17 March 2005

Dick "The Monster" Radatz Passes Away...

Dick Radatz, one of the more beloved Red Sox of all time, passed away yesterday at 64 due to injuries sustained from a fall in his home.

Radatz ("the Monster") was, in his first three seasons with Boston, one of the most effective and versatile relief pitchers in baseball history. In fact, from 1962-1965, Radatz threw 124 2/3, 132 1/3, 157, 124 1/3 innings a season. His best year, 1964, Radatz threw the 157 innings and struck out 181, a single season record for a relief pitcher (10.38 K/9). His performance during this period was (with the exception of 1965), remarkably effective when compared to the league average- during a pitcher's era, as well.

1962 2.24 184
1963 1.97 191
1964 2.29 168

season, ERA, ERA+

He was so effective, in fact, that Mickey Mantle often referred to him as the toughest pitcher he ever faced, a sentiment he put in writing. Hanging in Radatz's home for years was a picture of the Monster Mantle signed with the epigraph "...the best I ever faced." The claim by Mantle was not unfounded- Radatz rung him up 12 times in 16 at bats, a staggering statistic. "The Monster" was a nickname given Radatz by Mantle. Radatz sported a blazing 95 MPH fastball, in addition to a hard slider that provided him dominance in his years in Boston.

Al Kaline said of Radatz,

"He takes a very slow windup. Then all of a sudden the ball is in on top of you. That windup fools me. I never expect the ball to get to the plate as quickly as it does."

Fellow former Red Sox Bill Lee was one of Radatz's good friends, something that speaks as much to the Monster's personality as anything else. When asked for comment on Radatz, Lee spoke of his often-ignored run as one of the best pitchers in baseball.

"He was a setup man, closer, finisher all in one," said Bill Lee, a former Red Sox pitcher and good friend of Radatz. "He was the best reliever of all time, for a short period of time."

Radatz, one of the more colorful members of the Red Sox "alumnus" club, maintained strong ties to Boston after his retirement (and after being traded from Boston to Cleveland- he later played in Chicago, Montreal, and his hometown of Detroit)- he often appeared on radio talk shows and Red Sox-related television appearances. Radatz was born in 1937 in Detroit, MI.

Dick "The Monster" Radatz, 1937-2005. Read Gabriel Schechter's terrific peace on Radatz from the Baseball Hall of Fame's website.

Gordon Edes on Radatz
Buckley on The Monstah
Red Sox.com article with teammate anecdotes

BS Memorial has decided to sponsor the baseball-reference.com (hands down the best baseball site on the net) page for Gabby Hartnett, the most underrated catcher in baseball history, someone who is always glossed over in the "greatest catchers ever" discussion.

Hartnett, born in Woonsocket, RI, finished his 20 year career (all but one of which played for the Chicago Cubs) with 236 HRs, a .297 avg., .370 OBP and a career 126 OPS+. He appeared in 1,990 games in 20 major league seasons. Hartnett won the MVP in 1935 and his famous "Homer in the Gloamin'"- a shot in the late stages of dusk- helped the Cubs win their fourth pennant with Hartnett on the roster.

Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1955, Hartnett was someone I was really excited to have available for sponsor.

I'm not football fan- I can't fucking stand it, actually- but it's hard not to feel for someone like Tedy Bruschi. A terrific guy, Bruschi is currently awaiting surgery to repair a hole in his heart that may have caused him to suffer a stroke not long after his Super Bowl victory. Sustained just after the game, the stroke came as a true shock for those who knew him as an All Star football player that headed the defense of the recent world champions. Doctors are hoping the surgery will reveal, at least in some part, the genesis of a stroke in such a young, vital person.

He and his family are being understandably tight-lipped about the entire issue, but what's clear is that his playing career is severely in doubt and it couldn't have happened to a nicer guy. Here's hoping he gets well soon.

I'm really thinking about shutting down the comments section around here, for a few reasons-

a) You can just email me- the link is on the sidebar.
b) I'm far too drawn to ridiculous, dragged out arguments with lunatics that follow me all over the net like I'm Michael Douglas and they're Glenn Close. The comments section of my "Que Ondo Guero" post is the equivalent to a rabbit in the boiler. I mean, you wanna debate, come join the discussion at RSN.net- a welcoming place to be sure.
c) This ain't a place for debate. Get your own effin' blog if you want to call me out on stuff.

I'm going to give the comments section one more shot, but given the person involved, I'm betting it has exactly zero chance of working out on a constructive, fun and mature level. If I'm right, I'll just lock 'em down, and you can just email me. The good emails, I'll post here and discuss. But more on that later...

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Wow. Just wow do you have problems
Why dont you say just post POSITIVE comments???

Can you tell us what it was like to see Radatz pitch?
Ohhhhh..... your not old enough to have ever seen him lol

Go Dog Go

Needs new bunting..... This is cheesy

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3/17/2005 1:47 PM  

Shock! I was right! Wayback couldn't handle maturity!

So now, the comments are for registered users only, so wayback will have to at the very least identify himself to comment, and if this space continues south, I'm locking it down permanently.

The bunting stays.

By Blogger BS Memorial, at 3/17/2005 2:23 PM  

Hey wayback, if I wanted to hear from an asshole I'd fart.

By Blogger Mike Rogan, at 3/17/2005 2:58 PM  

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