Farewell Wade Miley, the Best Cow-Milker in Red Sox History
Wade Miley’s performance on the mound last season may have been forgettable, but his personality most certainly is not.
The Red Sox traded Miley and reliever Jonathan Aro to the Seattle Mariners Monday for right-hander Carson Smith and lefty Roenis Elias. Smith, the centerpiece of the trade, was one of the most dominant relief pitchers in baseball last season, striking out nearly 12 batters per nine innings. He further bolsters a refurbished Red Sox bullpen, which also added All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel last month.
Though Miley’s time here was brief, it wasn’t without its share of memorable off-field moments. After all, it’s not every day that a backwoodsman from Hammond, Louisiana, who grew up on a diary farm spends a summer in Boston.
Red Sox fans were first introduced to Miley last December, when the team acquired him from the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for hurlers Rubby De La Rosa and Allen Webster. The reason why Miley, 29, was on the trade block may have been less about his performance, and more about his refusal to partake in a club-mandated gluten-free diet.
“It might work for some people, but I didn’t feel like it worked for me,” Miley told the Arizona Republic‘s Nick Piecoro shortly after the deal. “I did what I felt like I needed to do to pitch every five days.”
You see, Miley isn’t the kind of guy who believes in “gluten-free.” Rather than shop at the farmer’s market for his dinner, he’d prefer to kill a deer with his bare hands. Literally.
meet Wade Miley pic.twitter.com/J08GW4zyoD
— Jeff Sullivan (@based_ball) December 7, 2015
Upon arriving in Boston last December, Miley was asked about his apprehension about going gluten-free. He responded by invoking another left-handed pitcher who once wore a Red Sox uniform.
“I’m a big fan of old-school guys. You can’t tell me Babe Ruth ever stopped eating gluten,” Miley said in a radio interview on WEEI. It’s hard to argue with that.
At times, it was hard to watch Miley on the mound last season. He finished with a 4.46 ERA and infamously got in John Farrell’s face after the skipper removed him from a game in which he had allowed five runs and nine hits in just four innings. The heated exchange was representative of the Red Sox’s disappointing campaign, which at the time was spiraling out of control.
Miley stayed in the rotation after that spat in mid-June, posting a pedestrian 4.15 ERA the rest of the way. He was largely a league-average pitcher with the Red Sox, which pales in comparison to his cow-milking abilities.
The most indelible image from Miley’s time in Boston wasn’t when he was throwing a baseball, but rather tugging a cow’s udder. It’s hard to find a more appropriate symbol for the Red Sox’s third last-place finish in four years than that.