Saturday, November 22, 2014

Blast From the Past: Ray Sadecki RIP

Ray Sadecki, the man who is probably best known to most Giants fans as the guy they traded Orlando Cepeda for, died last week at the age of 73.  Oh my!  I have 5 patients in my medical practice who turned 100 this year and 1 who turned 101.  73 is so young these days!  Sadecki reportedly died from complications of "blood cancer" which I would interpret as being some form of leukemia.

I have to confess that my personal recollections of Sadecki are that he was a terrible pitcher for the Giants while Cepeda won an MVP and a World Series with the Cardinals.  Those recollections are not completely supported by objective data.  Sadecki actually pitched very well for the Giants in 1967 and 1968, the years the Cardinals and Cepeda were running away with NL Pennants.

Ray Sadecki was a "Bonus Baby" for the Cardinals and therefore had to stay on the MLB 25 man roster for 2 years immediately after signing.  He made his MLB debut in 1960 at the age of 19.  He pitched successfully but tended to wildness.  His best MLB season in terms of Wins was in 1964 when he went 20-11, 3.68, 220 IP, 4.87 K/9, 2.45 BB/9. Wins for starting pitchers had more meaning back in those days because most starting pitchers threw a lot of complete games.  Anyway, the Cardinals won the NL Pennant by 1 game over the Phillies and Reds.  It was the year the Phillies blew a 6.5 game lead with 12 games to play.  The Cardinals went on to win the World Series over the Yankees. Sadecki started 2 of the games but did not pitch particularly well.

Sadecki's numbers collapsed in 1965 and 1966. He was traded to the Giants on May 8, 1966 for Orlando Cepeda as the Giants had to choose between him and Willie McCovey at first base.  We all know what Cepeda did with the Cardinals, but Willie McCovey was actually the right choice for the Giants to keep.  Sadecki did not pitch well after the trade frustrating many Giants fans.  He pitched much better in 1967 and 1968:

1967- 12-6, 2.78, 188 IP, 6.94 K/9, 2.78 BB/9, 24 CG, fWAR= 4.0.
1968- 12-18, 2.91, 254 IP, 7.30 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, 36 CG, fWAR= 5.3.

The Giants got exactly what they wanted out of Ray Sadecki which was a reliable third starter behind Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry.  The problems for the Giants and Ray Sadecki was 1.  The Giants failed to support him with runs and 2.  They traded Cepeda to the wrong team as he was what the Cardinals needed to become a great team and run away with the NL Pennant twice in a row while the Giants finished second both seasons.

Sadecki's numbers went south again in 1969 and he was traded to the New York Mets.  He pitched effectively for the Mets as a swingman/spot starter for the next 5 seasons and won another NL Pennant with the Mets in 1973 and appeared in 4 World Series games which the Mets lost to the Oakland A's.

After his retirement, Sadecki, who was from Kansas City, had a ball field in the KC area named after him.  He died in Mesa, Arizona.

1 comment:

  1. RIP Ray Sadecki. Good Giant.

    Didn't his KO record just get overtaken by our own WS MVP?