Red Sox: Rick Porcello’s 20th victory rekindles memories
By Tracy Katzke
Dennis Eckersley enjoyed a 24-year baseball career, which could actually be viewed as two separate careers. In the first dozen years of Eckersley’s career, he performed as a starting pitcher with the Indians, Red Sox, and Cubs. In the second dozen seasons of Eckersley’s he transitioned into an all-world closer for the Oakland Athletics and Saint Louis Cardinals. He even found his way back to Boston in his final season, although he did not close.
For his career, Eckersley has attained 197 victories, suffered 171 defeats, saved 390 games, and posted a 3.50 ERA.
Although Eckersley enjoyed success as a starting pitcher, it was as a closer for Tony Larussa’s Oakland teams where Eckersley truly thrived.
From 1975-1986, when Eckersley functioned as a starting pitcher, he won 151 games, lost 128 games and posted a solid 3.67 ERA. In addition, Eckersley was selected to two all-star games as a starting pitcher.
In 1978, as a member of the Red Sox rotation, “Eck” won 20 games, lost only 8 games, while posting a 2.99 ERA.
In the 10 seasons between 1988 and 1997, inclusive, Eckersley functioned exclusively as a closer, and posted an ERA of 2.84 while saving 370 contests.
Eckersley’s prime seasons were the five years between 1988 and 1992, inclusive. Eckersley was selected to the Mid-Summer Classic in four of those five years, posting a 1.90 ERA and amassing 220 saves. In that period, Eckersley struck out 378 batters, while displaying pinpoint control, issuing a miniscule 26 unintentional walks.
In 1992, Eckersley led the American League with 51 saves and had the hardware to prove it, earning both the AL Cy Young Award and the AL MVP.
Presently, Eckersley can be seen occasionally filling in for the RemDawg during Red Sox telecasts.
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