30 November 2010

the evolution of the closer, part 2

here's part 1, if you want to catch up.  i'll wait.

mike marshall (1974-1976)
in 1974, dr. mike marshall came aboard as the dodgers' closer.  marshall was a specialist. as the closer for the expos from 1971-1973, marshall led the league in games finished each year, as well as in saves (31) and total appearances (92) in 1973.  he was just getting started.  in 1974, he again led the league in games finished and total appearances.  his 106 games was a new record for pitchers.  he saved 21 games and won 15 others en route to the cy young award - the first dodger to win that award since sandy koufax.  he saved 13 games in 1975 and had 8 saves in 1976 when he was traded to the braves.

charlie hough (1976-1977)
perhaps the unlikeliest of closers, knuckleballer charlie hough saved 18 games for the 1976 dodgers.  he followed that up with 22 in 1977 for the nl champs.  despite his success, his most memorable relief performance may have been in the 1977 world series when he gave up reggie jackson's third home run in game 6.  while he stayed in the bullpen, hough gave up the primary closer's role in 1978 when terry forster came aboard.

terry forster (1978)
forster had just 1 save with the pirates in 1977 since they also had goose gossage in the pen.  signed as a free agent, forster saved 22 games for the dodgers in 1978, helping them get back to the world series. 

bobby castillo (1979)
the dodgers actually had a bullpen by committee in 1979.  there were 11 different pitchers with at least one save, and as a team the dodgers only registered 34 saves all season.  don sutton had a save, and jerry reuss had 3!  still castillo led all comers with 7.  clearly the team needed a constant force at the back end of the bullpen.  enter steve howe.

steve howe (1980-1983)
although don stanhouse was signed to bolster the bullpen, steve howe emerged as the closer.  the rookie of the year saved 17 games in 1980 even though he struck out only 39 batters in 84.2 innings.  howe led the dodgers in 1981 with 8 saves (one-third of their team total) and was on the mound when they closed out the yankees in 6 games in the world series.  he again led the team in 1982, with 13 saves.  he had perhaps his best season in 1983 with 18 saves and a 1.44 era.  that was also the year that his drug problems caught up to him as he checked into rehab.

tom niedenfuer (1984-1985)
niedenfuer had been howe's right-handed complement in the bullpen starting in 1982.  he saved 9 games that year and 11 in 1983.  as 'the guy' in 1984, niedenfuer led the team with 11 saves.  he had 19 to lead the team again in 1985, but like charlie hough, he is better remembered for giving up nlcs game winning home runs to ozzie smith and jack clark.  niedenfuer saved 11 games in 1986, but was no longer the closer per se.

ken howell (1986)
howell saved 12 games to niedenfuer's 11 in 1986, leading the club in that category as well as games pitched (62) and games finished (36).  he had also saved 12 games in 1985.

alejandro pena (1987)
matt young was the dodgers' closer for the first part of the 1987 season, but pena took over in september and recorded saves in 9 of his last 10 appearances that year.  he had 11 total on the season to tie young for the team lead.

jay howell (1988-1991)
the dodgers traded young (and bobby welch) to the a's and received jay howell in return, along with mike davis and alfredo griffin, prior to the 1988 season.  howell saved 21 games for the world champion dodgers his first year in la despite a suspension for some wayward pine tar. he also had one save in the world series that year.  in 1989, howell saved 28 and made the all star team.  he followed that with two seasons of 16 saves before being replaced as closer by roger mcdowell.  the 28 saves that howell posted in 1989 was a dodgers' single season record at the time, breaking the mark of 24 shared by jim brewer (1970) and jim hughes (1954).

to be continued...

29 November 2010

nick willhite, double dipper

this is the fourth installment in a series highlighting those players that have worn dodger blue, left, and then returned to wear the uniform once again. brett butler, omar daal, and eric young are the players previously feted.

nick willhite made his major league debut in dramatic fashion.  the dodger lefty started the second game of a doubleheader against the cubs in june of 1963 and threw a 5-hit shutout.  here he is on his 1964 topps rookie card:
after that debut, willhite made 7 more starts and finished with a 2-3 record.  in 1964, he made 7 starts and 3 relief appearances for the dodgers, and again won 2 games.  after the season ended, willhite's contract was purchased by the washington senators.
interestingly, willhite's companion on that 1964 card, dick nen, would also join him in washington as he was part of the frank howard/claude osteen deal.  anyway, back to our double dipper.  willhite appeared in 5 games for the senators, all in relief.  he had no decisions, just a 7.11 era in 6.1 innings.

then, on may 11, 1965, the dodgers purchased willhite back from washington.  he made 15 appearances for the dodgers, including 6 starts, and won (you guessed it) 2 games.  he didn't appear in the 1965 world series, but was back with the dodgers in 1966.
after that season, willhite was traded to the angels for bob lee.  the angels later sent him to the mets, which is where he pitched his final game in 1967.  those 6 wins (2 each in his first 3 seasons) were the only wins of willhite's career.

willhite had a tough go of it later in his life battling addictions and passed away from cancer a couple of years ago.

here's to you nick willhite, double dipper!

