Skip to comments.Discover one of baseball's forgotten streaks (Rick Langford)
Posted on 05/19/2013 5:29:49 PM PDT by Third Person
On May, 23, 1980, Oakland As pitcher Rick Langford threw a complete game against the Texas Rangers.
The As lost that day, 3-1, as Langford gave up three unearned runs in a 1-hour, 56-minute duel with Hall of Famer Ferguson Jenkins.
Five days later, Langford went the distance again, beating the Royals.
Six days after that, on June 3 he pitched a third straight complete game, this time going 10 innings vs. the Indians.
He then pitched another complete game. And another. And another.
By the end of June, Langfords complete-game streak was eight.
Through July, it was 14 -- including a 14-inning victory.
After five more complete games in August, he was up to 19.
Over the first 12 days of September, Langford went the distance against the Yankees, Orioles and Royals. Langford, who wore No. 22, had thrown 22 consecutive complete games.
Finally, on Sept. 17, in a game at Arlington, Texas, As manager Billy Martin marched to the mound after Langford had pitched 8⅔ innings and signaled for lefty reliever Bob Lacey to come on. Lacey induced a groundout from Buddy Bell to save Langfords 17th victory.
I remember him standing there like it was yesterday, and he came to get me, says Langford, 61, now the rehab pitching coach for the Toronto Blue Jays. He didnt ask me this time, How are you? or You can do it or whatever. His comment was, God bless him, I think its time now. Those were his words. I said, Yes it is.
I handed him the ball and walked off.
Langford's streak was done, but he wasnt.
Langford pitched complete games in his next three starts. Then, with 19 victories and a chance for No. 20...
(Excerpt) Read more at espn.go.com ...
Martin also thought his relievers sucked on that team.
Bob Lacey Saves = 6
Jeff Jones Saves = 5
Lifetime baseball fan here, never heard this story. Thanks for posting.
CG has been dropped as a stat for some time now, I don’t know how long. America has gone the way of the complete game as I see it.
6 innings is now considered a quality start.
I recall when it was shameful to have a team ERA above 4.0.
Bingo. A different time, a different mindset.
Had never heard of this. Pretty damn amazing!!
They had an old-school manager in Martin, a young and talented five-man rotation with pitchers who wanted to finish what they started and a bullpen without a star closer. Those three factors created a staff that threw 94 complete games, the highest total since 1946.
Langford led with 28, but Mike Norris (a 22-game winner) had 24, Matt Keough 20, Steve McCatty 11 and Kingman 10. (In an odd twist, even Lacey -- who led the team with six saves -- threw a complete game in his only start.)
The Finley-Martin era. Never a dull moment.
Matt Keough - what a shame. Hope he has recovered, but he is known in my neighborhood for a string of drunken events, including two driving offenses. They found him hiding in the bushes near my house, after he rear ended someone at a red light, causing the impacted vehicle to hit a pedestrian. Was married to an OC Housewife, FWIW.
Before that it was pretty much expected that a pitcher go the distance.
I can certainly understand why they did go the relief pitcher route, but why did it take so long to think of this?
I know that it was a big deal to get the Rolaids "relief" firehat trophy.
But again, I think 1970s.
Heck now we have one inning specialists. Some guy who comes in, throws 101mph fastballs, then gets yanked the next inning. Still makes a couple of million per year for his efforts, though.
yep, in the 70s. Al Hrabosky, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage were some of them.
If I remember right most of the starting staff never pitched that well again - too many pitches thrown when tired is what kills arms and shoulders. It’s why there are so few CG’s today. Doctors can fix ligament and muscle tears, but they can’t fix a worn out arm.
Ron Washington is doing the same with Yu Darvish.....threw 130 pitches the other night.....he was pitching in the 8th with a 5-run lead.
If he breaks down come September, Wash has some ‘splainin’ to do.
Never understood why he didn't like it.
"In 1983, analyst Bill James wrote that Martins "Billy Ball" era in Oakland was actually Billy Burnout, and that his methods led to the downfall of all five As starters."
I read an article a couple of years ago in which the author suggested that the “closer” in modern baseball is used entirely incorrectly. This guy’s point was that bringing in your best short reliever to pitch the last inning of a game where your team has a lead is a waste of his talent. That pitcher would be better suited to close out a late (7th or 8th) inning with runners on base in scoring position, rather than coming in to start an inning with nobody on base.
Nowadays, a "two-inning save" is a rarity in baseball -- and closers rarely get a victory unless they're brought into a tie game in extra innings.
The Cardinals of the 80’s with I believe Tony LaRussa and the manager went to a bullpen by committee.
“Sparky” was the main man, or closer, in 1977, for The Yankees. He was so good, he won the Cy Young Award, a rare feat for a bullpen pitcher, in those days.
During the off season, The Yanks signed “Goose” Gossage, and Sparky was relegated to the role of second fiddle. in ‘78.
Graig Nettles (3b NYY) is supposed to have commented “Sparky, Cy Young, to syonara”.
That may explain his feelings ;) Thanks.