Friday, February 17, 2012

#114 Jim Slaton - Milwaukee Brewers

Slaton and his fabulous hair appear on his 12th Topps card.

Pic:  A lot to dislike here.  Slaton had the same crappy pose in '76 and '78.  The hair, the hair...c'mon put a hat on that mop please.  I suppose this card's one redeeming quality is the Tiger Stadium background.

Player:  Jim Slaton was a draft pick of the Seattle Pilots back in 1969.  When he debuted in '71 the franchise was now in Milwaukee, and he recorded a 10-8 record in 23 starts with a 3.78 ERA.  He spent most of '72 back in AAA, but did make eight starts but was roughed up with a 5.52 ERA and 1-6 record. 

Slaton got on track in 1973 and turned out to be a durable pitcher.  He didn't strikeout a lot of hitters, but he spent the next five years in the Brewers rotation pitching at least 217 innings each year with a career high 292 in 1976.  He kept his ERA around four and won 10+ games each year.  In '77 he had a 2.99 ERA at the break and was selected to the All-Star game but did not play.  

After the '77 season Slaton was traded with Rich Folkers to Detroit for Ben Oglivie.  In Motown, Slaton turned in a typical season with a 4.02 ERA and won a career high 17 games.  It turned out to be a great trade for the Brewers as Oglivie developed into a power hitter in Milwaukee.  The Tigers released Folkers and Slaton returned to the Brewers as a free-agent in '79, winning 15 with a 3.63 ERA.

Slaton was injured in '80 and pitched in only three games.  He returned in '81 going 5-7 with a 4.37 ERA in the strike shortened season.  The six-foot righty pitched out of the pen in the '81 ALDS, giving up two runs in six innings of work as the Brewers bowed out against the Yankees.  He made seven starts in '82 but was used more in long relief.  He had a 10-6 record with a 3.29 ERA in 117 innings and had six saves, all of which were two innings or more.  He pitched exclusively in relief in the postseason and did well, giving up just one run in 7.1 innings.  He won Game 4 of the World Series in relief but the Brew Crew lost out to the Cards in seven games.

Slaton pitched in 46 games in '83, all in relief and won 14 games despite a 4.33 ERA.   After the season he was dealt to the Angels for outfielder Bobby Clark.  In California, Slaton was used mainly as a starter but was not effective.  He posted ERAs of 4.97 in '84 and 4.37 in '85 going 13-20 over the two seasons.  He started the '86 season poorly and was released in June with a 5.65 ERA.  He was signed by the Tigers two weeks later and joined their bullpen.  He pitched in 22 games with a 4.05 ERA.  Slaton retired and later began his coaching career.

Stuff: Fastball, slider, curve, change

Flipside:  Slaton was the ultimate long reliever in '82 logging 13 games with three or more relief innings.

Oddball:  Quick who is the Brewers all-time leader in Wins?  Slaton with 117.  He also leads the franchise in innings, games started, and losses.

History:  Slaton was a durable starter who generally kept his ERA around league average.  He pitched well in the postseason but never won a World Series.  He finished his career with a 151-158 record and a 4.03 ERA (95 ERA+) in 16 seasons. 
Slaton is currently a pitching coach in the Dodgers system.


  1. I live in Milwaukee and have heard that Slaton is the frachise win leader. My first thought was that's pretty pathetic, but when compared to the other 1969 expansion frachises, it is the sixth best career franchise win figure. The Royals have three out of four top spots. Slaton Brewer win total beats out Eric Show's record with San Diego (100 wins) by 17. Not as bad first thought.

  2. That's a great point. I wonder how other non-expansion franchises stack up when counting 1969 forward?