28 November 2010

here are some 2010 goose joak dodgers

there were stories to be told late in the season, but i was down for the count.  here are some goose joak cards i made that are past their expiration dates.

rod barajas, o-pee-chee style
no arbitration for you!

ronald belisario
he looks like i feel about the 2010 season

scott elbert
maybe we'll see more of him next year
aj ellis

dee gordon
the future at shortstop

chin-lung hu
probably needs the proverbial 'change of scenery'

kenley jansen
the new closer?

matt kemp
primed for comeback player of the year

clayton kershaw
primed to be the ace

hiroki kuroda
it's nice that someone wanted to be in la

john lindsey
the feel good story of the season.  while it was a great story, on the field success for the team would have been better.

jon link
you never get a second chance to make a first impression.  luckily for jon, it was his 2nd and 3rd appearances that stunk, not his first.

james loney
not once, but twice
trade bait?  i don't think so.

russ mitchell
2 of mitchell's 6 hits were home runs.

trent oeltjen
not to be outdone, 2 of oeltjen's 5 hits were for extra bases

travis schlichting
went 1-0 on the mound and 0 for 1 at the plate.

27 November 2010

savage love!

in the way of a ted savage through the mail success!
savage spent the last part of the 1968 season with the dodgers.  he was acquired in the deal that sent phil regan and jim hickman to the cubs.  prior to that, savage played in saint louis.  one would have to go all the way back to 1963 to find savage in pittsburgh wearing the uniform he is shown in on his 1969 card.

as a dodger, savage hit .209 with 2 home runs.  he was traded to the reds prior to the 1969 season.

thanks ted!

26 November 2010

giving thanks for through the mail successes, part 2

my ttm cup runneth over.  there are a bunch of successes i've had over the past year that are sitting in my scanned folder.  here are some more to go with yesterday's post.  i'm thankful for them all.

1978 topps vida blue
i was a big vida blue fan for the latter half of his career, although it was mostly because i caught 'billy ball' fever around 1980 and started collecting a's cards from the early 70's and wound up learning a lot about blue.  that and fernando's 1981 season had a lot of people recalling blue's rookie season.  this auto cost me $5. well worth it - thanks vida!

1978 topps ivan dejesus
along with his 1979 topps card
i completely spaced on sending him the only dodger card i know of of his - the 1975 sspc card.  maybe next year.  thanks ivan!
1978 topps richie hebner
hebner obliged my request the second time around.  i love this card.  it is pure 1978 to me.  thanks richie!

1978 topps andy etchebarren
i was a fan of the angels' old haloed state logo.  the fact that etchebarren was only 34 when this photo was taken blows my mind.  it's like the 1976 topps gaylord perry card (he was 36 believe it or not).  thanks andy!

1978 topps tim foli
and a 1980 o-pee-chee tim foli
along with a 1984 donruss tim foli
i really wanted the 1980 card signed, as i think it is one of the most awkward photos you will ever see on a baseball card.  i still haven't looked up the bible quote tim is directing me to.  thanks tim!

1978 topps bobby winkles
gotta love the white hat look.  thanks bobby!

1978 topps jim thome woodie fryman
and a 1979 topps woodie fryman
i remeber fryman best as an expo since he pitched against the dodgers in the 1981 nlcs.  i recall being happy that he gave up a bases loaded single to dusty baker to break open a close game.  thanks woodie!

1978 topps darold knowles
this was the last card i needed to finish my 1978 topps set.  that's one reason why i sent copy to be signed. thanks darold!
1978 topps gene richards
i'm still not sure if he's leaning on a rake or what.  thanks gene!

1978 topps rob picciolo
1984 donruss rob picciolo
picciolo had only 25 career walks and had 34 gidp. that is not good. the things you learn from baseball reference. thanks rob!

1978 topps toby harrah
and 1984 donruss toby harrah
that '78 harrah is one of my faves.  thanks toby!

1978 topps floyd bannister
1979 topps floyd bannister
and a 1984 donruss floyd bannister
bannister was the first overall pick in the 1976 amatuer draft.  thanks floyd!
1978 topps don money
and 2004 upper deck legends don money
i was confused by don money in 1978.  his card listed him as an outfielder/dh yet he started at second base in the all star game.  then i find out he played mostly first base that season.  thanks don!

2004 upper deck legends bert campaneris
campy hit only .179 in the '72 series.  then he hit .373 against the dodgers in the 1974 fall classic.  thanks bert!

2004 upper deck legends bob boone
boone kept the 1978 topps card i also sent him to sign.  thanks bob!

1978 topps joe rudi
2004 upper deck legends joe rudi
rudi hit .333 with a home run against the dodgers in the 1974 world series.  his was one of the many stances i used to mimic in the front yard.  it was easy to do - you just need to slouch a bit.  thanks joe!

1978 topps art howe
and 1979 topps art howe
while indifferent to howe the player, i was never a fan of howe the manager.  that's because he managed the astros in 1991 when the dodgers finished 1 game behind the braves in the nl west.  howe's astros lost 5 of 6 to the braves in the last couple weeks of the season with andujar cedeno booting the ball all over the infield.  thanks art!

1978 topps danny walton
walton was a member of the 1976 dodgers.  he hit .133 in 18 games, all as a pinch hitter.  thanks danny!
1979 topps sal bando
and 2004 upper deck legends sal bando
bando took it easy on the dodgers in the 1974 world series, hitting only .063.  thanks sal!