Charles Nagy

Charles Harrison Nagy (born May 5, 1967) is an American former Major League Baseball All-Star right-handed pitcher who played for 14 seasons in the major leagues from 1990 to 2003. He played for the Cleveland Indians and San Diego Padres. He served as the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks from 2011 to 2013 and the Los Angeles Angels from 2016 to 2018.

Charles Nagy
Nagy in 2023
Born: (1967-05-05) May 5, 1967
Bridgeport, Connecticut, U.S.
Batted: Left
Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 29, 1990, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
June 1, 2003, for the San Diego Padres
MLB statistics
Win–loss record129–105
Earned run average4.51
Career highlights and awards

Early life and amateur career

Nagy was born on May 5, 1967, in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He is of Hungarian ancestry.[1] Nagy attended Roger Ludlowe High School in Fairfield, Connecticut,[2] where he starred in baseball and football.

Nagy attended the University of Connecticut. Playing for the Huskies, he ranked second and eighth all-time for strikeouts in a single season (113, 81)[3] and fifth for his career (194). His single-season marks for the Huskies (entering the 2011 season) include tied for third in complete games (8), tied for sixth in saves (4), and 17th in innings pitched (86.1).[4] He was the first Huskies player drafted in the first round[5] and the first to be named the BIG EAST Pitcher of the Year, which he won twice (for the 1987 and 1988 seasons).[6]

In 1987, he played collegiate summer baseball with the Harwich Mariners of the Cape Cod Baseball League, and was playoff MVP of Harwich's league championship squad.[7][8]

Nagy was a member of the Team USA Baseball that competed in the 1988 Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea as a demonstration sport. Nagy made 19 appearances for Team USA, going 3-1 with a 1.05 ERA and a team-leading six saves. He appeared in two games in the Olympics, pitching 2.0 innings and earning a save.[4] Team USA defeated defending champion Japan to win the tournament and win individual gold medals, however, since baseball was a demonstration sport, the medals did not count in the respective nations' medal totals.

Professional career

Nagy was taken in the first round as the 17th overall pick by the Cleveland Indians during the 1988 Major League Baseball draft amateur draft. He was selected as a compensation pick from the San Francisco Giants for the signing of Brett Butler. Nagy was the second of three first round picks selected by the Indians, sandwiched between SS Mark Lewis and pitcher Jeff Mutis. Being a successful college pitcher, Nagy skipped several levels and was assigned to the Kinston Indians, the Cleveland "High A" affiliate in the Carolina League. He posted an 8-4 record and 1.51 earned run average (ERA) with 99 strikeouts in 95.1 innings over 13 starts. He was quickly promoted to Canton–Akron Indians, the Double-A affiliate in the Eastern League. Nagy finish with a 4-5 record and a 3.35 ERA in 15 starts. After the season, Baseball America rated him as the #27 prospect.

Nagy returned to the so-called "little Indians" for the start of the 1990 season, where he went 13-8 with a 2.52 ERA in 23 starts. He was soon called up to Cleveland, a hapless club that would finish 4th in AL East (77-85) and was in desperate need of starting pitching. He made his big league debut on June 29, 1990, a 7-2 loss to the California Angels. He would end with a 2-4 record and a 5.91 ERA in 9 starts. In 1991, he finished 10-15 with a 4.13 ERA, and tied for eighth in the American League Rookie of the Year Award for 1991. On August 8, 1992, he threw a complete game one-hitter against the Baltimore Orioles, with just two walks and giving up a single in the seventh.

1992 was possibly Nagy's best year statistically as he finished the season with an impressive 2.96 ERA with a career high 252 innings pitched, he also amassed a .630 win percent with a 17–10 record despite the 1992 Indians low win percent of .469. He also pitched 10 complete games and pitched three of out of his six career shutouts that year while making his first All-Star appearance.

In the 1992 All-Star Game, Nagy batted in the 8th inning because there were no players remaining to pinch-hit. Nagy hit an infield single off Doug Jones while wearing a Texas Rangers batting helmet.[9] He scored on a single by Travis Fryman.[10] Nagy was the 19th pitcher to get a hit in the All-Star Game, and is the only pitcher to record a hit in the All-Star Game in the designated hitter era.[11]

Since 2011, the pitcher's spot has been replaced by the designated hitter in each league for the All-Star Game, making it unlikely to see a pitcher record a hit in the game (in the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Shohei Ohtani was allowed to start the game as pitcher and as the DH, although he did not record a hit).

On May 15, 1993, Nagy left a game against the Milwaukee Brewers with a shoulder injury after pitching to just two batters. He was a miserable 2-6 at that point and undergo surgery for a torn labrum on June 29, shutting him down for the 1993 season. He rebounded in 1994 with a respectable 10-8 record with a 3.45 ERA during the strike-shortened season.

During the 1995 season, Nagy led the staff with a 16–6 and a 4.55 ERA, as the Indians returned to the World Series for the first time since 1954. He pitched well in the division and league championship series, giving up two earned runs in 15 innings, but surrendered five earned runs in seven innings in Game 3 of the 1995 World Series. The next year, 1996, was arguably his best season; he recorded a 17–5 record and a 3.41 ERA, and he finished fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting.

