Baseball for the Thinking Fan

Login | Register | Feedback

btf_logo
You are here > Home > Baseball Newsstand > Baseball Primer Newsblog > Discussion
Baseball Primer Newsblog
— The Best News Links from the Baseball Newsstand

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Where the Crazy Closer Comes From

FacePage was way ahead of its time:

I wondered if it would be possible to locate the origin of the Crazy Closer archetype. Was there one late-inning reliever who was simultaneously good at his job and bonkers, thus planting this archetype in the heads of baseball fans and writers forever after? In my hunt to find the answer to this question, I kept coming back to one man: Joe Page.

DEFCON: jive Posted: April 09, 2013 at 05:26 PM | 15 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: closers, history

Reader Comments and Retorts

Go to end of page

Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 09, 2013 at 06:50 PM (#4408842)
This is a great piece. Great links to the primary sources as well.

I would instantly have said Ryne Duren was the prototype. But nay!
   2. GGC don't think it can get longer than a novella Posted: April 09, 2013 at 07:45 PM (#4408880)
I was thinking Hrabowsky.
   3. Steve Treder Posted: April 09, 2013 at 07:49 PM (#4408888)
This is a fine piece. That said, if you're looking for the archetype of nutso ace reliever, Hugh Casey wasn't exactly sane, and his moment in the sun (in NYC no less) predates Page's.
   4. Mayor Blomberg Posted: April 09, 2013 at 08:44 PM (#4408988)
'The Gay Reliever'?
   5. OCF Posted: April 09, 2013 at 09:07 PM (#4409058)
I think it was Mitch Williams who supplied the motto for the type: pitch like your hair is on fire.
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 09, 2013 at 09:46 PM (#4409184)
I enjoyed RingTFA for the nostalgia, but a distinction has to be made between "drunk reliever" (Page, Duren*), and "crazy reliever" (Hungarian, Wildthing, etc.) One had his distinction (if that's the right word) away from the ballpark, while the latter had his distinction on the mound.

*Duren, of course, fits both categories
   7. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:01 PM (#4409214)
Jeff Reardon robbed a freaking jewelry store.
   8. Bob Tufts Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:33 PM (#4409274)
Jeff Reardon robbed a freaking jewelry store.


That's nothing - I communicate with primates on BBTF.
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:35 PM (#4409279)
That's nothing - I communicate with primates on BBTF.

you're giving us too much credit, Bob
   10. Bruce Markusen Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:53 PM (#4409317)
He certainly wasn't the first of the whacky relievers, but Dick "The Monster" Radatz deserves a mention. When he closed out games, he used to thrust his fists wildly into the air, which is nothing now, but was an unheard of form of celebration in the 1960s game.

Radatz' inability to throw strikes in the late sixties became such a problem that he sought out hypnosis as a remedy. It didn't work. In a 1968 spring training game, he threw 24 consecutive pitches out of the strike zone.
   11. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 09, 2013 at 10:59 PM (#4409325)
Radatz' inability to throw strikes in the late sixties became such a problem that he sought out hypnosis as a remedy. It didn't work. In a 1968 spring training game, he threw 24 consecutive pitches out of the strike zone.

now we know who Mitch Williams modeled himself after
   12. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: April 10, 2013 at 12:00 AM (#4409382)
As a teenager, I somehow had a profound moment of insight while reading about Ryne Duren. The gist of the article was that when batters came up against Ryne Duren, they were afraid that he would hit them in the head because he couldn't see them properly because of his weird glasses, and they had the overlapping fear that he would hit them in the head because he was drunk and/or hung over. And this was a special advantage he had, independent of his talent. This really struck me. How could someone get such an advantage? It's like a shortcut to success - if you can manipulate the expectations of other people rather than having them see exactly what you are.

And maybe he could see fine and was not actually drunk, which was probably true in order to pitch at all without violating the laws of the game. How could he maintain the illusion? Just by occasionally throwing a certain type of brushback pitch.

Anyway, this made me realize that we respond to how we perceive the situation to be, not to the objective facts of the situation, which are unknowable.
   13. Arbitol Dijaler Posted: April 10, 2013 at 08:37 AM (#4409537)
That's nothing - I communicate with primates on BBTF.


That is pretty weird. Also, going through life with a name like Tufts - people will think you couldn't get into Brown or Dartmouth.
   14. Tubbs & Minnie Miñoso don't fear Sid Monge Posted: April 10, 2013 at 09:23 AM (#4409568)
Reardon holding up the jewelry store was a sad story. He was on some heavy anti-depression meds after his son died of a drug overdose.
   15. There are no words... (Met Fan Charlie) Posted: April 10, 2013 at 03:45 PM (#4410078)
It's like a shortcut to success - if you can manipulate the expectations of other people rather than having them see exactly what you are.


They wrote a musical about this in the early '60s...

You must be Registered and Logged In to post comments.

 

 

<< Back to main

BBTF Partner

Support BBTF

donate

Thanks to
A triple short of the cycle
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogDoc Daugherty: Aroldis Chapman not necessary for Reds
(1 - 10:45am, Sep 02)
Last: Ok, Griffey's Dunn (Nothing Iffey About Griffey)

NewsblogOT: Politics, September, 2014: ESPN honors Daily Worker sports editor Lester Rodney
(82 - 10:44am, Sep 02)
Last: Lassus

NewsblogBlue Jays Acquire Mayberry Jr.
(15 - 10:42am, Sep 02)
Last: Batman

NewsblogTrevor Hoffman's Hall of Fame induction seems inevitable
(16 - 10:42am, Sep 02)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 9-2-2014
(11 - 10:41am, Sep 02)
Last: The Robby Hammock District (Dan Lee)

NewsblogHBT: Jorge Soler with an extra-base hit in each of his first five games
(5 - 10:41am, Sep 02)
Last: Spahn Insane

NewsblogOT: NFL/NHL thread
(7991 - 10:37am, Sep 02)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogPhoto of the day: Bill Murray, indy league ticket-taker
(114 - 10:36am, Sep 02)
Last: Esmailyn Gonzalez Sr.

NewsblogOT August 2014:  Wrassle Mania I
(93 - 10:32am, Sep 02)
Last: Rowland Office Supplies

NewsblogOT: The Soccer Thread August, 2014
(990 - 10:31am, Sep 02)
Last: JuanGone..except1game

NewsblogBPP: Why do people still think Jack Morris pitched to the score?
(1 - 10:28am, Sep 02)
Last: PASTE Thinks This Trout Kid Might Be OK (Zeth)

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - September 2014
(8 - 10:23am, Sep 02)
Last: My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto

NewsblogNo-hitter! Four Phillies pitchers combine to blank the Braves
(18 - 9:34am, Sep 02)
Last: Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play

NewsblogOT: Politics, August 2014: DNC criticizes Christie’s economic record with baseball video
(6359 - 9:32am, Sep 02)
Last: Ron J2

NewsblogAstros Fire Bo Porter
(60 - 9:12am, Sep 02)
Last: Ron J2

Page rendered in 0.2507 seconds
52 querie(s) executed