April 18 – Happy Birthday Dennis Rasmussen

DennisRasmussen.jpgWhen long-time baseball fans think of the 1986 season, the New York team that made the biggest impression that year was the Mets. Thanks in no small part to Bill Buchner’s defensive deficiencies, that Davey Johnson led squad won the Amazin’s second-ever world championship. But the Buchner miscue would have never had the opportunity to happen if it were not for the performance of the Mets superb pitching staff during the 1986 regular season. With all five starters winning in double digits, a lefty and righty closer each saving over 20 games and a staff ERA of just 3.11, that year’s Met offense usually only needed to score just three runs to win most games. The result was an incredible 108-win season for the tenants of Shea Stadium.

Unfortunately for the Yankees, only one Big Apple baseball team had a richness of pitching that year. Over in the Bronx, the Yankees were battling the Red Sox for the AL East Pennant with a starting staff that included a quickly aging Ron Guidry, an ancient and disgruntled Joe Neikro and youngsters Doug Drabek and Bob Tewksbury. Not one of the four won more than nine games that year, so how on earth did that team amass 90 victories and at least give Boston a fight for the Pennant? The answer was the two DRs and l don’t mean doctors. Dave Righetti was the best closer in baseball that season, leading the AL with 46 saves while being asked to pitch more than an inning over thirty times. The other DR was Dennis Rasmussen. He went 18-6 as a starter, becoming the ace of a staff that was in desperate need of an ace to emerge.

The Yankees had acquired Rasmussen in the 1984 trade that sent All Star third baseman Graig Nettles to the Padres. Dennis was a huge left-hander, 6’7″ tall and 230 pounds. He went a combined 12-11 for New York during his first two seasons in pinstripes. In ’86 he started strong and stayed strong the entire season. He was 8-2 at the All Star break and then went 10-4 the second half. The Yankees would have been horrible that year without him. So what happened to Dennis? Remember, this was the mid eighties when the Yankee front office was making pitching decisions with a Ouija Board. They traded their big southpaw to the Reds in August of the following season, for starter Bill Gullickson. Rasmussen won four of his five decisions with Cincinnati and went 16-10 the following year. Gullickson went 4-2 for his new team but then migrated to Japan the following season. Rasmussen pitched in the big leagues until 1995, retiring with a 91-77 record. He was 39-24 as a Yankee. He was born on April 18, 1959 in LA.

Rasmussen shares his birthday with this former teammate from his Yankee daysthis long-ago Yankee outfielder. Today would have also been the 90th birthday of the original Yankee Stadium.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP WHIP
1984 NYY 9 6 .600 4.57 24 24 0 1 0 0 147.2 127 79 75 16 60 0 110 4 1.266
1985 NYY 3 5 .375 3.98 22 16 1 2 0 0 101.2 97 56 45 10 42 1 63 1 1.367
1986 NYY 18 6 .750 3.88 31 31 0 3 1 0 202.0 160 91 87 28 74 0 131 2 1.158
1987 NYY 9 7 .563 4.75 26 25 0 2 0 0 146.0 145 78 77 31 55 1 89 4 1.370
12 Yrs 91 77 .542 4.15 256 235 7 21 5 0 1460.2 1424 747 673 175 522 23 835 26 1.332
W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO HBP WHIP
SDP (5 yrs) 41 42 .494 3.80 113 110 1 11 2 0 680.0 703 337 287 68 227 13 346 10 1.368
NYY (4 yrs) 39 24 .619 4.28 103 96 1 8 1 0 597.1 529 304 284 85 231 2 393 11 1.272
KCR (3 yrs) 5 4 .556 4.70 19 10 4 1 1 0 76.2 78 42 40 7 28 3 30 1 1.383
CIN (2 yrs) 6 7 .462 4.96 18 18 0 1 1 0 101.2 107 58 56 13 34 4 66 3 1.387
CHC (1 yr) 0 0 10.80 3 1 1 0 0 0 5.0 7 6 6 2 2 1 0 1 1.800
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/18/2013.

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