In the 1997 World Series, Nagy was the Game 3 starter. He gave up 5 earned runs in six innings. In Game 7, after a blown save by closer José Mesa, manager Mike Hargrove was forced to bring in Nagy, the starter with the team's most wins during the regular season (15), in the 10th inning to try to mop up. In the bottom of the 11th inning, Nagy gave up a bases-loaded single to Édgar Rentería that appeared to graze off his outstretched glove to end the game and the series, pinning Nagy with the loss.

In 1999, Nagy batted twice in a game against Toronto, after confusion over the initial lineup card. [12] As of 2021, he is one of only eight different pitchers to have batted more than once in a nine-inning game that used the designated hitter rule.

During this period from 1995 through 1999, Nagy was the workhorse of the Tribe pitching staff, amassing 15 or more wins each season, a feat only matched by Greg Maddux. However, Nagy was placed on the disabled list (DL) on May 16, 2000, snapping a streak of 192 consecutive starts dating back to October 3, 1993. On May 19, 2000, he underwent arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips from his elbow. He returned to make three starts in September, but was shut down after three losses and persistent pain.[13] He would get just 6 more wins from 2001 through 2003.

Despite a solid spring training and not missing a turn in the spring rotation, Nagy started the 2001 season on the disabled list, as the Indians felt he needed to build strength in his surgically repaired elbow.[14] He did not come off of the DL on June 1.[15]

Nagy's last season, 2003, was with the San Diego Padres. He finished 6th on the Tribe's all-time strikeout leader list (1,235),[16] 10th in wins (129), and 11th in innings pitched (1,942.1).[17]

Post-playing career

Nagy in 2015

He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, and the Cleveland Indians Team Hall of Fame on August 11, 2007.

In 2009, Nagy was named the pitching coach of the Cleveland Indians' AAA team, the Columbus Clippers.[18]

On October 26, 2010, Nagy was named pitching coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks.[19][20] He was fired by general manager Kevin Towers on October 7, 2013 partly for refusing to instruct pitchers to hit players on opposing teams.[21] It was duly noted by journalists that the Diamondbacks pitchers actually hit 60 batters last season, while their batters were only hit 43 times.[22]

In February 2015, Nagy was hired again by the Cleveland Indians as Special Assistant to Player Development along with Travis Hafner and John McDonald.[23][24]

On November 2, 2015, Nagy was named the pitching coach of the Los Angeles Angels.[25]

He retired from coaching in 2018.

Personal life

Nagy and his wife, Jacquelyn "Jackie", have two daughters, Makaela and Lily. They live outside of San Diego in Rancho Santa Fe, California.[20]

Nagy established an endowed baseball scholarship at UConn with a gift of $100,000.[2]


  1. Famous Hungarians in sports (accessed July 4, 2011)
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-07-10. Retrieved 2010-03-12.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  3. Nagy Named Diamondbacks Pitching Coach Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine, October 27, 2010 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  4. 2011 Huskies Media Guide Archived 2015-09-15 at the Wayback Machine, 2011 Guide (accessed July 4, 2011)
  5. Two Huskies Taken in First Round of MLB Draft, June 7, 2011 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  6. UConn Earns Three BIG EAST Major Awards, May 24, 2011 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  7. Bulkley, Nat (August 20, 1987). "Mariners capture Cape League title over Red Sox". The Cape Cod Chronicle. Chatham, MA. p. 45.
  8. "Major League Baseball Players From the Cape Cod League" (PDF). Retrieved September 25, 2019.
  9. O'Connell, Jack. "Indians Pitcher Nagy A Surprise Hit". Hartfort Courant. Hartfort Courant. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  10. Gardner, Sam. "All-Star Game has produced the random and spectacular". Fox Sports. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  11. Malinowski, Erik. "Five weirdly obscure facts from MLB's All-Star Game history". Fox Sports. Retrieved 21 July 2018.
  12. "Toronto at Cleveland".
  13. Schneider, Russell Cleveland Indians The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia, page 227 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  14. AL Central Team Notes, March 27, 2001 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  15. AL Central Team Notes, June 5, 2001 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  16. "Indians Stats".
  17. Smoke Signals, January 25, 2009 (accessed July 4, 2011)
  18. "Cleveland Indians hire Charles Nagy to be Class AAA pitching coach". 10 December 2009.
  19. "Help Center - the Arizona Republic".
  20. official team bio (accessed July 4, 2011)
  21. Green, Adam (October 8, 2013). "Arizona Diamondacks GM: 'It's going to be an eye for an eye'". ArizonaSports. Phoenix AZ: Bonneville International. Archived from the original on October 9, 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2018.
  22. "D-backs GM Kevin Towers wants his pitchers to hit more batters — and it sounds like that's why he fired his pitching coach". October 9, 2013. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  23. "Blasts from the past: Indians name Charles Nagy, Travis Hafner, John McDonald special assistants". 10 February 2015.
  24. "Coaches".
  25. "LA Angels name Charlie Nagy their new pitching coach". USA Today.
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