Bats: Right • Throws: Right
6-6, 230lb (198cm, 104kg)
Born: April 2, 1937 in Detroit, MI
Died: March 16, 2005 (Aged 67) in Easton, MA
Buried: Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Southfield, MI
High School: Berkley HS (Berkley, MI)
School: Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI)
Debut: April 10, 1962 (Age 25-008d, 9,535th in MLB history)
vs. CLE 1.0 IP, 0 H, 1 SO, 1 BB, 0 ER
Last Game: August 15, 1969 (Age 32-135d)
vs. LAD 2.0 IP, 2 H, 2 SO, 1 BB, 1 ER
Full Name: Richard Raymond Radatz
Nicknames: The Monster or Moose
View Player Bio from the SABR BioProject
Notable Events and Chronology for Dick Radatz Career
Dick Radatz Biography
“. . . he threw 95, 96 (mph), he had great location and he’d come right at you, get you 0 and 2 and just blow you away.” – Bill Monbouquette about Dick Radatz
“He (Jack Hiatt) stood there lookin’ at it (a home run) and, boy, I was hot. I came off the mound and was yellin’ at him, ‘Keep lookin’ … go ahead, keep lookin’ … just keep lookin’.’ First pitch (next time up), I nail him right in the neck and down he goes. I came off the mound and yelled at him, ‘There you go! Stay down there and take a look at that one!’ ” – Dick Radatz in Baseball Digest (September 1996)
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 by The Sporting News.
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. Houk said, “For two seasons, I’ve never seen a better pitcher,” and reporters apparently agreed: Radatz finished 5th in MVP voting despite Boston’s 7th-place finish.
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 and posted a 2.29 ERA. 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.
Sportswriter Jim Murray wrote that “Dick Radatz brings one weapon – a fastball. It’s like saying all a country brings to a war is an atom bomb.” However, Radatz’s one-pitch arsenal was a worry for Boston, and Ted Williams encouraged him to develop a sinker. Radatz complied, but in changing his mechanics to incorporate the new pitch, he permanently lost the edge on his fastball.
In 1965 Radatz went 9-11 with 24 saves and a high 3.91 ERA. He was diagnosed with injuries in his arm and shoulder which required season-ending surgery. He never recovered his form, was traded to the Indians at the 1966 mid-season, and was sent to the Cubs the following year. Out of action for the 1968 season, he finished his career with the Tigers and Expos in 1969.
He never made a start in 381 ML games, and he retired with 122 save
Overall with Boston, Radatz saved 104 games (a team record later broken by Bob Stanley) with a 49-34 record and 646 strikeouts in 576.1 innings pitched. With the other four teams he went 6-20 with 26 saves in 117.2 innings. He appeared in 381 games and never started a game.
Dick Radatz was selected to the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame in 1997. He died in March 2005 after falling down a flight of stairs at his home in Easton, Massachusetts. The Red Sox held a moment of silence during their 2005 home opener in his honor.