Dennis Lee Eckersley
Born: Oct. 3, 1954 in Oakland, Calif.
Debut: 1975 | Pos: P
H: 6'2" | W: 190 | B: R | T: R
>> Visit the Dennis Eckersley biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Dennis Eckersley's career was seemingly in a tailspin. The starting pitcher had just completed a 6-11 season with the Cubs in 1986 and the team was ready to cut him loose.
Luckily for the Cubs, at least they thought so at the time, Oakland was willing to take on the struggling starter's salary.
Then, the magic transformation happened as Eckersley found his way again -- as one of the best relievers in the history of baseball. He was elected to Baseball's Hall of Fame in 2004.
In 1988, he posted 45 saves and a 2.35 ERA. In 1992, he was named AL MVP and won the Cy Young Award after posting a 7-1 record and 51 saves with a 1.91 ERA. At the time, he was only the second pitcher to ever record more than 50 saves in a season.
As a starting pitcher, Eckersley had also had some outstanding performances including a no-hitter on May 30, 1977. After being traded to Boston in 1978, he put together back-to-back seasons of 20 and 17 wins.
However, his relationship soured with the Boston fans and ownership and he was traded to the Cubs who helped with a 10-8 record in 1984. His bout with alcohol continued to effect his career and 1986 was his last season in a Cubs uniform.
He decided on his own to seek help with his alcohol problems. However, Cubs officials were unaware of his treatment and traded him in early 1987 for three little known players.
From there, his career as a reliever bloomed. One dark moment, however, came in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series when Eck surrendered one of the most memorable home runs ever to the Dodgers' Kirk Gibson.
Eckersley finished his career just 3 wins shy of 200 and compiled 390 saves. Following baseball, he took part in broadcasts of Athletics' games.