Dick Radatz

This 6’6″ 230-lb flamethrower was a devastating reliever from the time he joined the Red Sox in 1962 through 1965, saving 100 games in four years and winning 49 more. Radatz had unusually fine control for a one-pitch strikeout artist. As a rookie in 1962, he led the AL with 62 appearances, nine relief wins, and 24 saves to gain Fireman of the Year honors.

Radatz was even better in 1963. He won 10 consecutive decisions on the way to a 15-6 record, a 1.97 ERA, and 25 saves. Yankee manager Ralph Houk called him “the greatest relief pitcher I have ever seen.” Houk named him to the 1963 All-Star squad, and Radatz struck out Willie Mays, Dick Groat, Duke Snider, Willie McCovey, and Julian Javier while working the last two innings. Another Fireman of the Year season followed in 1964, when Radatz made 79 appearances and led the league with 29 saves, 16 wins, and nine losses in relief. He recorded a win or a save in 45 of Boston’s 72 wins and struck out 181 batters in 157 innings. But he called the 1964 All-Star Game his biggest disappointment; he gave up a three-run homer to Johnny Callison with two out in the ninth to lose 7-4.

Radatz saved 22 in 1965, but by 1966 he was losing movement on his fastball, and he was traded to Cleveland. Unable to convert to finesse pitching, he was out of the majors in 1968. He resurfaced with the 1969 Tigers and finished with the expansion Expos. He never made a start in 381 ML games, and he retired with 122 saves.