Dennis Eckersley

Dennis Lee Eckersley (born October 3, 1954), nicknamed "Eck", is an American former professional baseball pitcher. Between 1975 and 1998, he pitched in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, Oakland Athletics, and St. Louis Cardinals. Eckersley had success as a starter, but gained his greatest fame as a closer, becoming the first of two pitchers in MLB history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career. He is the pitcher who gave up a dramatic walk-off home run (a phrase Eckersley coined) to the injured Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.

Eckersley was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility. He works with New England Sports Network (NESN) as a part-time color commentator for Red Sox broadcasts, and is also a game analyst for Turner Sports for their Sunday MLB Games and MLB Post Season coverage on TBS.

Dennis Eckersley
Dennis Eckersley 2008 (crop)
Eckersley at the 2008 All-Star Game Red Carpet Parade
Pitcher
Born: October 3, 1954 (age 64)
Oakland, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 12, 1975, for the Cleveland Indians
Last MLB appearance
September 26, 1998, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Win–loss record197–171
Earned run average3.50
Strikeouts2,401
Saves390
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction2004
Vote83.2% (first ballot)

Early life

Eckersley grew up in Fremont, California, rooting for both the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics. Two of his boyhood heroes were the Giants' Willie Mays and Juan Marichal, and he later adopted Marichal's high leg kick pitching delivery.[1] He was a quarterback at Washington High School in Fremont, California until his senior year, when he gave up football to protect his throwing arm from injury.[2] He won 29 games as a pitcher at Washington, throwing a 90 miles per hour (140 km/h) fastball and a screwball.[3]

Baseball career

Cleveland Indians (1975-1977)

The Cleveland Indians selected Eckersley in the third round of the 1972 MLB draft; he was disappointed that he was not drafted by the Giants. He made his MLB debut on April 12, 1975. He was the American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 1975, compiling a 13–7 win-loss record and 2.60 Earned run average (ERA). His unstyled, long hair, moustache, and live fastball made him an instant and identifiable fan favorite. Eckersley pitched reliably over three seasons with the Indians.

On May 30, 1977, Eckersley no-hit the California Angels 1-0 at Cleveland Stadium. He struck out 12 batters and only allowed two to reach base, Tony Solaita on a walk in the first inning and Bobby Bonds on a third strike that was a wild pitch.[4] He earned his first All-Star Game selection that year and finished the season with a 14-13 win-loss record.[5]

Boston Red Sox (1978-1984)

The Indians traded Eckersley and Fred Kendall to the Boston Red Sox for Rick Wise, Mike Paxton, Bo Díaz, and Ted Cox on March 30, 1978. Over the next two seasons, Eckersley won a career-high 20 games in 1978 and 17 games in 1979, with a 2.99 ERA in each year.[5] However, during the remainder of his tenure with Boston, from 1980 to 1984, Eckersley pitched poorly. His fastball had lost some steam, as demonstrated by his 43–48 record with Boston. He later developed a great slider.

Chicago Cubs (1984-1986)

On May 25, 1984, the Red Sox traded Eckersley with Mike Brumley to the Chicago Cubs for Bill Buckner, one of several mid-season deals that helped the Cubs to their first postseason appearance since 1945. Eckersley gave up 5 runs in 5.1 innings, taking the loss, in his sole start for the Cubs in their NL Championship Series with the San Diego Padres.[6]

Eckersley remained with the Cubs in 1985, when he posted an 11–7 record with two shutouts (the last two of his career). Eckersley's performance deteriorated in 1986, when he posted a 6–11 record with a 4.57 ERA. After the season, he checked himself into a rehabilitation clinic to treat alcoholism.[7] Eckersley noted in Pluto's book that he realized the problem he had after family members videotaped him while drunk and played the tape back for him the next day. During his Hall of Fame speech he recalled that time in his life, saying "I was spiraling out of control personally. I knew I had come to a crossroads in my life. With the grace of God, I got sober and I saved my life."[8]

Oakland Athletics (1987-1995)

Eckersley was traded again on April 3, 1987 to the Oakland Athletics, where manager Tony La Russa intended to use him as a set-up pitcher or long reliever. Indeed, Eckersley started two games with the A's before an injury to then-closer Jay Howell opened the door for Eckersley to move into the closer's role. He saved 16 games in 1987 and then established himself as a dominant closer in 1988 by recording a league-leading 45 saves. Eckersley recorded 4 saves against the Red Sox in the regular season, He dominated once more by recording saves in all four games as the A's swept the Red Sox in the 1988 ALCS. (which was matched by Greg Holland in the 2014 ALCS), but he found himself on the wrong end of Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run (Eckersley himself first coined the phrase "walk-off home run" to describe that moment) as the A's lost to the Dodgers in 5 games.

