Friday, July 10, 2009

1976 Topps #138 - Lerrin LaGrow

  • Lerrin LaGrow pitched for several teams from 1970-1980. He was born in Phoenix, AZ and attended Arizona State Univeristy. I never noticed this before, but he lived in Glendale, AZ in the offseason. I grew up in Glendale---I wonder what part of Glendale he lived in. At the time Glendale had only about 40,000 people. Now it has a population of about 300,000.
  • LaGrow started in the Detroit Tigers system in 1969. He put up some good stats in 1970 (11-4, 2.10 ERA) for AA Montgomery and was brought up to Detroit in mid-July. He pitched 10 games for the Tigers and was 0-1 with a 7.30 ERA. Lerrin spent the 1971 season at AAA Toledo but didn't have a good year (2-6, 6.00 ERA). LaGrow did much better for the Mud Hens in 1972 (8-6, 2.43) and was brought back to the Tigers in early August. He was used as a reliever by the Tigers and was 0-1 with two saves in 16 games.
  • Lerrin was involved in a famous incident during game 2 of the 1972 American League Championship Series. Bert Campaneris of the Oakland A's came up to bat in the 7th inning. Campaneris already had three hits and two runs scored. The first pitch from LaGrow hit Bert in the ankle. Campaneris flung his bat at LaGrow. The bat was about 5 feet off of the ground. Lerrin ducked and the bat landed behind him. A benches-clearing brawl ensued and Tiger manager Billy Martin had to be restrained from going after Campaneris. Both Campaneris and LaGrow were suspended for the remainder of the LCS. LaGrow was 6'5" and weighed 220 lb. It would have been interesting to see a mano y mano fight between him and the smaller Campaneris.
  • LaGrow started the 1973 season with the Tigers but was sent back to Toledo in mid-June. He came back to Detroit in September. Altogether, Lerrin was 1-5 with a 4.33 ERA for the Tigers in 1973.
  • Lerrin was used by the Tigers as a starter in 1974 and 1975. The Tigers were pretty bad during that time, and the W-L records reflected that. He was 8-19 in 1974 and 7-14 in 1975. The Tigers sold LaGrow to the St. Louis Cardinals just before the 1976 season.
  • The Cardinals assigned Lerrin to AA Tulsa and brought him back as a September call-up. LaGrow was 0-1 with a 1.48 ERA for the Cards in '76. St. Louis traded Lerrin to the Chicago White Sox for Clay Carroll during spring training of 1977.
  • LaGrow spent two seasons as a closer for the White Sox. In 1977 he was 7-3 with a 2.46 ERA and 25 saves in 66 games. Lerrin was 6-5 with a 4.40 ERA and 16 saves in 1978. He pitched in 11 games (0-3, 9.17) for the White Sox in 1979 before he was sold to the LA Dodgers on May 11. Lerrin pitched pretty well for the injury-racked Dodgers in 1979 (5-1, 3.41, 4 saves).
  • Lerrin became a free agent after the 1979 season and signed with the Philadelphia Phillies. He pitched in 25 games and was 0-2 with 3 saves and an ERA of 4.15. LaGrow was released on July 17 and that was it. I wonder what kind of World Series share he got.


  1. La Grow earned those saves in 1977. I saw him pitch a White Sox victory starting in the 7th inning. This was against the mighty 1977 Red Sox on July 15th of that year!!

  2. I think Campy would have torn him apart. LaGrow was bigger, but Campy was scrappy, wiry and mad.