Friday, July 19, 2013

#39 Roger McDowell

About the Front: There's nothing behind Roger McDowell but the wild blue yonder of Dodger Stadium. It's a pretty lonely-looking backdrop, considering that it's the middle of a ballgame.

About the Back: It's odd to see Topps digging for Roger's minor league stats in the writeup, considering that he'd been a dependable major league reliever for eight seasons by the start of 1993.

Triple Play:

1. McDowell is credited with three games played in the outfield in his career. On July 22, 1986, Mets skipper Davey Johnson got creative by necessity after Ray Knight and Kevin Mitchell were ejected in extra innings in Cincinnati. He shuttled Roger and lefty Jesse Orosco between the mound and the outfield corners, keeping the pitchers away from each batter's dominant field. The pair combined for four shutout innings, with McDowell getting the win when Orosco walked in the top of the 14th and scored on a Howard Johnson three-run homer. On October 1, 1991, he kept left field warm for one at-bat as John Candelaria struck out Fred McGriff in the ninth inning of a tight game; Roger then returned to the bump and finished off the save. Finally, on October 6, 1991, Tommy Lasorda let McDowell play the final inning of the season in left field; alas, nobody hit the ball to him.

2. Roger was a notorious prankster and showman during his career; I mentioned some of his greatest hits on my Orioles blog a few years back. Don't forget the time he spit on Kramer on Seinfeld.

3. He has been the pitching coach of the Braves since 2006, ably replacing the legendary Leo Mazzone...with the exception of an ugly interaction with a handful of Giants fans in early 2011.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: My first impression of McDowell came from his typically goofy 1993 Upper Deck card. (Source: Night Owl Cards)

Bill James Said: "His ERA for '93 looks good, but what this doesn't tell you is that he gave up 15 un-earned runs, so that altogether he was giving up 4.24 runs per nine innings." That's quite a difference from Roger's 2.25 ERA in 68 innings.

On This Date in 1993: July 19. U. S. President Bill Clinton announces his regrettable "don't ask, don't tell" policy regarding homosexuality in the American military. DADT was finally repealed in 2011.

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