Phillies Fire Fighter

 

Oh, What a Relief: Jack Baldschun

As baseball entered the 1960s, the National League’s worst team (pre-expansion) was indisputably the Philadelphia Phillies. The National League champs in 1950, the Phillies had fallen to the bottom of the standings by 1958 and stayed there through 1961, spared in 1962 only by the arrival of the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s, as well as the decline of the Chicago Cubs. Continue reading

Chief of Relief

 

Oh, What a Relief: Ed Roebuck

For 11 major league seasons, Ed Roebuck was a stellar relief pitcher for three different teams. In 460 big league appearances, he made only one start (in 1957).

A mainstay in the Dodgers’ bullpen in the early 1960s, Ed Roebuck was 10-2 with nine saves in 1962.

A mainstay in the Dodgers’ bullpen in the early 1960s, Ed Roebuck was 10-2 with nine saves in 1962.

Roebuck was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1949. He spent six years in the Dodgers’ farm system, finding moderate success as a reliever before pitching as a starter and reliever at the AAA level, winning 15 games in 1953 and 18 games in 1954.

When Roebuck was promoted to the Dodgers’ pitching staff in 1955, he began his major league career in relief, going 5-6 with a 4.61 ERA. He appeared in 47 games for the Dodgers, finishing 27 with 12 saves (second in the National League). He pitched in the sixth game of the 1955 World Series, tossing two innings of scoreless, one-hit relief. He was 8-2 with a 2.71 ERA in 1957, and was 0-1 with a 3.48 ERA and five saves in 1958.

In 1959, Roebuck was sent back to the minors, where he pitched exclusively as a starter at St. Paul in the American Association. He went 13-10 with a 2.98 ERA in 28 starts. Then he found himself back on the Dodgers’ roster in 1960, going 8-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 58 appearances … all in relief. He made only five appearances in 1961, but teamed with left-hander Ron Perranoski to form one of the most effective relief tandems in baseball in 1962. As the right-handed half of that pair, Roebuck appeared in 64 games with a 10-2 record and a 3.09 ERA. He finished 22 games and saved nine. Together, Roebuck and Perranoski combined for a 16-8 record with 29 saves.

In 1963, Roebuck opened the season with the Dodgers but was traded at the end of July to the Washington Senators for Marv Breeding. Roebuck was a combined 4-5 with four saves and a 3.69 ERA for 1963.

Ed Roebuck was 5-3 with a 2.21 ERA and 12 saves for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964.

Ed Roebuck was 5-3 with a 2.21 ERA and 12 saves for the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964.

In April of 1964 Roebuck was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies and went 5-3 with a 2.21 ERA and 12 saves for the Phillies. He was 5-3 with three saves in 1965, and appeared in six games in 1966 before being released by Philadelphia. He caught on with San Diego in the Pacific Coast League for a season and a half before retiring as a player after the 1967 season.

Roebuck finished his major league career at 52-31 for a .627 winning percentage. His career ERA was 3.35 with 62 saves.

Top_10_Dodgers_Cover

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

A Fox in the ‘Pen

 

Oh, What a Relief: Terry Fox

Terry Fox came to the Detroit Tigers in 1960 in a multi-player trade that sent Dick Brown, Bill Bruton and Chuck Cottier to Detroit in exchange for Frank Bolling and Neil Chrisley (named later) going to the Milwaukee Braves.

Terry Fox was third in the American League with 16 saves. He was 3-1 that season with a 1.71 ERA.

Terry Fox was third in the American League with 16 saves in 1962. He was 3-1 that season with a 1.71 ERA.

Fox turned out to be the “steal” in the deal. Over the next five seasons, he developed into a consistently effective reliever for the Tigers, a bullpen ace who posted winning records in each of those seasons and led the team in saves four out of those five years.

Fox was acquired by the Braves some time before 1956 and toiled in their farm system for four years before making his major league debut in 1959. He pitched in five games with no decisions and a 4.52 earned run average in his rookie season.

In 1960, his first season in Detroit, Fox went 5-2 in 39 appearances, with a 1.41 ERA and 12 saves. In 1962 he went 3-1 in 44 games, with 16 saves (third in the American League) and a 1.71 ERA.

In 1963, Fox led the Tigers in pitching appearances (46) and saves (11), while his 8-6 record made him fourth on the team in wins. In 1964, he became the “forgotten” man in the Tigers’ bullpen with only 32 appearances as Larry Sherry and Fred Gladding took over as the team’s closers. Fox went 4-3 with a 3.39 ERA and only five saves in 1964. He was 6-4 with a 2.78 ERA in 1965, again leading the team with 10 saves.

After making four appearances at the start of the 1966 season, Fox was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched for one season in Philadelphia, going 3-2 with a 4.47 ERA and four saves.

He retired after the 1966 season with a career record of 29-19 with a 2.99 career ERA. He appeared in 248 games in a 7-year major league career, closing 145 games with 59 saves.

