Just in time for spring training, a little baseball to go with the weekly dose of running history…
50 years ago, Red Sox relief pitcher Dick Radatz (aka “The Monster”) was coming off his second Fireman of the Year award in his three seasons in the majors. In 1964 he led the league with 29 saves and his 16 wins (as a reliever!) led the team. His intimidating fastball helped him set a record for relievers that still stands by striking out 181 batters in 157 innings.
In the off-season, Radatz added running to his training regimen:
Unfortunately, 1964 was Radatz’ last great year. In spring training before the 1965 season, Ted Williams convinced Radatz to add a sinker to that fearsome fastball. Radatz thought the changes he made to his pitching mechanics caused his fastball to lose the power and accuracy that had made him a star. Perhaps, but pitching over 400 innings of high-intensity relief in his first three years probably didn’t help any either.
Radatz’ career wound down from that point, ending in 1969 with the expansion Montreal Expos.