Thursday, November 19, 2009

1976 Topps #272 - Rick Dempsey

  • Rick Dempsey managed to play in four decades. He started in 1969 and ended his career in 1992. Rick was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in 1967. He played in single-A ball from 1967-1969. Dempsey was given a September call-up as a 19-year-old in 1969 and had three hits in six at bats.
  • Dempsey spent most of the next several seasons in the minors. He had brief appearances in the majors in 1970 and 1971 (total of 20 at bats) and stayed around a bit longer in 1972 (.200 in 40 AB). After the 1972 season Rick was traded to the New York Yankees for Danny Walton. In 1973 Dempsey spent most of the season in AAA and was called up by the Yankees in September (he played in six games).
  • Rick stayed up with the Yankees in 1974 and became Thurman Munson's backup. He batted .239 in 109 at bats in 1974 and .262 in 145 at bats in 1975. Dempsey started the 1976 sesaon with the Yankees and was traded with Tippy Martinez, Rudy May, Scott McGregor, and Dave Pagan to the Baltimore Orioles for Doyle Alexander, Jimmy Freeman, Ken Holtzman, and Grant Jackson. The deal was a good thing for Rick since he was given more playing time with the Orioles. Rick didn't fare very well in 1976 (.194 in 216 at bats for both teams), but he improved later.
  • In 1977 Rick split time at catcher with Dave Skaggs. Skaggs had the better offense and fielding percentage, but Dempsey had the better arm. Rick ended up batting .226 in 270 at bats.
  • Dempsey became the starting catcher in 1978 and held that position most of the time through the 1986 season. He wasn't in there for his bat (his highest batting average during this time was .262 in 1980), but for his glove. Rick's fielding percentages never dipped below .984 during this period, and until the last few years of his run as Baltimore's starting catcher he usually threw out at least 45% of opposing base stealers.
  • Rick did well in the post season. In 1979 he batted .400 in the ALCS and .286 in the World Series. In 1983 he didn't do so well in the ALCS (.167), but he batted .385 in the World Series and was named World Series MVP.
  • After the 1986 season Dempsey became a free agent and signed with the Cleveland Indians. He was part of a three-catcher rotation in Cleveland in 1987 and batted .177 in 141 at bats. The Indians released Rick after the '87 season and he caught on with the Los Angeles Dodgers during spring training in 1988. For the next three seasons Dempsey served as Mike Scioscia's backup and got another World Series ring with the Dodgers in 1988.
  • Dempsey became a free agent after the 1990 season and signed with the Milwaukee Brewers. He played in 60 games as a catcher, first baseman, and even a pitcher (two one-inning stints), batting .231 in 147 at bats. Rick was released after the 1991 season. He was unsigned until June of 1992 when the Orioles picked him up. Rick played with the Orioles for two weeks and .111 in nine at bats before his release on July 8.
  • After his playing career Rick managed in the Orioles' system for several years. He then coached with the Orioles (usually at first base) and also did some broadcasting for the team.
Rick has just released a CD entitled "Home Run Holiday":

Here is an amusing compilation of bloopers from "Dempsey's Dugout":

  • Liked to face: Tommy John (.389 in 36 AB); Rick Waits (.472 in 36 AB); Mike Caldwell (.361 in 36 AB)
  • Hated to face: Bert Blyleven (.133 in 30 AB); Britt Burns (.100 in 30 AB); Bruce Hurst (.148 in 27 AB)

1 comment:

  1. Looks like we have another Tim McCarver on our hands.