Tuesday, March 18, 2014

no. 273 - pete richert

Who is the man: Pete Richert was entering 1971 after being the World Champion Orioles' most effective relief pitcher in 1970, compiling a 1.98 ERA in 50 games.

Can ya dig it: Richert is pretending to throw warm-ups in Miami Stadium, which is where the Orioles held spring training through the 1960s, 70s and much of the 80s. You can see the palm trees, of course, and the tell-tale outfield light towers.

Right on: That hand is almost 3-D.

You see this cat Richert is a bad mother: Richert set a major league record in his career debut by striking out the first six batters he faced in 1962. Richert was pitching for the Dodgers against the Reds. Among the players he struck out, on what was the defending National League champions at the time, were Vada Pinson and Frank Robinson.

Shut your mouth: Richert once roomed with Orioles reliever and noted prankster Moe Drabowsky. Afterward, in 1969 when Drabowsky was playing for the Royals against the Orioles, he snuck out of the bullpen and began to pelt the area where the Orioles relievers sat with baseballs and stones.

But Richert and fellow reliever Eddie Watt got their revenge two days later. A loud explosion went off in the Royals bullpen, the result of a cherry bomb blast. The two Orioles relievers admitted the deed was in retaliation. Said Drabowsky, "They're the only two crazy enough to do stuff like that."

No one understands him but his woman: Richert helped propel Tony Conigliaro's comeback season in 1969. After a devastating beaning, Conigliaro was in his first game back as the Red Sox started their season against the Orioles. Congiliaro hit a two-run home run in the 10th inning against Richert to tie the game 4-4. Two innings later, Conigliaro scored the game-winning run.

(A word about the back): Richert pitched to a single batter to get his save in Game 1 of the 1970 World Series. With the Orioles ahead 4-3 and Pete Rose on first base after a two-out walk, Richert got the Reds' Bobby Tolan to line out to end the game.

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