The pitching entry for the 1975 Philadelphia Phillies in this ‘Phillies 50’ series on those who had a minimal impact on each team from 1971-2019 as well as in their MLB career is a right-hander who was appearing in his fourth and final MLB season.
Having had his contract purchased from the Chicago White Sox during spring training of 1975, Cy Acosta would appear in a half-dozen games on the mound for the Phillies that year.
Acosta is a native of El Sabino, Mexico and was signed by the Chisox at age 25 prior to the 1971 season after pitching four seasons down south of the border. He would appear in 101 games with Chicago over the 1972-74 campaigns, with a high of 48 games in the 1973 season.
That year he was fantastic, winning 10 games and saving 18, recording a 2.23 ERA while allowing just 66 hits over 97 innings. Acosta also earned the distinction of becoming the first American League pitcher to make a plate appearance in 1973 following the adoption of the Designated Hitter that year, striking out on June 20, 1973 against the California Angels.
That lone standout season was easily the high point of his career in Major League Baseball. Acosta made the Opening Day roster with the Phillies in 1975 and was sent to the mound in relief by manager Danny Ozark on six occasions.
His first appearance with the Phillies went well. On April 10, 1975 at Shea Stadium in New York he earned a save by getting Joe Torre to ground out and Dave Kingman to fly out in the bottom of the 11th inning, preserving a 3-2 victory for the Phillies over the host Mets.
Over his next four appearances, Acosta allowed runs in each. He surrendered a total of seven runs, six of those earned, on nine hits across six innings with two strikeouts and three walks. The Phillies lost each of those four games. His final appearance with both the Phillies and in MLB came at age 28 on May 5, 1975 at Busch Stadium in Saint Louis.
This was supposed to be a marquee matchup of aces, with Steve Carlton taking the mound against his former team, and Bob Gibson on the mound for the Cardinals. It didn’t work out well for the Phillies left-hander. Carlton was driven from the game in just the 2nd inning, having allowed eight earned runs on eight hits including a pair of triples and a home run. The 39-year-old Gibson, in what was his final big-league season, would earn the win with seven effective innings.
Acosta came on to pitch a pair of shutout frames, setting the Cardinals hitters down in order in both the bottom of the 6th and 7th innings. In a double-switch for the bottom of the 8th, Ozark brought in Tony Taylor to play first base in place of Tommy Hutton batting in Acosta’s spot, which was due to leadoff the top of the 9th inning. Joe Hoerner came on to pitch the final inning for the Phillies.
When the Phillies tried to send him to the minor leagues, Acosta instead opted to go play back in his home country of Mexico. He made 26 final appearances including 14 starts with Puebla that summer in the Triple-A caliber Mexican League before hanging up his cleats.