Friday, October 13, 2006

October 13th, 1950

Dick Pole Born

You know what? I'm not even saying anything about the name. It's there, that's his name. You read it right. Richard Henry "Dick" Pole. I don't think comment is necessary. Pole was at one point a highly touted prospect, leading the International League (that's Triple-A) in both strikeouts and ERA, and pitching a no-hitter in the minors. Pole was less successful at the Major League level, managing only a career 5.05 ERA in five hundred and thirty-one innings; perhaps his most memorable moment came when he gave up Reggie Jackson's 300th career home run.

In Pole's defense, his career might have turned out different had he not been struck on the face by a Tony Muser line-drive in 1975. The ball was said to have rebounded so far off Pole's face that two runners managed to come around and score on the play; ultimately it cost him ninety-percent of his vision in his right eye. (Raising the interesting question of what Tony Muser damaged more, Dick Pole's vision, or the Kansas City Royals.)

After his playing career ended, Pole went into coaching. He has served as a pitching coach at a variety of places, and is credited by as good a pitcher as Greg Maddux for helping teach him the theories on how to pitch at the Major League level. Most recently, Pole was Dusty Baker's bench coach in Chicago; given that Dusty has been blown out of the Windy City, it would seem that Pole will need to find a new club. Dick is still a relatively young man for coaches--though you'd never know it by looking at him--so it seems likely that he'll be somewhere in a ballpark next year coaching away.

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