Where are they now? Paul Quantrill

Where are they now? Paul Quantrill

Paul Quantrill was one of the most durable relief pitchers of his era. From 2001 through 2004 he led the league by appearing in 80, 86, 89 and 86 games. Quantrill also took the ball 77 times in 1997 and 82 times in 1998. By that point of his career, he had clearly found his niche.

Pitching for the Phillies in 1995, however, that destiny wasn't yet clear. And the team needed help in the rotation. So that's what Quantrill did ... and led the staff in game started with 29.

Oh, yeah, Quantrill also pitched in with four relief appearances.

Quantrill, now 45, is a native Canadian who spent six seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. He's now a consultant for the team and represented the organization at the annual First-Year Player Draft this year.

"I spend some time with our Minor League affiliates. I usually get in to see each team at least once and visit with our pitchers. There's some instruction, but most of it is sitting down with young men and talking about approach, how they go about their business and being a pro," Quantrill explained while in New York.

Quantrill still lives in Canada and works with roving Minor League pitching instructor Dane Johnson. "I'm just extra staff who hopefully will make a little bit of a difference," he said modestly.

Quantrill came to the Phillies in May 31, 1994, in a trade with the Red Sox. Wes Chamberlain and Mike Sullivan went to Boston for Quantrill and Billy Hatcher. The previous season the Phillies had been to the World Series with a cast of characters like Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams, Lenny Dykstra, John Kruk and Dave Hollins.

"We had a crazy group," Quantrill said with a smile. "Some of the funnest times I ever had was playing for the Phillies. We weren't that successful on the field when I was there, but we had a lot of fun battling. I never played with a group that would battle you any tougher.

"One of the things I appreciated about that team was the leadership of Darren Daulton. Dutch was a special player. A very good player, obviously. Darren was pretty quiet most of the time but when he wanted to take command of that entire clubhouse, there was never a question that he was in charge. Being a relatively young player then, I appreciated that. You don't see that all the times. Very seldom, actually. Even less nowadays. More of it goes on the manager's shoulders."

Like everyone, Quantrill was shocked last summer at the news that Daulton had been diagnosed with brain cancer. "It's tough, but especially with somebody like Dutch because he was the invincible one, he was that guy who went out and played hard. Led by example. But he would also stand up and take the floor when he needed to," he said.

The Phillies used Quantrill primarily as a reliever his first season in red pinstripes, but optioned him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in July to start. He had some success and that was the role he assumed in 1995. Even though many in the organization thought Quantrill was best suited to work out of the bullpen, there were openings in the rotation that had to be addressed. Curt Schilling and Tommy Greene missed part of the season because of injuries. Tyler Green was in his first full big league season.

Other pitchers who started games that year included Mike Mimbs, Sid Fernandez, Jeff Juden, Mike Williams, David West, Dennis Springer, Bobby Munoz, Mike Grace and Jim Deshaies.

For awhile, the decision to make Quantrill a starter seemed like an inspired move. Through June 19, he was 6-2 with a 3.65 earned run average.

Quantrill couldn't keep up that pace, though, and ended the season 11-12 with a 4.67 ERA. At the Winter Meetings that December he was traded to the Blue Jays for Howard Battle and Ricardo Jordan. Two years later he became a full-time reliever, posting a 1.94 ERA for Toronto. Quantrill never started another game in the big leagues. He was an All-Star in 2001 with Toronto and his 86 games in 2004 for the Yankees was a franchise record.

Quantrill retired in 2005 after a 14-year career with seven different teams and was inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

When Quantrill is not traveling for the Blue Jays, Quantrill focuses on his wife, Alyson, and their three children. Cal, 19, just completed his freshman year at Stanford where he held opponents to a .220 batting average and struck out 93 batters 103 2/3 innings. Daughters Reese and Avery are 16 and 12. "We have a very busy household," he said.

Which is appropriate for a guy who was one of baseball's busiest pitchers during his playing days.

Paul Hagen is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.