Thursday, December 24, 2009

1976 Topps #305 - Andy Messersmith

  • Andy Messersmith pitched in the majors from 1968-1979. He is most famous for the 1975 Seitz Decision that took out the reserve clause. Messersmith was a first round draft pick of the California Angels in 1966. He pitched in the minors from 1966-1968 and made his major league debut on July 4, 1968. Andy was a swingman that season and was 4-2 with 4 saves and a 2.21 ERA in 28 games (5 starts).
  • In 1969 Andy was mostly a starting pitcher. He was 16-11 with 2 saves and a 2.52 ERA in 40 games (33 starts). Messersmith was 11-10 with 5 saves and a 3.01 ERA in 37 games (26 starts) in 197o.
  • Messersmith made his first All Star team and finished 5th in Cy Young Award voting in 1971. He was 20-13 with a 2.99 ERA. In his last season with the Angels (1972) Andy was 8-11 with 2 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 25 games (21 starts). He didn't pitch from late May to mid July. After the 1972 season Messersmith was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a big trade that sent Frank Robinson to the Angels.
  • In 1973 Andy was 14-10 with a 2.70 ERA in 33 starts. Messersmith had a big year in 1974. He was an All Star and finished second to teammate Mike Marshall in NL Cy Young voting. Andy also won a Gold Glove and led the NL in wins with 20. Messersmith had a record of 20-6 with a 2.59 ERA in 39 starts. Andy won game 2 of the NLCS but lost games 1 and 4 of the 1974 World Series.
  • Messersmith may have been better in 1975. In his 40 starts Andy was 19-14 with a 2.29 ERA and led the NL with seven shutouts. He was an NL All Star and won another Gold Glove.
  • Before the 1975 season Andy wanted to have a no-trade clause put in his contract. The Dodgers refused and Messersmith was offended about a "personal issue" that Al Campanis mentioned during the negotiations. He pitched the 1975 season without a contract and after the season was declared a free agent. Messersmith signed a 3-year, $1 million contract with the Atlanta Braves.
  • Andy pitched decently (but not as well as expected) for the Braves in 1976, due in part to missing spring training. He was 11-11 with a 3.04 ERA in 28 starts and was an All Star for the last time (although he was replaced due to injury). In 1977 Andy didn't pitch after July 3 due to injuries (he pitched only 1/3 of an inning in that game). He was 5-4 with a 4.40 ERA in 16 starts. After the 1977 season Messersmith was purchased by the New York Yankees.
  • Messersmith appeared in only six games for the Yankees in 1978. He made the starting rotatoin but hurt his shoulder covering first base a week before the season started. His first game was on May 29 and his last game was on July 1. Andy was 0-3 with a 5.64 ERA for the Yankees and was released after the season. Messersmith came back to the Dodgers but didn't have much left. He was 2-4 with a 4.91 ERA in 11 starts before being released on August 28.
  • Here is a Sports Illustrated piece commemerating the 30th anniversary of the Seitz decision.
  • Here is a "Where are they now" article from 2005. Andy now coaches baseball at Cabrillo College.
  • Liked to face: Bill Robinson (.000 in 16 AB); Tommy Davis (.059 in 17 AB); Darrell Thomas (.061 in 33 AB); Horace Clarke (.067 in 30 AB)
  • Hated to face: George Hendrick (.600 in 10 AB); George Foster (.500 in 20 AB); Greg Luzinski (.441 with 6 HR in 34 AB)

1 comment:

  1. Messersmith is one of my favorite Dodger pitchers, even though he pitched there for only three years. His personality reminds me of Sandy Koufax a bit. The comments on him by Mike Marshall are quite interesting.