Top_10_Tigers_Cover

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

Keepin’ ‘em Close

 

Oh, What a Relief: Johnny Klippstein

Right-hander Johnny Klippstein pitched for eight different teams in an 18-year major league career.

johnny_klippstein_SENATORSPHOTOS_61

In 18 major league seasons, Johnny Klippstein pitched for eight different teams. He won 101 games and saved 65. In 1960, pitching for the Cleveland Indians, he led the American League with 14 saves.

He was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1944 and drafted, in consecutive years, by the Brooklyn Dodgers and then the Chicago Cubs. He made his major league debut with the Cubs in 1950, going 2-9 with a 5.50 ERA. In five seasons with the Cubs, Klippstein was 31-51 with a 4.79 ERA.

Klippstein was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in 1954 and won 12 games for the Reds in 1956. He was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958. He went 4-0 out of the Dodgers’ bullpen in 1959, and won a World Series game that year, only to be purchased by the Cleveland Indians just before the 1960 season. Klippstein was 5-5 for the Indians in 1960 with a 2.29 ERA. He led the American League in saves with 14.

Following the 1960 season, Klippstein was selected by the Washington Senators in the expansion draft. After a 2-2 season with the Senators, he was traded to the Reds again, and a year later was purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies.

Klippstein’s control and pitching savvy improved with age. At 35, he was 5-6 for the Phillies with a 1.93 ERA and eight saves. He was purchased by the Minnesota Twins after the start of the 1964 season, and had several outstanding seasons working out of the Twins’ bullpen. In 1965, he was 9-3 with five saves and a 2.24 ERA.

He retired after pitching in five games for the Detroit Tigers in 1967, posting a career record of 101-118 and a 4.24 ERA. Klippstein appeared in 711 games.

Top_10_Pitchers_Cover

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

Relief Everywhere

 

Oh, What a Relief: Ron Kline

Ron Kline’s career as a major league pitcher spanned 17 seasons and nine teams. He started his career as a starting pitcher, with mixed results, and experienced his best seasons after the age of 30, when he emerged as one of the American League’s most effective and durable relievers … yet is hardly counted today among the premier relievers of the 1960s despite putting up numbers that say he deserves that kind of accolade.

During the first decade of Ron Kline’s pitching career, he was 68-107 with a 4.14 ERA as a starter and reliever. He moved to the bullpen exclusively with the Washington Senators in 1962, and over the next six seasons he was 45-31 with a 2.52 ERA.

During the first decade of Ron Kline’s pitching career, he was 68-107 with a 4.14 ERA as a starter and reliever. He moved to the bullpen exclusively with the Washington Senators in 1962, and over the next six seasons he was 45-31 with a 2.52 ERA.

Kline was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1950 and made his major league debut in 1952, going 0-7 out of the Pirates’ bullpen that year. He spent the next two years in military service, and returned to the Pirates in 1955, going 6-13 as a starter and reliever. In 1956 he worked out of the Pirates’ starting rotation, making 39 starts and pitching 264 innings on his way to a 14-18 record and a 3.38 ERA. He won nine and 13 games in each of the next two seasons respectively, while losing 16 decisions both years. After an 11-13 season with Pittsburgh in 1959, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for Tom Cheney and Gino Cimoli.

Kline was 4-9 in 1960, his only season with the Cardinals. He was purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1961, and was 8-9 that year, which he finished with the Detroit Tigers. After a 3-6 season with the Tigers in 1962, he was purchased by the Washington Senators.

It would be a career-lifting move for the 31-year-old right-hander, who had been 68-107 to this point as a starter and reliever. For the Senators, he would move to the bullpen and never move out. His numbers as a relief specialist revealed why.

For the Senators in 1963, Kline was 3-8 with a 2.79 ERA. He finished 46 of his 62 appearances and saved 17 games for a team that won only 56 on the season. He followed up in 1964 with a 10-7 season and a 2.32 ERA, appearing in 61 games and finishing 52 of them, with 14 saves.

Ron Kline led the American League with 29 saves in 1965.

Ron Kline led the American League with 29 saves in 1965.

In 1965, Kline led the American League with 29 saves, going 7-6 with a 2.63 ERA. In 1966, he tallied 23 saves with a record of 6-4 and a 2.39 earned run average. In the off-season, Kline was traded by the Senators to the Minnesota Twins for Bernie Allen and Camilo Pascual. He was 7-1 for the Twins in 1967 with a 3.77 ERA, and was traded only one season later to the Pirates for catcher Bob Oliver. Kline was 12-5 for the Pirates in 1968 with a 1.68 ERA.

He spent the 1969 season with three teams: the Pirates, the San Francisco Giants (traded for Joe Gibbon) and the Boston Red Sox. For the season, he was a combined 1-5 in 43 relief appearances. He signed with Atlanta for the 1970 season, but retired after only five appearances with the Braves.

In his prime, from 1963 through 1968, Kline appeared in 370 games (an average of 62 per season) with 45 victories, 95 saves and a combined ERA of 2.52. Kline finished with a career record of 114-144 and a 3.75 ERA.

 

pirates_top_10_cover

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download