Jason Marquis was a promising young pitcher for Atlanta when he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 2003 season. Through July 18, 2004 the Cards are 57-34 and in first place in the NL Central with an enormous eight game lead. Marquis has started 18 games and is 9-4 with an ERA of 4.03. He has allowed 52 earned runs in 111.2 innings, with 37 walks and 77 strike outs. Jason has won eight of his last nine decisions.
The hard-throwing 25 year-old, his fastball hits the mid-90's in mph, was so impressive at Double-A Greenville that the Atlanta Braves brought him to the majors in 2000 even though they had one of baseball's strongest pitching staffs. Considered a top minor league prospect, Marquis made his first appearance in the majors in June when John Rocker was optioned to the minors. In his 2000 big-league stint with Atlanta, Jason threw 23.1 innings, compiling a 1-0 record with 17 strikeouts and a 5.01 ERA. He was much better on the road (3.21 ERA) than at home (7.71 ERA).
Marquis started his first major league game on May 12, 2001 and hurled a gem, shutting out the Los Angeles Dodgers for 6 innings on only 2 hits (the Braves lost, 1-0, in the ninth inning). On June 24, Marquis got his first major league win as a starter when he went 6 innings and allowed 4 runs in the Braves' 8-4 win over the New York Mets. Marquis, who went to high school in Staten Island, had 60-70 friends and family in the stands and was so excited to start in New York that the Braves' pitching coach had to visit the mound after only two pitches to settle him down.
During the 2001 season, Marquis was a solid contributor in the Braves' run towards the post-season as they finished 88-74 and won the NL East for the tenth consecutive year (a major league record). On October 6, the day after the Braves clinched the division title, Marquis started and contributed an excellent effort, allowing 3 runs in 8 innings and getting the win in a 7-3 victory over Florida. He finished the regular season with a 5-6 record in 38 appearances (16 starts) with an impressive 3.48 ERA. Jason also struck out 98 hitters while walking only 59 in 129.1 innings pitched.
Although not a starter in the playoffs, Marquis was kept on the roster because of his experience as a reliever and his athleticism. One of the fastest runners on the team, he was expected to also be used as a pinch runner late in games. He did not play in the Divisional Series against the Houston Astros, which the Braves won, but in Game 2 of the NLCS (against the Arizona Diamondbacks) he appeared as a pinch runner in Atlanta's 8-1 victory. In Game 3, he pitched a perfect ninth inning (with one strikeout) with the Braves down 5-1; they lost the game by that score and lost the series to Arizona, 4 games to 1.
During the 2002 season, Marquis compiled an 8-9 record, with a 5.04 ERA. He also had 84 strikeouts against 49 walks in 114.1 innings. Marquis' eight wins were fifth on the team behind Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Kevin Millwood, and Damian Moss. The Braves finished with the best record in the National League, 101-59, but were then bested in the playoffs by the San Francisco Giants, 3 games to 2, in the divisional series.
During the 2003 season, Marquis split time between Atlanta and Triple-A Richmond. During his stint in the minors, Jason started 10 games and went 5-3 with a 3.26 ERA. Before having been sent down to the minors, Jason had appeared in three games (starting two of them) and allowed nine runs in 12.1 innings (a 6.57 ERA) without a decision. Upon his return to the Braves, Marquis pitched in three games, allowing just two runs in five innings, but was sent back to Richmond on June 28. Jason was recalled to the Braves on July 29, and appeared in a total of 21 games for Atlanta with an ERA of 5.53 (he also recorded his first career save). The Braves finished the season with a record of 101-61, but lost to the Chicago Cubs in the NL playoffs.
Source: Jews in Sports