In the 1989 World Series he secured the victory in Game Two, and then earned the save in the final game of the Series, as the A's swept the San Francisco Giants in four games.

Eckersley was the most dominant closer in the game from 1988 to 1992, finishing first in the A.L. in saves twice, second two other times, and third once. He saved 220 games during the five years and never posted an ERA higher than 2.96. He gave up five earned runs in the entire 1990 season, resulting in a microscopic 0.61 ERA. Eckersley's control, which had always been above average even when he was not otherwise pitching well, became his trademark; he walked only three batters in 57.2 innings in 1989, four batters in 73.1 innings in 1990, and nine batters in 76 innings in 1991. In his 1990 season, Eckersley became the first relief pitcher in baseball history to have more saves than baserunners allowed (48 SV, 41 H, 4 BB, 0 HBP). In a statistical anomaly, he had exactly the same WHIP and ERA: both were 0.614.

He was the American League's Cy Young Award winner and the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1992, a season in which he posted 51 saves. Only two relievers had previously accomplished the double feat: Rollie Fingers in 1981 and Willie Hernández in 1984. Since Eckersley, one other reliever, Éric Gagné, has won Cy Young honors (Gagné won the National League award in 2003 with the Los Angeles Dodgers). In the 1992 American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays, during Game 4 in what some considered the turning point in the series that the Jays won, Eckersley gave up a game-tying 2-run home run from Roberto Alomar and his team eventually lost 7-6 in 11 innings.

Eckersley's numbers slipped noticeably following 1992: although he still was among the league leaders in saves, his ERA climbed sharply, and his number of saves never climbed above 36.

After the 1994 season, the Athletics elected not to exercise a $4,000,000 option on Eckersley, making him a free agent. The team indicated that it would be interested in signing him at a lower salary.[9] Oakland signed him to a one-year contract in early April 1995. His contract was the first MLB deal after a three-month signing ban resulting from a labor dispute between owners and the players union.[10]

St. Louis Cardinals (1996-1997)

When La Russa left the Athletics after the 1995 season to become the St. Louis Cardinals' new manager, he arranged to bring Eckersley along with him. Eckersley continued in his role as closer and remained one of the league's best, with 66 saves in two seasons in St. Louis.[11]

Boston Red Sox II (1998)

Following the 1997 season, he signed on with the Red Sox for one final season, serving as a set-up man for Tom Gordon, as Boston qualified for the AL playoffs.[12]

Eckersley announced his retirement in December 1998. He commented on his career, saying, "I had a good run. I had some magic that was with me for a long time, so I know that I was real lucky to not have my arm fall off for one thing, and to make it this long physically is tough enough. But to me it's like you're being rescued too when your career's over. It's like, 'Whew, the pressure's off."[13]

Career statistics

W L PCT ERA G GS CG SHO SV IP H ER R HR BB SO WP HBP
197 171 .535 3.50 1071 361 100 20 390 3285.2 3076 1382 1278 347 738 2401 75 28

He retired with a career 197–171 win-loss record, a 3.50 ERA and 390 saves. Eckersley's career saves total ranks seventh on the all-time list as of early 2017.[14] Eckersley had appeared in more games (1,071) than any pitcher in MLB history, though he ranks fifth all-time as of early 2017.[15][16]

Pitching style

Eckersley's unusual delivery utilized a high leg kick along with a long, pronounced sidearm throwing motion. He had pinpoint accuracy, and fellow Hall of Famer Goose Gossage said of him, "He could hit a gnat in the butt with a pitch if he wanted to."[17] He was aggressive and animated on the mound, and he was known for his intimidating stare and pumping his fist after a strikeout. As a starter he was able to throw four pitches for strikes, but as a reliever he narrowed his repertoire to two pitches; a sinker and a backdoor slider.[18]

Post-playing career

OaklandRetired43
Dennis Eckersley's number 43 was retired by the Oakland Athletics in 2005.

