Three Dominant Pitchers from San Jose Inducted into Sports Hall of Fame
San Jose, CA – Three of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball during the 1980s were inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. Dave Righetti, Mark Langston, and Dave Stieb, who all grew up within 20 minutes of each other in San Jose, were honored for their impressive careers.
The trio combined for thirteen All-Star Games, seven Gold Gloves, over 400 wins, and 255 saves. Despite their success, they were relatively unknown due to the lack of recognition for San Jose at the time. Righetti expressed his pride in being from San Jose, a city that was not well-known in the sports world during their era.
Righetti, who was born and still lives in San Jose, is considered the most San Jose of the three. Langston, originally from San Diego, moved to San Jose at the age of 5, while Stieb, born in Santa Ana, arrived as a high school freshman.
Their journey to the Hall of Fame has been over 60 years in the making, with Righetti pitching the idea to honor them in 1994. The induction ceremony took place at SAP Center, where plaques of Righetti and Langston already hang in the concourse.
During their time, there was no social media or travel ball teams, but Langston was aware of Stieb and Righetti and considered them legends. Although they never played against each other, there was one known meeting between Righetti’s Pioneer team and Stieb’s Oak Grove team in a CCS playoff game, which Stieb’s team won 2-1.
The three pitchers almost had the opportunity to play together at San Jose City College, but Langston received a scholarship offer from San Jose State, and Stieb and Righetti moved on after one year. Stieb, who became the second-winningest pitcher of the 1980s, didn’t even pitch in high school or college until his third year. He was initially an outfielder and only transitioned to pitching due to injuries on his college team.
Stieb was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1978 and made it to the majors within a year. Righetti followed a month later, joining the New York Yankees in September 1979. Langston arrived in 1984 and had an impressive rookie season with the Seattle Mariners, finishing second in the Rookie of the Year voting.
Throughout their careers, the three pitchers achieved numerous accolades. Righetti won Rookie of the Year in 1981 and led the league in saves once. Stieb won an ERA title, led the league in complete games and shutouts, and twice led the league in innings pitched. Langston led the league in strikeouts three times and won seven Gold Gloves.
All three pitchers also threw no-hitters during their careers. Righetti’s no-hitter came on July 4, 1983, against the Boston Red Sox. Stieb had four near-misses before finally achieving his no-hitter in 1990. Langston’s no-hitter was combined with another pitcher, and he humbly acknowledges that his no-hitter is not on the same level as Stieb and Righetti’s individual achievements.
Despite their impressive careers, the three pitchers never had the opportunity to face each other in the majors. Righetti became a reliever in 1984, the same year Langston reached the majors. Langston spent most of his career in the American League, while Stieb played ten seasons that overlapped with Langston’s career but never faced him on the field.
Although they never had the chance to pitch against each other, the three pitchers shared some memorable moments off the field. Langston recalls playing guitars with Stieb at his home, while Righetti remembers going to see Andre the Giant with Stieb during their college days.
While they won’t be able to attend the induction ceremony together, the three pitchers will forever be honored on the concourse walls at SAP Center. Their achievements and dominance in Major League Baseball during the 1980s will be remembered in San Jose’s sports history.
San Jose’s Dominant Pitching Trio Honored in Sports Hall of Fame
Three childhood friends turned Major League Baseball stars recognized for their remarkable careers
San Jose, CA – They grew up here, the three of them close in age, closer in geographic proximity, and they grew into three of the most dominant pitchers in Major League Baseball during the 1980s.
Dave Righetti, Mark Langston, and Dave Stieb, all hailing from San Jose, have left an indelible mark on the sport. With a combined thirteen All-Star Games, seven Gold Gloves, over 400 wins, and 255 saves, their achievements are nothing short of extraordinary.
What makes their story even more remarkable is the fact that all three of them grew up within 20 minutes of one another. “I was always proud to say, ‘Yeah, we’re from San Jose,'” said Righetti. “Nobody knew where that was. There was no Sharks. There was no Silicon Valley.”
Righetti, the most San Jose of the trio, was born and still lives in the city. Langston, originally from San Diego, moved to San Jose at the age of 5. Stieb, born in Santa Ana, arrived as a high school freshman.
Now, their incredible journey is being recognized as Stieb, the pride of Oak Grove High School, is set to be inducted into the San Jose Sports Hall of Fame. Plaques of Righetti (Pioneer High) and Langston (Buchser High) already hang in the concourse of SAP Center.
Back in their day, there was no social media, no Max Preps, and no travel ball teams. But Langston knew of Stieb and Righetti. “Those guys were legends,” said Langston. “I didn’t know them, but I knew all about them. They were guys I always looked up to.”
Despite their close proximity, the three pitchers never faced each other in the majors. However, there is one known meeting between them. It was in a CCS playoff game between Righetti’s Pioneer team and Stieb’s Oak Grove team, which Stieb’s team won 2-1. “Stieb threw out my brother at the plate from centerfield,” Righetti recalled. “He threw a rocket.”
Stieb remembers the play vividly. “I threw a bullet,” he said.
Although they never played together in high school, they did cross paths at San Jose City College. Langston was initially set to join them, but a scholarship offer from San Jose State changed his path. Nevertheless, the thought of having all three of them on the same pitching staff remains intriguing.
Interestingly, Stieb, who became the second-winningest pitcher of the 1980s, didn’t start his career as a pitcher. He was an outfielder and a college All-American at Southern Illinois University. Stieb often wonders what might have been if he had pursued a career as a two-way player like Shohei Ohtani.
“I’ll always wonder,” Stieb said wistfully. “But the way things turned out, I don’t really have any regrets. I can’t say I would have hit as I advanced up through the minors.”
Pitching found Stieb, not the other way around. Injuries to the Southern Illinois pitching staff led him to help out of the bullpen. It was during one of these relief appearances that two Toronto Blue Jays scouts noticed his talent and drafted him in 1978.
Righetti followed suit a month later, making his September 1979 debut with the New York Yankees. Langston joined the league in 1984, posting an impressive 17-10 record for the Seattle Mariners.