“Each day I've tried to look at it like a blank canvas -- let's see what happens, let's see what fills it, let's see what comes up. That way you're not judging either people, or things, or situations, you're just living in the present and in the moment and trying to enjoy everything you can." -- Josh Collmenter
Josh Collmenter went from being the Diamondbacks’ Opening Day starter to being designated for assignment in less than 16 months. But if this indeed the end of his time with Arizona, he will leave behind a legacy of solid performances, memorable moments and quirky character traits.
Collmenter’s position in team history is secured. He is seventh for innings pitched, and is also in the top ten for appearances, wins and strikeouts. His ERA of 3.54 is better for Arizona than Dan Haren or Ian Kennedy, Among home-grown pitchers, his bWAR trails just Brandon Webb and Byung-Hyun Kim. He’s one of four pitchers to have tossed both a shutout and a save for the D-backs (others being Brian Anderson, Trevor Cahill and Randall Delgado) - he’s the sole player in franchise history with more than one of each.
Here are our 10 favorite Collmenter moments from his time in the desert.
October, 2011. NLDS Game 3. Coming off a rookie season which would see Collmenter finish fifth in Rookie of the Year voting, Collmenter started Game 3 of the Division Series against the Brewers. The D-backs had lost the first two, and teetered on the edge of elimination, so needed a strong start. Josh delivered, allowing only two hits over seven innings of one-run ball, as Arizona crushed Milwaukee 8-1, beginning a comeback which would go all the way to extra innings in Game 5.
April 2013. The long game. His rubber arm was legendary, allowing him to start, relieve, pitch on consecutive days: whatever the team needed, without ever any sign of public disaffection. Nothing stands out more than the third game in 2013, where Collmenter threw five scoreless innings out of the pen, eventually getting the win in a 16-inning 10-9 win over the Cardinals. Oh, and this was the night after working 1.2 scoreless frames. It wasn’t even the longest relief outing Josh made that season, as he threw six innings of scoreless, one-hit ball in June. But it was probably the most impressive.
March 2014. Win a date with Josh Collmenter. As part of the publicity for the games in Sydney, Josh took part in a dating contest through a local newspaper, describing himself as follows: "Josh likes long walks on Bondi Beach, reading poetry on a bear rug in front of the fireplace and tall, athletic women whose offspring will likely result in a college scholarship." Asked the last time he read poetry on a bear rug in front of a fireplace, Collmenter said, "Two nights ago. Gotta brush up on my Shakespearean sonnets to impress the young lass." The date did take place, even if it seems mostly to have consisted of Josh having cricket explained to him...
May 2014. The team intellectual. Steve Gilbert wrote a story for MLB. com, which detailed his reading habits as follows: Collmenter will often visit a bookstore on the road and browse until he finds something that catches his eye. Recently Collmenter finished "Siddhartha," a novel by Hermann Hesse. Written in 1922, the story takes place in ancient India and deals with the teachings of Buddha. Currently he's working his way through "Essentials of Philsophy: The Basic Concepts of the World's Greatest Thinkers." "It's great, because that way I'm able to get a little bit of everyone's philosophy and I don't have to go and read Plato's 'Republic' and get all of Nietzsche's stuff," Collmenter said. "It just boils everything down to the main points."
May 2014. 27 batters faced, 27 outs. On May 29 against Cincinnati, Josh Collmenter faced the minimum 27 batters against the Reds. He needed only 94 pitches to do it, for the first complete game of his career. It wasn’t a perfect game, or even a no-hitter, because he did allow three hits. However, these were erased on a pair of ground-ball double-plays and a failed attempt to go from second to third on a fly-ball. It was one of the more quietly dominant performances by a D-backs pitcher in team history, Arizona prevailing 4-0.
June 2014. Jedi Josh visits Comic-Con. As we’ve already seen, Collmenter was pretty much up for anything during his time with the D-backs. Skating with the Coyotes? Sure. Visiting the cast of The Wizard of Oz? Not a problem. But probably nothing defined his time with Arizona more than visiting Phoenix Comic-Con, dressed as a Jedi, complete with light-saber.
March 2015. Collmenter’s bizarre interview. During a televised spring training game at Salt River Fields against San Francisco, Collmenter was interviewed from the dugout. Nothing odd there. But what did make this unusual was that the part of Collmenter’s arms for this interview, was played by fellow starting pitcher Trevor Cahill. If you’ve seen Whose Line is it Anyway?, you’ll know what to expect. Everyone else - just click the damn link.
April 2015. Opening Day starter. Only 30 people are Opening Day starters for major-league teams each year. Collmenter can say he was one. Said Chip Hale, “We believe in all our guys, but he's got the most experience at this point here in Arizona. He's a good leader and he deserved it... When he first came into the big leagues, all we heard around the league was this guy's a middle guy or a long guy or maybe a fifth starter. For us, he's going to be the leader of our staff.” Of course, this probably said as much about our 2015 rotation as Josh. But he still deserved the title of “the most unlikely and most likable Opening Day starter you'll find in major league baseball.”
April 2015. Shuts out defending World Series champs. The Opening Day start didn’t go as planned, shall we say. But 11 days later, Collmenter delivered the first complete-game shutout by any pitcher in the majors. He held the Giants to four hits, and they got exactly one batter past first-base all night, as the Diamondbacks cruised to a 9-0 victory. Oh, and Josh also produced a three-hit game for Arizona, which remains his only such performance at the plate in his career.
February 2016. Professor Collmenter. Know we mentioned that intellectual thing? Collmenter was more than happy to share that knowledge, and did so to his team-mates during spring training this year. He said, “We were sitting around talking about some history stuff and (I was) like, ‘I’m just going to start teaching you guys things.’ We just pick random topics and if anyone has a suggestion we’ll talk about that.” Here he is, via Nick Piecoro, discussing gravitational pull and its impact on the space-time continuum.
Collmenter was getting into gravitational pulls and the space-time continuum pic.twitter.com/7FPr4wPaO8— Nick Piecoro (@nickpiecoro) February 23, 2016
Collmenter may never have won a Cy Young, but his attitude to the game and life in general could only ever be admired. He was a genuine personality, whose quirks will be sadly missed by fans, and the SnakePit wishes Josh all the best for the future, wherever life’s journey ends up taking him.