In 1999, he ranked Number 98 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players.[19] He was named to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.[20] On January 6, 2004, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, with 83.2% of the votes.[21] On August 13, 2005, Eckersley's uniform number (43) was officially retired by the Oakland Athletics.[22] The baseball field at his alma mater, Washington High School, has been named in his honor.[23]

In 2017, Eckersley rejoined the Athletics as the special assistant to Dave Kaval, the team's president.[24]

Broadcasting

Eckersley has worked both as a studio analyst and color commentator for the Boston Red Sox on NESN since 2003. "Eck" is known for his easy going manner and his own baseball vernacular which has caused members of Red Sox Nation to attempt to keep up with "The Ecktionary", a defining list of his on air sayings.

In the spring of 2009, when regular NESN commentator Jerry Remy took time off for health reasons, Eckersley filled in for him, providing color commentary alongside play-by-play announcer Don Orsillo.[25] Since then, Eckersley has been the primary substitute for Remy when he is unavailable, including filling in for the final two months of the 2013 season, when Remy took extended time off due to the murder indictment of his son, Jared. Eckersley has continued to work with Orsillo's successor, Dave O'Brien, for various Red Sox games in 2016, 2017, and 2018 as Remy has decreased his on-air schedule, mostly due to health reasons.

He has also worked with TBS as a studio analyst from 2008 to 2012. In 2013 Eckersley moved to the booth with TBS, calling Sunday games for the network and also providing postseason analysis from the booth. In the 2017 postseason, he worked with Brian Anderson, Joe Simpson and Lauren Shehadi.[26][27]

Personal life

Eckersley married his first wife Denise in 1973 and they had a daughter, Mandee Eckersley. Denise left him for Rick Manning, his then-Cleveland Indians teammate, in 1978; the affair precipitated Eckersley's trade to the Red Sox that year.[28] Two years later, Eckersley married model Nancy O'Neil.[7] They had two children together, a daughter Allie and a son Jake Eckersley. They divorced shortly after his retirement from baseball.[29] His third wife, Jennifer, is a former lobbyist and manages Eckersley's business and charitable affairs.[30]


An MLB Network documentary about Eckersley, titled "Eck: A Story of Saving", premiered on December 13, 2018.[31]

See also

References

  1. ^ "Eck's long haul to fame". San Francisco Chronicle. July 11, 2004. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  2. ^ Jim Ison. Mormons in the Major Leagues. p.37
  3. ^ "This Series has loads of hometown heroes". Star-News. October 16, 1989. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  4. ^ "Eckersley: No-hitter". St. Petersburg Times. May 31, 1977. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  5. ^ a b "Dennis Eckersley Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  6. ^ "1984 National League Championship Series (NLCS) Game 3, Chicago Cubs at San Diego Padres, October 4, 1984". Baseball-Reference.com.
  7. ^ a b Gammons, Peter (December 12, 1988). "One Eck of a Guy". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved September 22, 2018.
  8. ^ Kekis, John (July 26, 2004). "Eckersley gives stirring speech as he and Molitor enter Hall". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Archived from the original on September 23, 2018. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  9. ^ "Eckersley a free agent, but A's want him back". Los Angeles Times. October 21, 1994. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  10. ^ "Eckersley re-signs to break the ice". Los Angeles Times. April 4, 1995. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  11. ^ "Dennis Eckersley Stats". Baseball-Reference.com.
  12. ^ "1998 Boston Red Sox Statistics". Baseball-Reference.com.
  13. ^ "Pitcher Dennis Eckersley retires after a 24-year career". Rome News-Tribune. December 11, 1998. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  14. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Saves". Baseball-Reference.com.
  15. ^ "Career Leaders & Records for Games Played". Baseball-Reference.com.
  16. ^ Verducci, Tom, Kennedy, Kostya (December 21, 1998). "Eckstraordinary". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  17. ^ Smith, Claire (May 19, 1992). "ON BASEBALL; Eckersley First Rate In His Second Career". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  18. ^ Falkner, David (October 12, 1989). "On Field or Off, Eckersley Battles". The New York Times. Retrieved October 4, 2016.
  19. ^ "Baseball's 100 Greatest Players by The Sporting News (1998)". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  20. ^ "The All-Century Team". MLB.com. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  21. ^ Blum, Ronald (January 7, 2004). "Molitor, Eckersley each elected to Hall of Fame on first ballot". Peninsula Clarion. Archived from the original on September 21, 2013. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  22. ^ Bowles, C. J. "Forever No. 43". MLB.com. Archived from the original on 2013-09-21. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  23. ^ Leatherman, Gary (September 5, 2006). "Dennis Eckersley Field dedication set for Friday at WHS". Tri-City Voice. Retrieved September 20, 2013.
  24. ^ "Dennis Eckersley returns to A's in a Special way". 31 March 2017.
  25. ^ Eckersley to fill in for Remy Archived 2009-05-07 at the Wayback Machine NESN.com, May 4, 2009
  26. ^ "Dennis Eckersley". 15 August 2016.
  27. ^ "Brian Anderson will call the NLCS on TBS due to Ernie Johnson's NBA commitments". 2 October 2017.
  28. ^ The Curse of Rocky Colavito: A Loving Look at a Thirty-Year Slump, Terry Pluto, p.167–169, Gray & Company, ISBN 978-1-59851-035-5
  29. ^ Doyle, Paul (July 25, 2004). "A closer who needed a save". Hartford Courant. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  30. ^ "Alumni Profiles: Jennifer Eckersley '93". Heidelberg University. Archived from the original on September 19, 2016. Retrieved August 17, 2016.
  31. ^ Finn, Chad (November 29, 2018). "MLB Network to premiere Dennis Eckersley documentary". The Boston Globe. Retrieved November 29, 2018.

