Sunday, November 20, 2011

#46 Richard Dotson

Card:  Dotson's third Topps Card.  His rookie card can be found in the '81 set.

Pic:  It occurs to me that with the new uniforms that the White Sox were wearing it forced Topps to use photos exclusively from the '82 season for ChiSox players.  Still Dotson pitched in 34 games, but none in New York where many of their shots are taken.  Topps must have realized at some point they needed a recent picture of Dotson and had him pose for a moment with his hat pulled down low for a few quick pics.  Still, an action shot would've been nice....

Player:  Richard Dotson was a first round pick (7th overall)  of the Angels in the '77 draft.  The 18 year-old Dotson was dispatched to rookie level ball in Idaho Falls where he bombed, allowing 133 base runners in 66 innings.  The Angels traded the young right-hander along with Bobby Bonds and Thad Bosley to the Chicago White Sox for Brian Downing, Dave Frost and Chris Knapp.  With the Sox, Dotson was sent to double-A Knoxville, a curious move considering his epic fail at the rookie level, but his control improved over the the '78 season and even more so as he repeated at Knoxville in '79.  Dotson made his MLB debut in September and threw a six-hit shutout against the A's in his second start.  In five starts Dotson was 2-0 with a 3.70 ERA.

Dotson was a regular member of the White Sox rotation in 1980, making 32 starts with 198 innings.  The 21 year-old was 12-10 with a 4.27 ERA and was 7th in rookie of the year voting.  Dotson led the AL with four shutouts in the strike shortened '81 season but had a league average ERA of 3.77 and was 9-8 on the season.  In 1982, with an ERA near five, Dotson was sent to the pen for a few weeks in July.  Dotson improved as the year went on, allowing only 30 earned runs in his last 15 starts.  Dotson finished the '82 campaign with an 11-15 record and 3.84 ERA.

Dotson started the '83 campaign slowly but turned the corner in mid-July.  Dotson went 14-1 over his last 16 starts with a 2.09 ERA and six complete games.  For the season Dotson won 22 games to go with only seven losses.  Dotson made a career high 35 starts and worked 240 innings creating a formidable one-two punch with staff ace LaMarr Hoyt.  The White Sox won the AL West but Dotson was hit hard in his only postseason start of the ALCS as the White Sox gave way to the Orioles in four games.  Dotson finished fourth in Cy Young voting, with teammate Hoyt winning the award.

Dotson picked up where he left off in '83 by starting the '84 season 11-4 with a 2.64 ERA in the first half.  Dotson threw two scoreless innings for the AL in the All-Star game.  While Dotson was a durable starter completing 14 games, he slumped in the second half and won only three games to finish 14-15 with a 3.59 ERA.  1985 was a setback as Dotson pitched in only 9 games before having season ending shoulder surgery.

Dotson was healthy but ineffective in '86.  He made 34 starts but lost a league high 17 and had a grotesque 5.48 ERA in 197 innings.  Still only 28 years old the righty bounced back somewhat in '87.  His 4.11 ERA was below league average during the homer happy season and he put in 211 innings over 31 starts and posted an 11-12 record.  On November 12th, the White Sox traded Dotson and Scott Nielsen to the New York Yankees for Dan Pasqua, Steve Rosenberg and Mark Salas.

Dotson received a ton of run support in '88 as his new Yankee teammates scored five or more runs in 18 of his 29 starts. This allowed him to have a winning 12-9 record despite a 5.00 ERA.  Dotson would not be so fortunate in '89, as he was released in June after winning only two of his nine starts and posting a 5.57 ERA.  Picked up by his old squad, Dotson used smoke and mirrors to post a 3.88 ERA despite a 1.535 WHIP in 17 starts with Chicago. Dotson finished '89 with a combine record of 5-12 with a 4.46 ERA.

The Royals signed Dotson as a free agent for the '90 season.  Dotson flamed out in KC, losing all four of his decisions and was released in June with a 8.48 ERA.  Hastened by shoulder injuries, Dotson's career came to end at only 31 years of age.  His last four losses dropped his career record to 111-113.

Stuff: Fastball (90 mph), change, curve, slider.  After '87 shoulder surgery, fastball (84 mph), change, curve


Flipside: Strangely Topps omits Dotson's four hit shutout win against Texas on September 4th, from his highlights.  Dotson allowed 13 base runners and both runs in that 14-2 romp on August 3rd but somehow that gets mentioned instead.  And that June 19 "highlight"... he gave up four runs in 6.2 innings.  He had many more games that were more deserving than that.

Oddball:  On Sept. 10 1984, Dotson drilled Oakland DH Dave Kingman to load the bases in the third inning. Kingman charged the mound and landed a series of uppercuts to Dotson's jaw.  Kingman was ejected and Dotson somehow stayed in the game.  Perhaps dazed from being slugged by the slugger, Dotson walked the next batter on four pitches and forced in a run. This turned out to be the only run of the game as Oakland won 1-0.  You can more about it here.

History: Dotson will be remembered for his 22 win season in '83 helping the White Sox win the AL West.  In his prime he could pitch deep into games and keep the score close. After Dotson hurt his arm, he wasn't the same and his career had a premature end.  Dotson stayed away from pro baseball for 11 years before returning as a minor pitching coach in the White Sox organization.  

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