Monday, November 28, 2016

#334 Dave LaRoche Super Veteran

Then and Now:  The 21 year-old Dave LaRoche was a fresh faced rookie in 1970.  He blazed through the minors in two plus seasons after he was drafted in the 5th round by the Angels in 1967. Fourteen seasons isn't exactly a super-veteran compared to some of the other superstars and this is one of the weakest super-vet cards in the subset.  If the 70's taught LaRoche anything, it was how to grow a mustache.  He was clean shaven on his base card and certainly looks more menacing here.

Career Span:  5/11/70 - 8/23/83  
The Angels were a very young squad in the early 70's but when LaRoche was traded to the Twins he played with Harmon Killebrew who started his career way back in 1954. 
Fast forward to 1982 and LaRoche shared a locker room with a young Mike Morgan who would go on to pitch until 2002.

All-Star:  LaRoche made the AL All-Star squad in back to back seasons in '76 and '77.  He did not play in the '76 game but pitched an inning the next year.  After inducing ground outs from Dave Parker and George Foster, Dave Winfield doubled, Ron Cey walked, but Pete Rose flew out to right field to end the threat.  
LaRoche didn't factor into the decision as the NL blasted Jim Palmer for five runs early and never gave up the lead.

League Leader: LaRoche never lead the league in any significant category.  He finished top five in saves on four occasions. 

All-Time:  LaRoche is 68th all-time in games finished (381). When this card came out LaRoche was 10th all-time in saves but his 126 saves is only good for 108th all time these days.

Postseason:   LaRoche appeared in the postseason just twice.  First in the 1979 ALCS and then two years later in the World Series for the Yankees.  Both times he pitched for the losing side in a lopsided game.

Cy Young:  Nope, not even a single vote

MVP:  Despite the shutout in CYA voting he did manage to finish 25th in the 1978 AL MVP vote.

Hall of Fame:  Zero votes received.  Although an effective reliever for most of his career, it's no surprise that LaRoche isn't in Cooperstown. 

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