Further reading

External links

Preceded by
Jim Colborn
No-hitter pitcher
May 30, 1977
Succeeded by
Bert Blyleven
1982 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1982 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the 53rd midseason exhibition between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and the National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was played on July 13, 1982, at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, home of the Montreal Expos of the National League. The game resulted in a 4–1 victory for the NL, and Cincinnati Reds shortstop Dave Concepción was named the MVP.

It is notable for being the first All-Star Game ever played outside the United States. This would be the only All-Star Game to be played in Montréal, as the Expos would leave in 2005 to become the Washington Nationals before having an opportunity to host another. Four members of the Expos were voted into the starting lineup. The flyover at the conclusion of the National Anthems was done for the first time by a national air squadron other than those from the United States Air Force or Air National Guard as the Snowbirds from the Canadian Forces Air Command flew over Olympic Stadium, marking the first of their two All-Star appearances; they would perform the flyover for the 1991 Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Toronto nine years later. It is also the last All-Star Game in which the manager of the runner-up for any league pennant managed in place of the manager of the defending league champions due to the latter's unemployment; Billy Martin of the Oakland Athletics managed in place of Bob Lemon, who had been fired by the New York Yankees, Martin's former team.

1988 American League Championship Series

The 1988 American League Championship Series was a best-of-seven series that pitted the East Division champion Boston Red Sox against the West Division champion Oakland Athletics. It was the second meeting between the two in ALCS play. The Athletics swept the Series four games to none and would go on to lose to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1988 World Series.

1988 Major League Baseball season

The 1988 Major League Baseball season ended with the underdog Los Angeles Dodgers shocking the Oakland Athletics, who had won 104 games during the regular season, in the World Series. The most memorable moment of the series came in Game 1, when injured Dodger Kirk Gibson hit a dramatic pinch-hit walk-off home run off Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley to win the game for Los Angeles. The Dodgers went on to win the Series in five games.

1988 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1988 season involved the A's winning their first American League West title since 1981, with a record of 104 wins and 58 losses. In 1988, the elephant was restored as the symbol of the Athletics and currently adorns the left sleeve of home and road uniforms. The elephant was retired as team mascot in 1963 by then-owner Charles O. Finley in favor of a Missouri mule. The A's defeated the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS, but lost the World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games, including a dramatic, classic walk-off home run by the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson in game one.

1988 was the first of 3 straight years the A's would represent the AL in the World Series.

1988 World Series

The 1988 World Series was the 85th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1988 Major League Baseball season. It was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Oakland Athletics and the National League (NL) champion Los Angeles Dodgers, with the Dodgers upsetting the heavily favored Athletics to win the Series in five games. It is best known for the pinch-hit walk-off home run hit by Dodgers outfielder and 1988 NL MVP Kirk Gibson, who could barely walk due to injuries suffered during the NLCS, against Hall-of-Fame Athletics closer Dennis Eckersley in Game 1. The Dodgers were the only MLB team to win more than one World Series title in the 1980s; their other World Series title during the decade came in 1981 (they also broke a 10-year chain of 10 different World Series champions going back to 1978).Although Gibson's home run has become an iconic World Series moment, it was series MVP Orel Hershiser who capped a dominant 1988 season in which he set the all time scoreless inning streak at 59 innings, recorded five straight shutouts, led the league with 23 wins and 267 innings, and won the Cy Young and Gold Glove awards. Hershiser was the MVP of the NLCS, starting three games, getting the save for Game 4, and shutting out the Mets in Game 7. In the World Series, he shut out the A's in Game 2, and pitched a two-run, complete game in the decisive Game 5 victory.

