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November 05, 2007

Martin's Old School Pen In '77

Have you ever looked at the 1977 Yankees pitching staff? Here are the pitchers who started games for the team that season:

Pitcher	        Games Started
Ed Figueroa	32
Mike Torrez	31
Ron Guidry	25
Don Gullett	22
Catfish Hunter	22
Ken Holtzman	11
Dick Tidrow	 7
Gil Patterson	 6
Ken Clay	 3
Dock Ellis	 3

As you can see, the starting rotation that championship season was basically Ed Figueroa, Mike Torrez, Ron Guidry, Don Gullett and Catfish Hunter.

Here are the pitchers who came into games as a reliever in 1977 for New York:

Pitcher	       Relief Appearances
Sparky Lyle	72
Dick Tidrow	42
Ken Clay	18
Ken Holtzman	 7
Ron Guidry	 6
Gil Patterson	 4
Stan Thomas	 3
Larry McCall	 2

To me, this is an amazing stat. This shows you that, over the course of the 162-game season in 1977, Billy Martin basically only used a two-man bullpen that year: Sparky Lyle and Dick Tidrow.

Now, that's old-school, huh?

Posted by Steve Lombardi at November 5, 2007 09:25 AM


Over the summer, the NY Post ran a boxscore for every game the Yanks played in 1977. I'd check it every day out of curiosity and the one thing I noticed was that either Lyle or Tidrow pitched in almost every game from early August to late Septemeber. I don't know if that was merely my impression but it certainly seemed that way every time I checked the paper.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 5, 2007 10:22 AM

It's a lot easier using a two-man bullpen when your starters finish games. The '77 Yankees had 52 complete-game starts from their starters. Just for comparison, under Joe Torre the most CGs were in '98, when they had a fairly impressive (by modern standards) 22. This year there was one lone CG -- by Wang.

Posted by: baileywalk [TypeKey Profile Page] at November 5, 2007 01:18 PM