Wednesday, April 18, 2012

#157 Steve Bedrosian - Atlanta Braves

This is Steve Bedrosian's second Topps card.  The card features the standard pitching action shot.  The inset looks like maybe it was taken earlier, maybe in '81 before Bedrock's mustache filled out. 

Player: Steve Bedrosian, a third round pick in the '78 draft, was a starting pitcher as he worked his way up through the minors.  It was as a relief pitcher however that he would make a lasting impression in the majors.  He debuted in the second half of the '81 season getting into 15 games, mainly in middle relief while making one start.  Like many rookies he was wild walking 15 in 24.1 innings and finished with a 4.44 ERA.

In 1982 Bedrosian started the fourth game of the season, was hit hard, and moved into the pen.  He worked in middle relief for a few months before earning the trust of manager Joe Torre.  By June he was stealing a few saves from Gene Garber  and he finished with 11 saves on the year in 137 innings with a sharp 2.42 ERA.  He pitched in two games in the NLCS against St. Louis but was not impressive giving up two runs while retiring three batters.

Bedrock shared closing duties in '83 and '84 with Gene Garber, left-handed Terry Forster, and journeyman-turned-relief specialist Donnie Moore.  Bedrosian saved 19 games while logging 120 innings with a 3.60 ERA in '84.  In '83 he lowered his ERA to 2.37 and saved 11.  He had made a pair of spot starts in August and hit the disabled list with an arm injury.  Joe Torre was blamed by some for abusing Bedrock's arm as he had a tendency to fade at the end of the year. 

Despite the glut of relief pitchers the Braves signed Bruce Sutter to big money and Bedrosian was moved to the rotation under new skipper Eddie Haas.  While marginally effective (3.83 ERA, 100 ERA+), he suffered a 7-15 record on a fifth place Braves team.   

After the '85 season Atlanta traded Bedrosian to Philadelphia with Milt Thompson for Ozzie Virgil and Pete Smith.  The Phillies wisely moved Bedrosian back to the pen, where he won the closers job and did well with a 2.83 ERA in 90 innings with 29 saves.  In '86 he was even more effective saving 40 over 89 innings.  He posted a 2.83 ERA and won the Cy Young award in a close vote outpaciing Rick Sutcliffe and Rick Reuschel by two and three points respectively. 

Bedrosian was merely average in '88 saving 28 with a 3.75 ERA.  In what turned out to be a good trade for the Phillies, they sent Bedrosian and Rick Parker to the Giants in June for Dennis Cook, Charlie Hayes, and Terry Mulholland.  Bedrosian saved 23 games on the year with a 2.87 ERA.  He was an important part of the Giants division winning team and he saved three games against the Cubs in the NLCS.  He did not register a save in the World Series but did pitch two scoreless innings against the victorious A's. 

Bedrosian saved 17 in 1990 but his ERA rose to 4.20 and he walked more than he struckout, 44/43.  Following the disappointing season, he was traded for next to nothing to the Twins.  With the Twins he set-up for fellow bearded reliever Rick Aguilera and saved six games of his own.  His ERA of 4.42 wasn't impressive but he enjoyed the ride as the Twins won the World Series over the Braves.  Bedrosian pitched in five games in the postseason allowing two earned runs in 4.2 innings.

The veteran hurler sat out the '92 season with numbness in his pitching hand but returned to the Braves for the '93 campaign.  Bedrosian was very effective in a middle relief role for Altanta.  Pitching in middle relief he registered a 1.63 ERA in 49.2 innings but did not appear in the playoffs.  In '94 he was still decent although his ERA doubled to 3.33.  He pitched one more year but it didn't end well as he posted a 6.11 ERA in 28 innings.

For his career, Bedrosian saved 184 games with a 3.38 ERA in 1191.1 innings.

Stuff:  95 mph fastball, slider 

Flipside: Bedrosian completed 21 of his 81 minor league starts but none of his 46 major league starts.

Oddball:  His '85 season really is odd.  He made 37 starts but never went more than seven innings.  He averaged less than 5 2/3 innings per start but logged a total of 206.2 frames on the bump.  One reason for his short leash was that he made almost half his starts on three days rest.

History:  Bedrosian had a good run, winning a World Series and a Cy Young in his 14 year career.  His versatility may have caused him to be overused in his early days in Atlanta, but he pitched until he was 37 years old. 

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