Robert Michael Ojeda is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. Ojeda is best remembered as an anchor in the 1986 World Series Champion New York Mets starting rotation (along with Dwight Gooden and Ron Darling), and for being the lone survivor of a March 22, 1993 boating accident that killed fellow Cleveland Indians pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews. He is also a former pre- and post-game studio analyst for Mets broadcasts.
When the 1981 Major League Baseball strike ended, Ojeda's stellar ERA earned him a recall to the majors. He responded with a complete game seven-hit victory. This time, his stay in the majors was permanent, as he pitched well in all but his last two starts for Boston.
When 1985 started, the Red Sox were overstocked on starting pitchers, including a young Roger Clemens, so Ojeda was relegated to the bullpen. He pitched so well in that capacity that he was moved back into the rotation at the end of May, but his ERA again ballooned over four, prompting the Red Sox to trade him after the season. The eight-player trade seemed minor at the time but would have repercussions the following year as it sent Ojeda to the New York Mets and Calvin Schiraldi to the Red Sox. Both would play important roles in the 1986 World Series. In 1986, Ojeda was fantastic for the Mets almost from day one.
In his first season with the Dodgers, Ojeda pitched well as their only left-handed starter. He won an important game in the heat of a pennant race but the Dodgers lost three of their last four games and missed the playoffs. In 1992, his numbers sank some and he became a free agent after the season. After six weeks as a free agent, he was signed by the Cleveland Indians.
The Indians were in Winter Haven for spring training on March 22, 1993 when Ojeda went on a boat ride with new teammates Steve Olin and Tim Crews at Crews's home in Clermont, Florida. Crews was legally drunk and it was nearly dark when the boat struck a pier on Little Lake Nellie, killing Crews and Olin. It was the first death of active major league players since Thurman Munson in 1979. Ojeda suffered major head lacerations and sat out most of the season to recuperate both physically and mentally. He attributed the fact that he was slouching in his seat at the time of the accident for saving his life. He returned late that season and had a 4.40 ERA in 43 innings.
Ojeda became a free agent after the 1993 season. He was signed by the New York Yankees for 1994 but pitched poorly in two games and was soon released. He retired as a player soon after.
In 2005, Ojeda was named the pitching coach for the Can-Am League's Worcester Tornadoes under Worcester manager and Ojeda's former batterymate, Rich Gedman, helping the team win the Can-Am championship in its first year. After the 2007 season, Ojeda left the coaching staff to join the front office. In 2009, Ojeda joined SportsNet New York as a pre-game and post-game studio analyst for New York Mets broadcasts with Chris Carlin. Ojeda left SNY after the 2014 season.
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