Monday, September 24, 2012

#217 Tim Stoddard - Baltimore Orioles

Although not an in game action photo, Tim Stoddard's 3rd Topps card is pretty cool because of the fans in the background.  I wonder if those folks know they are on this card? 
This is the second pitcher named Stoddard to appear in the last 22 cards.  They don't seem to be related but I still got Bob and Tim Stoddard mixed up when I was a kid. 
Tim Stoddard looks like a gruff, no-nonsense type of guy who always looked older than he really was. The orange-brown borders go great with the Oriole cards in this set. 
Player:  Originally drafted by the White Sox, Tim Stoddard  had a successful collegiate career playing both baseball and baketball.  He won a NCAA basketball title as a starting member of the 73-74 NC State team.  Stoddard pitched just one inning for Pale Hose in '75 and was released two years later.

Stoddard caught on with the Orioles in '78 throwing 18 innings and allowing 12 earned runs.  He then emerged as a key part of manager Earl Weaver's bullpen in 1979.  He posted a sparkling 1.71 ERA in 58 frames and saved three games along the way.  Stoddard was used in four games in the '79 World Series, earning the win with three innings of scoreless relief in Game 4.  He also had an RBI single in his lone post season at bat.

The 6'7" Stoddard was the Orioles closer in 1980 and saved a then team record 26 games.  He posted a 2.51 ERA over 86 innings in 64 games.  He shared closing duties the next two seasons saving 19 with ERAs around four for Baltimore.  On an individual level the '83 season was a disaster as he was ineffective (1.6 WHIP, 10 HR, 65 hits allowed in 57 innings) but he won as a ring as a member of the championship O's.

Stoddard was then traded to the A's for Wayne Gross, but was traded again to the Cubs before the '84 season began.  Stoddard had a decent year with a 3.82 ERA in 92 frames of work and won a career best 10 games.  He left for sunny San Diego for the '85 season and after a mediocre campaign bounced back in '86.  Traded mid-year to the Yankees for Ed Whitson he logged a 3.80 ERA with a personal high 94.2 innings. 

He topped 90 innings again in '87 and save 9 with a 3.50 ERA (127 ERA+).  He struggled through most of the '88 season (6.38 ERA) until the Yankees cut him loose in August.  He pitched in 12 games for Cleveland but was released in July ending his career.

Stuff:  Fastball low-90s, slider, occasionally a change and curveball

Flipside:  Stoddard never did start a game in the majors although he began his career as a starter in the minors.

Oddball:  Stoddard has changed quite a bit through the years:

History:  Stoddard was an imposing figure on the mound and he used his crisp fastball as a short reliever for 13 years in the majors.  He had 76 saves in his career with a 3.95 ERA (101 ERA+).  He could usually be counted on to pitch in 50-60 games with a decent ERA.  He had two terrible years along the way, with his best years coming early in his career in Baltimore where eventually won a World Series in '83.

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