Glancing Back, and Remembering Diego Segui
Diego Segui was a solid right-handed pitcher that teams loved to trade … and trade for.
He was effective both as a starter and as a reliever, and often played both roles in the same season. He was also the first pitcher – that is, the Opening Day starter in the franchise’s inaugural game – for the Seattle franchise, a feat he accomplished not once, but twice.
A Cuban native, Segui was signed by the Cincinnati Reds in 1958 and was purchased by the Kansas City Athletics later that same year. He made his major league debut with the A’s in 1962, going 8-5 with a 3.86 ERA. In 1963, he was 9-6 with a 3.77 ERA, and was a full-time starter in 1964, going 8-17 with a 4.64 ERA and a career-high 217 innings pitching for a dreadful Kansas City team (one that finished last in the American League with a 57-105 record).
Used primarily as a starter in 1965, Segui went 5-15 with a 4.64 ERA and then was sold to the Washington Senators, going 3-7 before being traded in July back to Kansas City for Jim Duckworth. He was effective working out of the A’s bullpen the next two seasons, going 3-4 with a 3.09 ERA in 1967 and 6-5 with a 2.39 ERA and six saves for the A’s (now playing out of Oakland) in 1968. Having established himself as the A’s top reliever, Segui was inexplicably left unprotected in the expansion draft and was selected by the Seattle Pilots.
Segui was Seattle’s Opening Day starter in the team’s first game in 1969. For the rest of the 1969 season, he was primarily a reliever for the Pilots, appearing in 66 games with a 12-6 record and 12 saves to go with his 3.35 ERA.
As the Pilots franchise folded after its only season and was reborn in Milwaukee as the Brewers, Segui was moved again, this time traded back to the Athletics (with shortstop Ray Oyler) for Ted Kubiak and George Lazerique. He was 10-10 for Oakland in 1970, posting the American League’s best earned run average at 2.56. in 1971, he moved back to the starting rotation and went 10-8 with a 3.14 ERA.
Just after the start of the 1972 season, Segui was dealt to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he went 10-7 over the next two seasons as a reliever. Following the 1973 season, Segui – now 35 – was part of a blockbuster deal with the Boston Red Sox, who gave up John Curtis, Mike Garman and Lynn McGlothen for Segui, Reggie Cleveland and Terry Hughes.
Segui was 6-8 for the Red Sox in 1974 with 10 saves, and followed in 1975 with a 2-5 record and six saves. He was released by the Red Sox in 1976, and signed with Hawaii of the Pacific Coast League, going 11-5.
That performance caught the attention of the new Seattle franchise – the Mariners – who signed Segui and selected him to be their Opening Day pitcher. That made him not only the only player to play for both Seattle clubs, but the only pitcher to be an initial game starter twice … for any two teams, much less two teams in the same city.
Segui went 0-7 for the Mariners in 1977 and retired after that season with a career record of 92-111 and a lifetime ERA of 3.81. He is the father of outfielder David Segui.