I can't help but think of comedian/ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's character Walter when I see LaRoche's inset pic. What do you think?
Player: Dave LaRoche was drafted in the 5th round by the Angels in '67 and cracked the big leagues three years later. LaRoche would appear in a total of 38 games in his rookie season and earned four saves with a 3.44 ERA.
LaRoche's second year was even better with a 2.50 ERA and nine saves in 72 innings but he would be traded to the Twins in the offseason, In Minnesota for the '72 campaign he had a solid season (2.84 ERA, 10 saves) but was traded to the Cubs where he labored through two poor seasons.
Before the '75 season he was dealt with Brock Davis to the Indians for Milt Wilcox. Already on his fourth team of his career, LaRoche flourished in Cleveland saving 38 games with ERAs of 2.19 and 2.24 in the '75 and '76 seasons. He struggled out of the gate and '77 and was shipped to the Angels in a four player deal. Back with his original franchise, LaRoche had two good years and two mediocre campaigns over the next four years. Mainly used in late relief he tallied 52 saves but he made nine starts in 1980 for the Halos, the only time he really spent any meaningful time in a starting rotation.
The Angels cut LaRoche loose in spring training in '81 and he caught on with the Yankees a few weeks later. LaRoche had a very good year in middle relief with a 2.63 ERA in 47 innings. In fact, LaRoche was carrying a 0.62 ERA in August when he made a spot start and gave up four runs.
The veteran lefty started the 1982 season with AAA Columbus and was sent up and down on four occasions. With the Yanks he pitched 50 innings with a 3.42 ERA. 1982 was the end of the road for LaRoche, as he made one more appearance in the majors allowing two runs in one inning in an August swan song.
LaRoche was known for his eephus pitch which was called the LaLob as seen here.
History: LaRoche was a well regarded reliever in his day making two All-Star teams. You can read more about him in the next post as Topps featured him on a Super Veteran card.
The LaRoche name is best known these days because of his son and grandson.