The Los Angeles Dodgers won the National League West division by seven games over the Cincinnati Reds then upset the New York Mets, four games to three, in the 1988 NLCS. The Oakland Athletics won the American League West division by thirteen games over the Minnesota Twins then swept the Boston Red Sox, four games to none, in the American League Championship Series.

1989 American League Championship Series

The 1989 American League Championship Series was played between the Oakland Athletics and the Toronto Blue Jays from October 3 to 8. A dominant Oakland team took the Series four games to one, en route to a sweep of their cross-bay rivals, the San Francisco Giants, in a World Series marred by the destructive Loma Prieta earthquake.

1990 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1990 season was their 23rd in Oakland, California. It was also the 90th season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 103-59.

The Athletics' 1990 campaign ranks among the organization's finest. Oakland, in winning 103 games, led the league outright in wins for a third consecutive season; they remained the last major North American team to accomplish this until 2017, when the feat was matched by the nearby Golden State Warriors of the NBA. The Athletics benefited from stellar performances in all areas of the game. The team's offense was led by eventual Hall-of-Famer Rickey Henderson. Henderson finished the season with 65 stolen bases, 28 home runs, and a .325 batting average; for his efforts, he took home the 1990 American League MVP Award. The Athletics also benefited from strong performances by superstars Mark McGwire and Jose Canseco. The pair clubbed 39 and 37 home runs, respectively; in doing so, they drove in a combined total of 209 runs. Over the course of the season, the team added to an already strong offense; the additions of recent All-Stars Willie Randolph, Willie McGee, and Harold Baines further widened the gap between the Athletics and the rest of the league. Established veterans (such as Carney Lansford, Terry Steinbach, Dave Henderson, and Mike Gallego) and promising young players (mainly Walt Weiss and Mike Bordick) rounded out arguably the deepest roster in all of Major League Baseball. Eight of the Athletics' nine main postseason starters (R. Henderson, McGwire, Canseco, McGee, Steinbach, Randolph, Baines, and Lansford) played in at least one All-Star Game between 1988 and 1990.

The Athletics pitching staff, in many regards, had an even stronger campaign. The starting rotation was led by veteran Bob Welch. Welch would finish the season with both an MLB-leading 27 wins and a 2.95 ERA; this performance was strong enough to net the 1990 Cy Young Award. Welch, as of 2014, remains the last MLB pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season. Fellow starter Dave Stewart, winner of 22 games, finished in a tie (with Pittsburgh starter Doug Drabek) for the second-most wins in MLB. 1989 All-Star Mike Moore, 1991 All-Star Scott Sanderson, and longtime Athletic Curt Young rounded out the American League's top rotation. The Athletics' bullpen was led by superstar closer Dennis Eckersley, who posted a microscopic 0.61 ERA while recording 48 saves. As a team, the Athletics allowed only 570 runs (the fewest in the American League by a wide margin).

The Athletics easily won the American League West for a third consecutive season. They swept the Boston Red Sox, four games to none, in that year's American League Championship Series; in doing so, they won a third consecutive American League pennant. The Athletics entered the 1990 World Series as heavy favorites. Despite this, however, they were themselves swept by the Cincinnati Reds. The Athletics have not reached the World Series since.

1992 Major League Baseball season

The 1992 Major League Baseball season saw the Toronto Blue Jays defeat the Atlanta Braves in the World Series, becoming the first team outside the United States to win the World Series.

Also a resurgence in pitching dominance occur during this season. On average, one out of every seven games pitched that season was a shutout; in 2,106 MLB regular-season games, 298 shutouts were pitched (up from 272 in 2,104 regular-season games in 1991). Two teams pitched at least 20 shutouts each; the Atlanta Braves led the Majors with 24 and the Pittsburgh Pirates finished second with 20. In the National League, no team hit more than 138 home runs and no team scored 700 runs. The San Francisco Giants were shut out 18 times, the most in the Majors. The effect was similar in the American League. In 1991, two AL teams had scored at least 800 runs and three had collected 1,500 hits. In 1992, no team scored 800 runs and only one reached 1,500 hits. The California Angels were shut out 15 times, the most in the AL.

