Tuesday, February 03, 2009

#295 Dick Radatz

Dick Radatz by you.
It's not hard to see why Dick Radatz was dubbed "the Monster" by Mickey Mantle. He looks every bit of his listed 6'5" and 235 pounds in this photo, and I'd probably be ducking out of the batters' box before he was into his windup! There's a reason that I was a sub-Mendoza hitter in Little League.

Fun Facts about Dick Radatz:

-Played basketball and baseball at Michigan State University. One of his teammates on the diamond was fellow future relief ace Ron Perranoski.

-A great quote from sportswriter Jim Murray sums him up well: "Dick Radatz brings one weapon - a fastball. It's like saying all a country brings to war is an atom bomb."

-Won the Fireman of the Year award as a rookie with the 1962 Red Sox on the strength of a 9-6, 24-save, 2.24 ERA performance.

-Became the first pitcher in major league history to save 20 games in back-to-back seasons with an even more impressive 1963 campaign (15-6, 25 SV, 1.97 ERA). Finished fifth in MVP voting while playing for a seventh-place Boston club.

-Turned heads with five strikeouts in two innings in the 1963 All-Star Game. His victims were Willie Mays, Dick Groat, Duke Snider, Willie McCovey, and Julian Javier.

-Turned in a career-long 33-inning scoreless streak between May 13 and June 14, 1963.

-Won a second Fireman of the Year award in 1964, winning 16 games in relief and saving 29
while striking out 181 in 157 innings, a record total for a reliever. His ERA was a scant 2.29.

-Beginning in 1965, shoulder and elbow injuries curtailed Radatz's effectiveness. He won nine games and saved 22 that season (with a mediocre 3.91 ERA), but won three and saved 22 total over the final three seasons of his career.

-Played for five teams in his last three seasons (1966-1967 and 1969): Red Sox, Indians, Cubs, Tigers, and Expos.

-Was selected to the Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997.

-Sadly, he fell down the stairs of his home in 2005 and died from the resulting injuries at age 68.
Dick Radatz (back) by you.


  1. In todays game, Jonathan Broxton would make Radatz not look so big. However, given the size of the ballplayers at the time, Radatz was huge. Kind of like how former San Diego Charger lineman Louie Kelcher (I think it was) was dubbed "Man Mountain." That would have also fit Radatz well, but what reliever wouldn't want to be called "The Monster"?

  2. Mmayes - For some reason, whenever I read about Radatz, I expected him to have a thick mustache like Al Hrabosky. Now that I know better, he actually looks more terrifying without it.

  3. Look at those numbers for his first three seasons. Pretty stout. Even his 4th year while not quite as big as the first three, is good.

    Something about relievers, though. They go south in a hurry.

  4. I met Mr. Radatz years ago when he was doing radio in boston. I am 6' 4" and 240+ lbs. and he made me feel much much smaller. Some people just have a huge presence and he certainly had it. Just a large man. RIP Monster.

  5. Bob - Yeah, sometimes hard throwers just don't think about preserving themselves, I guess.

    Max - I can imagine! I met Cal Ripken, Jr. once and the thing that struck me most was how tall he was. At 6'4" he towered over everyone else in the room.