Dennis Eckersley Speaker Profile
Dennis Eckersley Biography
Dennis Eckersley was born October 3, 1954 and is an Americanformer Major League Baseball pitcher. Eckersley had success as a starter, butgained his greatest fame as a closer, becoming the first of only two pitchersin Major League history to have both a 20-win season and a 50-save season in acareer (the other being John Smoltz).
Eckersley was the most dominant closer in the game from 1988 to 1992, finishingfirst in the A.L. in saves twice, second two other times, and third once. Hesaved 220 games during the five years and never posted an ERA higher than 2.96.He gave up five earned runs in the entire 1990 season, resulting in amicroscopic 0.61 ERA. Eckersley's control, which had always been above averageeven when he was not otherwise pitching well, became his trademark; he walkedonly three batters in 57.2 innings in 1989, four batters in 73.1 innings in1990, and nine batters in 76 innings in 1991. In his 1990 season, Eckersleybecame the only relief pitcher in baseball history to have more saves thanbaserunners allowed (48 SV, 41 H, 4 BB, 0 HBP).
He was the American League's Cy Young Award winner and theAmerican League's Most Valuable Player in 1992, a season in which he posted 51saves. Only two relievers had previously accomplished the double feat: RollieFingers in 1981 and Willie Hernandez in 1984. In 1987, the Phillies' SteveBedrosian was named the National League Cy Young Award winner. Since Eckersley,one other reliever, ric Gagn, has won Cy Young honors (Gagn won the NationalLeague award in 2003 with the Los Angeles Dodgers). His numbers slippednoticeably following 1992: although Eckersley still was among the leagueleaders in saves, his ERA climbed sharply, and his number of saves neverclimbed above 36.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, hisfirst year of eligibility. He is also noted as the pitcher who gave up adramatic, walk-off home run (a phrase Eckersley coined after this home run) tothe injured Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
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