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Scott Kazmir: Leaving a legacy with the Tampa Bay Rays

Leaving a legacy

Scott Kazmir made his mark with the Rays, leaving as the club's all-time leader in wins, innings pitched, strikeouts and starts. As one of the faces of the franchise, Kazmir had many memorable moments during his five-plus seasons:

The new kid: In a trade that Mets fans have bemoaned for years, the Rays acquired Kazmir on July 30, 2004, with pitcher Jose Diaz in exchange for pitchers Victor Zambrano and Bartolome Fortunato. It was a lopsided deal considered among the best made by the Rays' previous ownership.

The ace: Kazmir was the Rays' opening day starter on March 23, 2006, at age 22 years, 69 days, the youngest opening day starter since Dwight Gooden (21 years, 143 days) for the Mets in 1985.

The best game: He threw his first complete-game shutout July 3, 2006, a two-hit, 3-0 win over Boston and Josh Beckett.

The All-Star: He earned the win in the 2008 All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium, pitching the 15th inning of a 4-3 victory and becoming at 24 the youngest pitcher to win an All-Star Game since the Royals' Jose Rosado in 1997 at 22. It was Kazmir's second All-Star selection. He pitched a scoreless inning during the 2006 game at Pittsburgh's PNC Park.

The "K' king: He led the American League with a career-high 239 strikeouts in 2007 and at 23 became the youngest AL strikeout champion since 22-year-old Frank Tanana with the Angels in 1975.

The playoffs: He won his postseason debut, Game 2 of the 2008 AL Division Series, against the White Sox and Mark Buehrle, giving up two runs in 5? innings. Kazmir started the Rays' first World Series game, a 3-2 loss to the Phillies in 2008. He drew a no-decision in Game 5, when Philadelphia won the championship.

Joe Smith, Times staff writer

Scott Kazmir: Leaving a legacy with the Tampa Bay Rays 08/28/09 [Last modified: Saturday, August 29, 2009 6:36am]
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