Tuesday, October 16, 2012

#228 Joaquin Andujar - St. Louis Cardinals

Joaquin Andujar's 7th Topps card is a posed shot, which is unusual considering he pitched 265 innings in '82, plenty of time to snag an action shot.  I think that might be infielder Mike Ramsey in the background.  As far as posed shots go, this isn't terrible but they should have used a different inset picture.

Player:  Joaquin Andujar was signed by the Reds out of the Dominican Republic in 1969.  Just 17 years old when he started his pro career, he spent six unremarkable years in the minors before being he was traded to the Astros after the '75 season. 
Andujar spent his time in Houston battling injuries as he was in and out of the rotation.  He made 86 starts and relieved in 49 others in his first four years and was impressive enough to make the NL All-Star team in '77 and '79.  His in-season performance was up and down but taken as a whole his production was pretty good with ERA's of 3.60, 3.69, 3.42, and 3.43.
Pitching mainly out of the bullpen in 1980, Andujar logged 122 innings with a 3.91 ERA and earned a save in the NLCS against the Phillies.  Andujar, self dubbed "One Tough Dominican",  got off to a terrible start in '81 and was traded to the Cardinals midseason.  St. Louis put Andujar in the rotation and he went 6-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 55 frames for the Redbirds.
Andujar broke through with a fantastic season in 1982.  He made 37 starts with a 2.47 ERA (148 ERA+) while winning 15 games.  He won three more games in the postseason including the decisive Game 7 over the Brewers in the World Series.  Andujar followed it up with a mediocre campaign losing 16 with only 6 wins and a 4.16 ERA.
Andujar was volatile and unpredictable in both style and personality.  He dropped down sidearm at times, brushed back hitters often (led NL twice in HB), and often got into confrontations with opposing batters and umps.  He however parlayed his talents into back to back 20 win seasons in '84 and '85 with ERA's of 3.34 and 3.40.  Established as one of the premier pitchers in the Senior Circuit, Andujar finished 4th both years in Cy Young voting.  The postseason in '85 was a disaster this time around.  He pitched poorly in the NLCS and World Series and was ejected from the one-sided Game 7 loss to the Cardinals for arguing with home plate umpire Don Denkinger.  The Cardinals had lost Game 6 after the Royals benefited from a blown call by Denkinger who was working first base at the time, and the Cards' rage boiled over into Game 7. 
The Cardinals traded Andujar to the A's after the '85 season and although he wasn't bad (12 wins, 3.82 ERA) his best years were behind him.  Injuries really took a toll on Andujar and he tossed only 60 ineffective innings in '87.  He returned to Houston in '88 but lasted only 78 innings.  He tried to comeback with Montreal in '89 but did not make the team and retired.
Stuff: low 90s fastball, slider

Flipside:  The '82 season shown at the bottom of the card was the first of four seasons in which he threw an impressive 1021.2 innings. 
Oddball:  Andujar was a source of many great off-the-wall quotes.  My favorite -

"You can't worry if it's cold; you can't worry if it's hot; you only worry if you get sick. Because then if you don't get well, you die."

History:  Andujar had a 13 year career in the big leagues and had a 127-118 record with a 3.58 ERA (99 ERA+).  He won a World Series in '82 and was a four time All Star and even won a Gold Glove.  Most fans probably remember him more for his blow up and poor pitching in the '85 World Series than his excellent work in the '82 Classic.

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