Ron Guidry ("Louisiana Lightning" and "Gator") (born August 28, 1950 in Lafayette, Louisiana) is a former Major League Baseball left-handed pitcher. He played fourteen seasons for the New York Yankees between 1975 and 1988. In 2006 Guidry was named pitching coach for the Yankees.
Guidry began his career pitching briefly in the 1975 and 1976 seasons. In 1977, he began as a relief pitcher but was moved into the starting rotation. He helped lead the New York Yankees to a World Series championship. He was 2-0, allowing only 5 earned runs in 20 innings pitched in the 1977 ALCS and 1977 World Series combined.
In 1978, he had a career year, one that he would never quite manage to equal. On June 17, he struck out a Yankee record 18 batters in a single game against the California Angels. Guidry's 18 strikeout game ushered in the Yankee Stadium tradition of fans standing and clapping for a strikeout with 2 strikes on the visiting batter. Guidry went 25-3, with 9 shutouts, 248 strikeouts, and a sparkling 1.74 ERA, guaranteeing himself the American League Cy Young Award. Guidry also finished second in American League Most Valuable Player voting to Boston Red Sox slugger Jim Rice. Guidry's 25th win of the regular season was his most significant, as he was the winning pitcher in the Yankees' 5-4 win over the Boston Red Sox in the one-game playoff to decide the AL East division winner. The Yankees again won the World Series over the Los Angeles Dodgers. No American League pitcher posted an ERA this low again until Pedro Martinez in 2000.
Over the next seven seasons he amassed a stellar 113-57 win-loss record. Guidry also won the Gold Glove Award five straight times (1982-86). However, arm problems that began in 1981 finally began dramatically affecting his performance. He retired from baseball on July 12, 1989, after shoulder surgery did not improve his performance.
As well as winning the 1978 Cy Young Award, Guidry was named The Sporting News AL Pitcher and Major League Player of the Year. Guidry was named Lefthanded Pitcher on The Sporting News AL All-Star Teams in 1978, 1981, 1983 & 1985. Guidry also finished in the top 10 in the American League Cy Young voting 6 times (1977-'79, 1981, 1983 & 1985) over a 9 year span.
Guidry served as co-captain of the Yankees along with Willie Randolph from March 4th, 1986 until July 12, 1989.
His number 49 was retired on 'Ron Guidry Day', August 23, 2003. The Yankees also dedicated a plaque to hang in Monument Park at Yankee Stadium. The plaque calls Guidry "A dominating pitcher and a respected leader" and "A true Yankee." Each living Yankee previously so honored was on hand for the ceremony: Phil Rizzuto, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson and Don Mattingly.