Tidrow broke in with the Indians as a starting pitcher and won 14 games twice with poor clubs. He was TSN’s AL Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 1972 when he was the number-two man behind Cy Young Award-winner Gaylord Perry in the rotation. The Yankees acquired him in the big 1974 deal that also brought them Chris Chambliss. In 1975 they moved Tidrow to the bullpen and he was 6-3 with five saves and a 3.13 ERA. He became a valuable set-up man for Sparky Lyle, contributing ten saves and a 4-5 mark to the Yankees’ 1976 pennant. Tidrow won the LCS clincher when Chambliss hit his famous ninth-inning homer into the Yankee Stadium bleachers to beat the Royals.
Tidrow had his best season when he went 11-4 with five saves in 1977 for the World Champion Yankees, with a 5-0 record in seven starts. Moved into the regular rotation in 1978, he didn’t sustain the previous year’s success, finishing 7-11 as the Yankees won their third straight AL title and their second straight World Championship. Traded to the Cubs early in the 1979 season, he became the workhorse of their bullpen as Bruce Sutter’s set-up man, leading the NL in appearances in 1980 with 84. His odd nickname reflected his basic, simple approach to the game. Tidrow and Charlie Smith are the only players to play for the New York Mets and Yankees, and the Chicago Cubs and White Sox.