Monday, February 9, 2009

#32 - Tim Leary

When Leary's on the mound, you turn on, tune in, ground out.

OK, that was a little forced, but it was the only joke I could think of for a marginal major league pitcher who shared a name with a famous proponent of LSD.

Anyway, I remember getting this card when I was a kid and thinking Leary looked a lot more like an actor playing a baseball player than an actual player. The combination of the athletic stretch pose, soap opera looks, strong brow...ok, I'm going to go confirm my heterosexuality...

...and we're back. So anyway, the one interesting thing about this shot is that we get a look at the memorial patch the Brew Crew wore during the '86 season in remembrance of longtime Milwaukee equipment manager Robert "Sully" Sullivan.

Predominantly a starter throughout his 13-year major league career, Leary was ineffective (78-105, ERA+ of 90) with one notable exception. In 1988, Leary went 17-11, 2.91 for the World Series champion Dodgers. Like just about any other LA starter, um, ever, Leary benefited greatly from the dimensions of Chavez Ravine (check out his splits), but even his away numbers that year blew his career averages out of the water. His season earned him the Comeback Player of the Year Award, which, in Leary's case doesn't really make sense because he had no history of success to "come back" to.


  1. I have to say--I don't entirely agree with your assessment of Leary. His career ERA+ (not OPS+) of 90 is not terrible, and he had a few seasons with at least 180 IP and an ERA better than league average. Even when he lost 19 games in 1990, his ERA+ was only 97.

    I'm reading Joel Sherman's book Birth of a Dynasty now, mainly about the 1996 Yankees, and it mentions that Buck Showalter offered to suck Gene Michael's dick if he managed to trade away Tim Leary, which he did. (By "did" I mean that Michael traded Leary, not necessarily that Buck sucked Stick's Dick.)

  2. Also, I was wondering if you'd be interested in posting about this creation of mine:

  3. I don't know man, I have pretty negative memories of Tim Leary. Not negative in that I disliked him, negative in that he was a throwaway starter than teams only needed if they were desperate for a back of the rotation guy. I always put him in the same category as Frank Castillo, a guy who was absolute torture to watch pitch. And oh my god I just checked out his page and Frank Castillo is the #1 most similar pitcher! I swear I wrote that before I looked at that. And thanks for calling out the typo. Fixed.

  4. Not that it matters, but this photo was taken at Detroit's Tiger Stadium, where many 1987 Topps cards were taken.