Monday, February 3, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #100 DENNIS ECKERSLEY


A REAL GUNSLINGER OUT OF THE WEST.




ECK WAS A HECK OF A COMPETITOR.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • Dennis Eckersley displayed impeccable control and exuded super cool during his 24-year career as a starter and closer, but he also had a way with words that was ahead of his time. Eck was the first to win 20 games in one season and save 50 in another and the first to call fastballs "cheese,'' strikeouts "punchouts'' and slow stuff "salad.'' He also became the third closer to win the Cy Young and MVP in the same season and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004 after winning 157 games and saving 390.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • With the Indians on May 30, 1977, Eckersley no-hit the Angels 1-0. Other than walking the third batter of the game, Tony Solaita, Eckersely was perfect. His mound opponent was just about up to the task, too. Frank Tanana allowed the run on five hits and struck out six. The game was completed in a crisp 2 hours and 2 minutes.

DEFINING SEASON

  • In '92, Eckersley led the majors in saves with 51, won seven games and had a 1.91 ERA. He was nearly automatic with a 94 percent success rate. He finished ahead of #94 Joe Carter and #112 Kirby Puckett in the MVP voting. He also won the AL Cy Young Award, joining closers Rollie Fingers ('81) and Willie Hernandez ('84) in that exclusive club.

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Eckersley is also credited with coining "walk-off'' but that's not entirely accurate. His use of walk-off is for when a pitcher on the road loses a game in the last inning, "a walk-off piece.''
  2. Of course, Eck is known for giving up one of the ultimate "walk-off pieces'' in history: Kirk Gibson's ninth-inning two-run homer that gave the Dodgers a 4-3 victory in Game 1 of the '88 World Series. While he couldn't rescue Oakland in the series, he did put it behind him to build a Hall of Fame career.
  3. As a starter, Eckersley had a 3.59 ERA from '75-'87 before being converted to a reliever by Athletics Manager Tony LaRussa and pitching coach Dave Duncan.
  4. Taking over for the injured Jay Howell in '87, Eckersley saved 16 games. He had a new role.
  5. Perhaps his greatest season was '90 when he saved 41 games, allowed only five earned runs in 73.1 innings and surrendered only four walks.




MY ONE AND ONLY FINEST BOX-TOPPER.

2 comments:

  1. This guy's look is amazing. That combined with that intense glare he would have while throwing a pitch has made for some awesome card photography.

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  2. Great post! Loved watching Eck back in the day.

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