Saturday, August 11, 2012

#207 Rick Camp - Atlanta Braves

Rick Camp appears here on his sixth Topps card with a beard in the cameo shot and without it in the action shot.  Topps repeated that arrangement in the '84 set and Camp appeared with the beard the rest of his cards.

Player:  Georgia native Rick Camp was drafted by the Braves in the 7th round in 1974 and debuted with the big club in '76.  Appearing in five games, with one start, he allowed eight runs in eleven innings. 

With the exception of four starts, Camp spent the next two seasons in the Braves bullpen.  Despite WHIP ratio's over 1.7 he kept his ERA at 4.00 and 3.75.  He saved 10 games in '77 but didn't save any in in '78 as he was used in middle relief.

Arm troubles sabotaged his '79 campaign and limited him to just 22 games in the minors.  The next two years Camp was simply outstanding.  He posted ERAs of 1.91 and 1.78 and supplanted Gene Garber as the Braves top fireman, saving 22 in '80 and 17 in '81.  His work was good enough to garner a few MVP votes during the strike year.

Camp spent the next three seasons bouncing back and forth between the pen and rotation.  He was slightly better than league average but understand-ably did not work deep into games with just five complete games in that span.  He pitched well as a starter down the stretch in '82 helping the Braves to the playoffs.  He was shelled in his only start in the NLCS as he failed to get out of the 2nd inning.

Camp pitched in middle relief in '85 and logged 127 innings with a 3.95 ERA.  He retired in '86 after he failed to make the cut in spring training.   

Stuff:  High 80's sinker, slider, occasional curve and change up
Flipside:  Camp established career highs in '82 with 177.1 innings and 11 wins.

Oddball:  Camp was a terrible hitter and a lot has been written about his unpredictable HR in the Braves-Mest marathon game in '85.    If you are unfamiliar with the game I encourage you to read this article which called it the greatest game ever.  Here is a video recap.

I think the Braves nearly had the market cornered on bearded players in the 80's. Can you identify these hairy Braves on sight?  I'll post the answers in the comments in a few days.

History:  Camp was an effective pitcher who played his entire career for his home state Braves.  He finished his career 56-49 with a 3.37 ERA (115 ERA+) and 12.3 WAR.  He never really had a bad year as his only year with an ERA+ under 97 was his 11 inning rookie year.

After his baseball career he spent a few years in prison and has been trying to rebuild his reputation ever since.


  1. Glenn Hubbard, Gene Garber, Rick Mahler, Steve Bedrosian, Al Hrabosky, Tommy Boggs, Eddie Miller, Bruce Sutter, Rick Camp, Ken Oberkfel, Biff Pocoroba, Bob Horner, Ozzie Virgil, either Rufino Linares.

  2. James McAndrews got them all correct. They are lister from left to right too row then bottom row. Amazing how similar hubbard and oberkfell look.

  3. Thanks so much for another Brave Card!