Don Hyslop of RedSoxNation.net recently spoke with former Red Sox pitcher Jim Corsi about his major league career and his life after baseball. Corsi, a native of Newton, Massachusetts, was with the Boston organization from 1985 to 1987 and again from 1997 to 1999. Originally drafted by the Yankees in 1982, Corsi also was with the Houston, Oakland, Florida, Oriole, Arizona and Cardinal organizations during his career. Jim pitched in 368 big league games, compiling a 22-24 record with a 3.25 career ERA. He also pitched five innings in post-season play, not giving up an earned run. You can now catch Jim Corsi on TV every other Friday night on UPN 38ís Friday Night Baseball, where he appears on the pre and post game shows.
RSN: In 1982, you were drafted by the New York Yankees. What was your experience like with them?
JC: It was alright, but I had arm problems so it was basically a battle to survive. I never really came back from the arm problems, and as a result they released me in 1983. I sat out 1984 trying to get healthy and ended up signing a minor league contract with the Red Sox the following season.
RSN: You played in the Sox organization in 1985 and 1986. Did you get called up at all during those two seasons?
JC: No, I played A ball and then AA the next season. They released me after my AA year. They told me that I had proved I could pitch at the AA level but they did not think I could be successful at any higher level. A week later, I signed with the Oakland Aís and pitched in the big leagues the following year. I spent one year in the minors moving from A to AA ball. The next year I went to big league camp, ended up at AAA, but during that season I made four trips up and down to Oakland.
RSN: Jim, was your arm completely healed by that time?
JC: Oh yeah, even when I was with the Sox organization in í85 and '86 it was fine.
RSN: Any special memories from your years with Oakland?
JC: Well, we were lucky enough to go to the World Series -- the "Earthquake Series." That was incredible. They were a great team and went to the World Series three years in a row against L.A., San Francisco and Cincinnati.
RSN: You had some experience in the National League as well.
JC: Yes, in 1981 I played with the Astros. You know, I went back and forth to Oakland three different times.
RSN: Do you agree with the belief that National League pitchers ERAs are about a run lower than those in the American League due to the DH and a weaker eighth place hitter?
JC: No, I wouldnít say that. I, for example, have a lower career ERA in the American League than in the National.
RSN: For someone who grew up in the Boston area, what was it like the first time you took the mound in Fenway?
JC: Actually, the biggest memory I have of Fenway Park is when we were taking batting practice the first time I was there with Oakland. I was shagging balls off the Green Monster and my family was all lined up along the left field stands. Having them watching me, that was the biggest thing. You know you are in the big leagues -- you are in the park you used to go to as a kid and your family is watching you take fly balls off the Monster. That was the biggest thrill. Once you start to pitch you donít realize where you are because you are too locked in, too focused. At that time it was just another baseball field. The first time I was in Boston for an opening day, and lined up along the foul line for the national anthem, was a big thrill as well.
RSN: You have a perfect ERA in your two playoff series. Do you have any special memories of those times?
JC: No, just that the intensity levels were so much greater, as you either win or go home. Every pitch is just that much more important, knowing that every batter could be the determining factor in the game. When you came out of the game, and someone came in, you were more nervous for them than you were for yourself.
RSN: I noticed that you had one at-bat in the American League. What were the circumstances around that?
JC: It was against the Marlins down in Florida, so the DH rule didnít apply. I had pitched a couple of innings and got an at-bat against a lefty. I canít remember the guyís name, but I grounded out to third. That was it!
RSN: You were picked up in the expansion draft by the Marlins and played there one year. You then re-signed with them, but didnít play. What was the reason for that?
JC: I had two arm surgeries. I actually hurt my arm swinging a bat during my first year there. I took some time off to recover but it didnít work. I had no stuff on the ball. I tried to come back in 1994 but it was more of the same. I started off in AAA, and then the strike happened, so I ended up in AAA the rest of that year. I signed with Oakland at the end of that season and had a couple of good years there before I came back to the Red Sox.
RSN: How did you enjoy the second time around with the Sox organization?
JC: Well, it was better because I was in the big leagues. When you grow up around here, to play for the Sox is the thing. Never mind playing in the majors, but to also play with the Red Sox, your home team, it doesnít get any better than that.
RSN: During the 1999 season you signed with Baltimore. What happened to you after that?
JC: After the Ď99 season, I signed with the Diamondbacks but got hit in the side of the head with a line drive during spring training. It gave me a severe concussion. I tried to battle back from it but the effects stayed with me for over six months. I ended up signing with Baltimore again. I went to AAA, but it didnít come around. I went to the Cardinals for spring training in 2001 and got released on the last day of the spring. That was it. I was now 38 years old and a right handed pitcher. I mean, it wasnít the worst thing. I had signed at the age of 20, and I was now 38. It was enough.
RSN: Jim, what have you been doing since you retired?
JC: I am now in construction. I build houses and flip them over. I also do some TV. I do pre and post-game shows on UPN 38ís Friday Night Baseball with Bob Lobel. I also do some appearances on NECN with Chris Collins and on Fox Sports with Craig Dickerson.
RSN: You also participated in this yearís Ring Ceremony Day. What was that like?
JC: The ring ceremony and seeing quite a few of the guys I used to play with was special. I was happy for the present team. To finally see that Championship banner raised after 86 years was great.
RSN: Have you thought of doing any coaching?
JC: I would like to someday. I have to get myself a little better situated money wise first. I didnít make a lot of cash, so I have to work. There is a point when I can collect my pension. When that happens, the pension combined with a minor league coaching salary would enable me to afford to coach in the minors. I couldnít do it right now, because to put it bluntly, I couldnít afford it. Isnít that weird?
RSN: So, we can look forward to seeing you on a regular basis on Friday Night Baseball?
JC: Yes, every other Friday night I will be on the program.
RSN: One last question Jim: What was your take on the recent problems Keith Foulke was having?
JC: It was, in my opinion, his location. He was also a little quick with his motion. It looked as if his arm was a little dead, as there was not a great difference between his change and his fast ball velocity wise. You want about 10 mph between the two. You could still get away with this if your location was good, but he was leaving the ball up. You canít get away with that in the big leagues.
RSN: Thanks Jim, for visiting with Red Sox Nation.
JC: No problem. All the best.
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Jim Corsi - Red Sox pitcher 1997-1999
interview by Don Hyslop aka Scotian1
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