Saturday, January 09, 2010

#411 Roger Craig

#411 Roger Craig
It's been said that you can't trust a man with two first names. But can you trust a man whose name combines two of the actors who have played James Bond?

Fun facts about Roger Craig:

-Born in Durham, NC, Roger signed with the Dodgers in 1950.

-After losing two years (1952-1953) to military service, he finally made his major league debut in 1955. He pitched well (5-3, 2.78 ERA), and won his only World Series start, a 5-3 decision over the Yankees. It gave Brooklyn a 3-2 series lead, and they would pull it out in seven games.

-Won a career-high 12 games in his sophomore season, fashioning a 3.71 ERA and allowing only 169 hits in 199 innings.

-After struggling during the following two seasons, he had a career year in 1959, going 11-5 with a miniscule 2.06 ERA and leading the National League with four shutouts.

-Before their inaugural 1962 campaign, the Mets drafted Craig from the Dodgers, beginning the longest two years of the pitcher's life. He led the league in losses during that span, going 10-24 and 5-22 respectively despite a fair 4.14 ERA. Of his 46 losses, 20 came in quality starts; in 1963, he lost 18 straight decisions.

-Roger was paroled to the Cardinals in 1964 and was a dependable swingman, posting a 3.25 ERA in 39 games. He also blanked the Yankees in five innings of relief in two World Series appearances.

-After a decent season in Cincinnati in 1965 (3.64 ERA), he finished his career with a few subpar months in Philadelphia the following year. In parts of 12 seasons, he was 74-98 with a 3.83 ERA.

-After serving as a scout and minor-league manager for the Dodgers in 1967-1968, Craig embarked on a long career as a trusted pitching coach with the Padres (1969-1972), Astros (1974-1975), and Tigers (1980-1984).

-Roger is credited with teaching the split-fingered fastball to two of the most prominent pitchers of the 1980s, Houston starter Mike Scott and Jack Morris of Detroit.

-He also had some success as a manager, leading the Padres to their first winning record in 1978 (84-78), before a 93-loss season the next year cost him his job. He helmed the Giants from 1985-1992, leading them to the World Series in 1989 where they were swept by Oakland.
#411 Roger Craig (back)


  1. A bad 1961 season really did Roger in. If he would have had a better year the Dodgers might have protected him.

  2. Sudden thought for a great trivia question to which I do not know the answer, prompted by the presence of Brooklyn on Craig's card.

    What are the last cards produced with:
    Boston (NL)
    St. Louis (AL)
    Brooklyn (NL)
    New York (Giants) (NL)
    Philadelphia (AL)
    Kansas City (Athletics) (AL)
    Seattle (Pilots) (AL)
    Milwaukee (AL)
    Montreal (NL)

    on the 'Complete Major League Record'

    Does anyone dare accept this challenge

  3. Matt - Who knows? Maybe enduring all of that hardship in New York made him really concentrate more on his craft, leading to his successes as a coach and manager.

    Jimcoker - That's a tough one. Without looking, I'd say Lou Piniella is in the running for Seattle.

  4. When Roger Craig managed the S.F. Giants, his mail often got mixed up with that of running back Roger Craig of the 49ers, and vice-versa...