (Beacon, New York). May 13, 1974. p. 6B.
- ^ "Kevin Kobel Owns Yanks". The Day (New London). July 31, 1974. p. 34.
- ^ "Mets Buy Brewers Southpaw Kobel". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. December 7, 1977. p. 3.
- ^ "Late Seventies Mets Pitcher: Kevin Kobel (1978-1980)". CenterfieldMaz.com. September 30, 2013.
By Dean Hanley
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