1992 Oakland Athletics season

The Oakland Athletics' 1992 season was the team's 25th in Oakland, California. It was also the 92nd season in franchise history. The team finished first in the American League West with a record of 96-66.

The Athletics entered the 1992 season with high hopes. The team, in particular, hoped to see its pitching staff rebound from a dreadful 1991 performance; the Athletics' team earned run average (ERA) had ballooned from 3.18 in 1990 (1st of 14 AL teams) to 4.57 in 1991 (13th of 14 AL teams). The Athletics also hoped to continue their success on offense; in 1991, the team had scored a respectable 760 runs (the fifth-highest total in the AL). The offense, as always, was centered on superstars Mark McGwire, José Canseco, and Rickey Henderson.

The Athletics' hopes were largely answered. The team's pitching staff finished the season with an ERA of 3.73; this was the fourth-best average in the American League. Starter Dave Stewart, after an abysmal 1991 campaign, lowered his ERA to a respectable 3.66; his resurgence was mirrored by Bob Welch, who returned to near-ace status with a 3.27 ERA. The offense performed similarly well. Mark McGwire, following an awful 1991 campaign (in which he batted just .206 with 22 home runs), posted a .268 average in 1992 (while knocking in 42 homers). Rickey Henderson stole 48 bases, Mike Bordick hit exactly .300, and José Canseco slugged another 22 home runs. Canseco was famously traded to the Texas Rangers, mid-game, on August 31; the Athletics received outfielder Rubén Sierra, reliever Jeff Russell, and starter Bobby Witt. The Athletics again scored the fourth-most runs in the American League in 1992.

The bulk of the Athletics' 1992 accolades, however, went to closer Dennis Eckersley. Eckersley saved an MLB-leading 51 games over the course of the season; in the process, he posted a 7-1 record with a 1.91 ERA. Eckersley's efforts netted him both the 1992 AL Cy Young Award and the 1992 AL MVP Award. Eckersley remains the last reliever (and remained, until 2011, the last pitcher of any kind) to be named MVP in either league.

The Athletics finished the 1992 season six games ahead of the second place (defending champion) Minnesota Twins. The division championship was their fourth in five years. In the ALCS, the A's faced a strong Toronto Blue Jays side. The first three games of the series were decided by two runs or fewer; at the end of the Game 3, Oakland trailed Toronto 2 games to 1. In Game 4, Oakland led the Jays 6-1 after seven innings; a furious Toronto rally, however, resulted in a 7-6 Toronto victory (and a 3-1 Blue Jays series lead). The Athletics never recovered from the collapse, and ultimately succumbed to the favored Jays in six games.

The 1992 season signaled the end of an era in Oakland. The team would miss the postseason in each of the next seven seasons; by the time of the Athletics' next division title (2000), no members of the 1992 team remained in Oakland.

300 save club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 300 save club is the group of pitchers who have recorded 300 or more regular-season saves in their careers. Most commonly a relief pitcher ("reliever" or "closer") earns a save by being the final pitcher of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and pitching at least one inning without losing the lead. The final pitcher of a game can earn a save by getting at least one batter out to end the game with the winning run on base, at bat, or on deck, or by pitching the last three innings without relinquishing the lead, regardless of score.

The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official statistic by MLB in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for past pitchers where applicable. Hoyt Wilhelm retired in 1972 and recorded just 31 saves from 1969 onwards, for example, but holds 227 total career saves.Mariano Rivera holds the MLB save record with 652. Only Rivera and Trevor Hoffman have exceeded 500 or 600 saves, and Hoffman was the first to achieve either. Rivera, Hoffman, Lee Smith, Francisco Rodríguez, John Franco, and Billy Wagner are the only pitchers to have recorded 400 or more saves. Rollie Fingers was the first player to record 300 saves, reaching the mark on April 21, 1982. Craig Kimbrel is the most recent, achieving his 300th on May 5, 2018. In total, 29 players have recorded 300 or more saves in their career. Only eight relievers – Dennis Eckersley, Fingers, Goose Gossage, Hoffman, Rivera, Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Wilhelm – have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; all but Wilhelm are also members of the 300 saves club. Kimbrel and Fernando Rodney are the only members of the 300 save club who are still active players. Of them, Kimbrel is the active leader in saves with 333.

