Monday, February 27, 2012

#123 George Frazier - New York Yankees

George Frazier shows up here on his fourth Topps card.  They would use a similar action shot on his '84 and '88 card.  Something doesn't look right with this card, but it looks too good to be airbrushed. 

Player:  George Frazier was drafted by the Brewers in '76.  After a trade to the Cardinals for Buck Martinez, the lanky reliever broke into the Cards pen in 1978.  He appeared in 14 games with an 0-3 record and a 4.09 ERA in 22 innings.  He was shuttled back and forth from St. Louis to AAA Springfield over the next two seasons.  With the Cards he pitched in 25 games in '79 and 22 more in '80.  He was used mainly in middle relief and threw 55 combined innings and earned three saves.

Frazier was down on the farm in June of '81 when he was dealt  to the Yankees.  New York called him up for the stretch run in August.  He pitched well for his new team saving three games with a 1.63 ERA in 27.2 innings.  Frazier pitched 5.2 frames of scoreless work in Game 2 of the ALCS to earn the win over the A's.  His glee was short lived though as he would be hung with losses in Games 3, 4, and 6 of the World Series.  Frazier gave up seven runs in 3.2 innings and is the only pitcher to lose three games in a best of seven World Series.

As a setup man, Frazier had remarkably similar years the next two seasons with identical 4-4 records.  He appeared in 63 games and 111 innings in '82 and 61 games and 115 innings in '83.  His ERAs were 3.47 and 3.43.   In the off-season he was traded to the Indians.  He played half of the '84 season there until he was packaged in the Rick Sutcliffe / Joe Carter trade with the Cubs.  Frazier pitched in a  total of 108 innings with 4 saves and a 3.92 ERA.  In the NLCS he gave up two runs in 1.2 innings in the Cubs lopsided Game 3 loss to the Padres.

Frazier struggled for the Cubs the next year and a half and was traded in '86 to the Twins in a deal involving former teammate Ron Davis.  Frazier was a bit more effective for the Twins and finished the year with a 5.06 ERA in 78.1 innings.  He pitched in 81.1 frames in '87 with a 4.98 ERA and two saves.  Frazier didn't appear in the ALCS but had two shutout innings in Game 4 of the World Series.  The Twins won the championship and Frazier had the ring that had eluded him in '81.  He retired with 29 career saves and a 4.20 ERA in 675.2 innings of work.

Stuff: Fastball, curve, slider.  Frazier mixed things up by changing his arm angle frequently.

Flipside:   Frazier never started a game in the majors (and only one in the minors) but in '82 he had eight appearances of 4+ innings.

Oddball:  Frazier was brutal as a fielder. He made 13 errors in 130 chances for a career fielding percentage of .900.

History:  Whether he deserves it or not, Frazier will be best remembered for his three losses in the '81 World Series.  He was able to be on the winning side in '87 with the Twins.
Frazier has been a color commentater for Rockies TV since 1997.


  1. Every time I see any Yankee cards from this set, it instantly reminds me of this puzzle I had. Just before the '83 Topps were available, there was this puzzle my Mom bought me, which was a jigsaw puzzle of all the Yankee '83 Topps cards. I loved that thing. I think I put it together about a dozen times.

  2. Wow that's pretty cool Devon. I wonder if Topps made puzzles for all the teams?