December 19, 2014

Dodgers Ask Fans to Crown L.A.’s All-Time Relief Pitcher

So the Dodgers have been working to get their “all-time” team together as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations. They’ve got their short list of relief pitchers up for voting as follows (courtesy of the Dodgers Press Release):

* Jim Brewer, who appeared in an L.A. Dodger record 474 games out of the bullpen, pitched in Los Angeles from 1964-75. Brewer also pitched in three different World Series (1965, ’66, ’74) and was named to the NL All-Star Team in 1973. In a Dodger uniform, Brewer was 61-51 with an ERA of 2.62 and 126 saves. Hailing from Broken Arrow, OK, the left-handed screwball specialist recorded six straight seasons with double-digit saves (1968-74).

* Eric Gagné was the most dominating relief pitcher in baseball over three seasons, saving 52, 55 and 45 games in 158 chances (96.2 %) from 2002-04. Gagné won the 2003 National League Cy Young Award with an amazing 1.20 ERA while going a perfect 55-for-55 in save opportunities. Most impressively, his consecutive saves streak of 84 games, which lasted from Aug. 14, 2002 until July 3, 2004, set a Major League record that may not ever be broken. Gagné also spawned a ninth-inning Dodger Stadium phenomenon, as the Dodger faithful couldn’t wait until the first few guitar licks from “Welcome to the Jungle” were played so they could stand up and scream while the Canadian closer charged in from the bullpen to electronic signs that proclaimed “Game Over.” Gagné’s 161 saves as a Dodger are first in franchise history.

* Mike Marshall only pitched in Los Angeles for two-and-a-half seasons, but left an indelible mark on the franchise by winning the 1974 Cy Young Award and leading the Dodgers to the NL pennant that season. Marshall appeared in a Major League record-106 games that season, going 15-12 with a 2.42 ERA and 21 saves. In the postseason, Marshall went on to allow just one run in 12.0 innings (seven games). The Michigan native was an All-Star for the Dodgers in 1974 and ’75, finishing 129 games over those two years.

* Ron Perranoski
was a vital part of four World Series teams in Los Angeles, first as a hard-nosed reliever and then as a pitching coach. Perranoski was the glue for an exceptional Dodger pitching staff in the early and mid 60’s, helping the Dodgers to World Series championships in 1963 and ’65. In 1963, Perranoski finished fourth in the NL MVP voting after going 16-3 with a 1.67 ERA and 21 saves over a league-leading 69 appearances. After coming out of the bullpen in Los Angeles from 1961-67, Perranoski returned to Dodger Stadium, first as a player in 1972 and then as Tommy Lasorda’s pitching coach from 1981-94. In the 14 seasons he was the pitching coach, Perranoski’s teams were first or second in the league in ERA nine times. Overall, the left-hander was 54-41 with a 2.56 ERA and 101 saves for the Dodgers in eight seasons.

* Jeff Shaw has the distinction of being the first player Tommy Lasorda traded for while acting as the General Manager in 1998. Shaw appeared in two All-Star games for Los Angeles (1998, 2001) and saved 129 games in a Dodger uniform from 1998-2001, which ranks him second on the all-time Dodger list, behind Gagné. In his four years as the closer at Dodger Stadium, Shaw finished in the top-10 in saves each season.

* Todd Worrell burst onto the National League scene in 1986 and won the NL Rookie of the Year Award for the Cardinals, so he was already a well-known name by the time he made his way to Los Angeles in 1993. After overcoming injury in ’93 and ’94, Worrell then saved 32, 44, and 35 games over the next three seasons and was the closer on the Dodgers’ 1995 and ’96 playoff teams. His 127 saves set an All-Time Dodger record in 1997, that has since been broken by Shaw and Gagné. The California native and Biola graduate’s best season came in 1996, when he went 4-6 with a 3.03 ERA and a league-leading 44 saves in 72 games. Worrell also finished tied for fifth in the Cy Young voting that season.

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