Closer (baseball)

In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer (abbreviated CL), is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were referred to as a fireman, short reliever, and stopper. A small number of closers have won the Cy Young Award. Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm are closers who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Dick Tidrow

Richard William Tidrow (born May 14, 1947) is a former Major League Baseball player for the Cleveland Indians, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, and New York Mets from 1972 to 1984. He was primarily known as a setup man, or pitcher before the closer; however, on occasion he would also start games. His best seasons were with the Yankees when he helped the team to two World Series championships in 1977 and 1978, beating the Los Angeles Dodgers twice in a row. He was traded the following season to the Cubs for Ray Burris.

He acquired his nickname, "Dirt", while playing for the Yankees, for his somewhat unkempt appearance and his tendency to get his uniform shirt dirty even before the start of a game. His high kick and sidearm delivery anticipated the style of Dennis Eckersley.

Tidrow joined the San Francisco Giants in 1994, serving two years as Major League scout for the American League before becoming Special Assistant to the General Manager in 1996. Since being promoted to Director of Player Personnel in 1997, he, along with general manager Brian Sabean, was in charge of building a ballclub which appeared in four World Series, including three Championships (2010, 2012 and 2014) within a span of five seasons. He oversaw a farm system that produced Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Madison Bumgarner, Sergio Romo, Pablo Sandoval and Buster Posey. Tidrow's current title is Senior Vice President of Player Personnel.

Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run

Kirk Gibson's 1988 World Series home run occurred in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, on October 15, 1988, at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. Gibson, pinch hitting for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning, with injuries to both legs, hit a two-run walk-off home run off the Oakland Athletics' Dennis Eckersley that won Game 1 for the Dodgers by a score of 5–4.

After winning the National League West division, the Dodgers were considered the underdogs throughout the 1988 postseason, first to the New York Mets in the NLCS, then to the A's in the World Series. Gibson, who was not expected to play due to injuries in both legs sustained during the NLCS, was surprisingly inserted as a pinch hitter with the Dodgers trailing 4–3 with two outs and the tying run at first base in the bottom of the ninth inning. Gibson's home run—his only plate appearance of the series—helped the Dodgers defeat the A's, 4 games to 1, securing their sixth World Series title.

The play has since become legendary in the baseball world, and is regarded as one of the greatest home runs of all time. It was voted the "greatest moment in L.A. sports history" in a 1995 poll. Many of the images associated with the home run, particularly Gibson pumping his fist while circling the bases, are often shown in classic highlight reels, usually accompanied by Vin Scully or Jack Buck's call. Though not related to his World Series home run, Gibson would be named the 1988 NL MVP. He was named to two All-Star teams (1985 in the AL, and 1988 in the NL), but declined both invitations.

List of Boston Red Sox Opening Day starting pitchers

The Boston Red Sox are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Boston, Massachusetts. They have played in the American League since it was founded in 1901, and the American League East since divisions were introduced in 1969. The first game of each baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, for which being named the starting pitcher is an honor. That honor is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, although there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.

Oakland Athletics

The Oakland Athletics, often referred to as the A's, are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division. The team plays its home games at the RingCentral Coliseum. They have won nine World Series championships, tied for the third-most of all current MLB teams. The 2017 season was the club's 50th while based in Oakland.

One of the American League's eight charter franchises, the team was founded in Philadelphia in 1901 as the Philadelphia Athletics. They won three World Series championships from 1910 to 1913 and back-to-back titles in 1929 and 1930. The team's owner and manager for its first 50 years was Connie Mack and Hall of Fame players included Chief Bender, Frank "Home Run" Baker, Jimmie Foxx, and Lefty Grove. The team left Philadelphia for Kansas City in 1955 and became the Kansas City Athletics before moving to Oakland in 1968. They won three consecutive World Championships between 1972 and 1974, led by players including Vida Blue, Catfish Hunter, Reggie Jackson, ace reliever Rollie Fingers, and colorful owner Charlie O. Finley. After being sold by Finley to Walter A. Haas Jr., the team won three consecutive pennants and the 1989 World Series behind the "Bash Brothers", Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, as well as Hall of Famers Dennis Eckersley, Rickey Henderson and manager Tony La Russa.

From 1901 to 2018, the Athletics' overall win–loss record is 8,931–9,387 (.488).

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