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. Frank Malzone Rating (GGC) 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. Adam Starblind 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. Adam Starblind 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 is Bobby Grich when he flys off the handle 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
Jim Wisinski
for his generous support.

Bookmarks

You must be logged in to view your Bookmarks.

Hot Topics

NewsblogOT: Monthly NBA Thread - February 2016
(636 - 11:36pm, Feb 10)
Last: being STEAGLES isn't the same as having a STEAGLES

NewsblogOTP - 2016 February 8: There’s baseball, politics … and real problems
(1170 - 11:23pm, Feb 10)
Last: just plain joe

NewsblogWorld Baseball Classic Qualifier (Sydney) Day 1 OMNICHATTER
(13 - 11:21pm, Feb 10)
Last: Gamingboy

NewsblogStick to Sports? NEVER! The Intersectionalist Manifesto – HardballTalk
(245 - 11:14pm, Feb 10)
Last: Joe Kehoskie

NewsblogOT: Soccer Thread - February 2016
(118 - 10:40pm, Feb 10)
Last: Mefisto

NewsblogBrian Kenny: HALL OF FAME'S ANTI-RECENCY BIAS
(2 - 10:06pm, Feb 10)
Last: Dennis Eclairskey, closer

NewsblogEx-MLB commissioner Bud Selig to teach at Arizona State's law school
(30 - 9:57pm, Feb 10)
Last: deputydrew

NewsblogMLB's top five smartest offseason moves | MLB.com
(26 - 9:50pm, Feb 10)
Last: the Hugh Jorgan returns

NewsblogThe Crack in the Defensive Spectrum
(35 - 9:12pm, Feb 10)
Last: bjhanke

NewsblogLourdes Gurriel, Yulieski Gurriel defect Cuba | MLB.com
(22 - 9:01pm, Feb 10)
Last: JJ1986

NewsblogThe Uncertain Timetable for Cord-Cutting in Baseball's Future
(47 - 8:16pm, Feb 10)
Last: Asian Sorority Sleepover Party TVerik

NewsblogThe Private World Of The Negro Ballplayer
(35 - 7:54pm, Feb 10)
Last: ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick

NewsblogWilmer Flores ignores another slight: ‘I want to be a Met forever’ | New York Post
(7 - 6:04pm, Feb 10)
Last: Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad)

NewsblogGiancarlo Stanton most extreme home runs | MLB.com
(2 - 5:54pm, Feb 10)
Last: Los Angeles El Hombre de Anaheim

NewsblogPrimer Dugout (and link of the day) 2-10-2016
(42 - 5:30pm, Feb 10)
Last: crict

Page rendered in 0.3321 seconds
47 querie(s) executed