Sunday, April 02, 2006

April 2nd, 1937

Dick Radatz Born

Dick Radatz was nicknamed "The Monster"--supposedly by Mickey Mantle--because there was a lot monstrous about him. For one thing, Radatz stood 6'6" and weighed somewhere in the 235-250 range, which is a big man now but was huge when he pitched (1962-1969), espcailly for pitchers. The other montorous about Radatz was his fastball. He threw it upwards of the eighty percent of the time and did so at a startling velocity, usually around ninety-five. Compounding all this, Radatz, a righty, pitched to righties from a low sidearm angle, for an all-around terrifying package. (For an idea of Radatz's motion, you can check out this photo strip, taken from a Red Sox yearbook of the period.)

All of this combined to make The Monster one astoundingly hard-to-hit pitcher for a while in the early 60s, despite never starting game, Radatz won 15 and 16 games in 1963 and '64, the latter year finishing in the top ten in the wins while also leading the league with twenty-nine saves. All said in his first three years in Boston Radatz went 40-21 with 78 saves and a 2.17 ERA in 414 innings. Those innings would catch up with Radatz however, as lost it in 1965 (Radatz blames his problems on trying to fix what wasn't broken in developing a third pitch to compliment his fastball and slider) and by 1966 the most truly monstrous thing about Radatz was his control as he was walking 5.4 men per nine. Radatz hung around for a few more years, but he was out of baseball by 1969. After his retirement Radatz worked in the media in Boston, but died early last year after falling down stairs in his home.

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