Sunday, July 5, 2009

#128 -- Eddie Watt

Eddie Watt

In the stretch when the Orioles were at the top of the American League from 1969-1971, there was no better reliever in baseball than Eddie Watt, but nobody's ever heard of him. That's partly because the Orioles threw so many complete games they really didn't need a reliever. They'd carry a 9 man pitching staff and 1 of those guys would usually pitch less than once a week. Contrast that with today's game where some managers are considering carrying 13 pitchers.

In that stretch of 1969-1971, Eddie still appeared only 48 games and 55 innings on average. The Oriole bullpen also had Dick Hall, Dave Leonhard and Pete Richert all pitching effectively during that period. I mentioned the Orioles threw a lot of complete games. From 1969-71 their complete game totals were 50, 64 and 71, well over 1/3 of the total games played.

Eddie pitched 8 years for the Orioles and they went to the World Series 4 of them. He was a rookie on the 1966 championship team and was a vital cog on the 1970 championship team as well as the 1969 and 1971 AL Championship teams. After the 1973 season he was sold to Philadelphia. The O's seemed to be going through a change and there were a lot of players in a rich minor league system that were coming up. Eddie slipped a little more with the Phillies. They released him and after a few games with the Cubs in 1975 his career was over.

Eddie wasn't like today's closers. He didn't come in to great fanfare and entry music. He was more quiet and unassuming. He grew up in Iowa on a farm and never saw a major league baseball game until he saved one for the Orioles on April 12, 1966. One week later he pitched in his second game and got his first win. One week later he notched his first major league win.

His stats today don't look like they'd be good enough to make an all-star team, but Eddie was one of the best in his time.

1972 Feature
On July 5, 1972 Nolan Ryan was at it again. He threw 9 shutout innings at the Brewers and it wouldn't have been enough if Winston Llenas, pinch-hitting for Ryan, hadn't knocked in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the 9th off Earl Stephenson. Stephenson had been matching him zero for zero, but gave up the winning hit. Marty Pattin of the Red Sox and Dave McNally of the Orioles also had 5-hit shutouts.


  1. Seriously, who was in charge of the alignment of the past two cards? #128 & #127
    did topps allow drinking om the job?

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