Monday, January 25, 2010

1976 Topps #334 - Dennis Leonard

  • Dennis Leonard pitched for the Kansas City Royals from 1974-1986. Leonard was drafted by the Royals in 1972. He pitched in the minors from 1972-1974 and then was called up in September 1974. Dennis was 0-4 in 5 games (4 starts) with an ERA of 5.32.

  • Leonard spent the first month of the 1975 season in the minors. He was called up in early May and went 15-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 32 games (30 starts). Dennis went 17-10 with a 3.51 ERA in 1976. He started games 1 and 5 of the ALCS but didn't last long in either game (2.1 innings with a 19.29 ERA in the two games combined).

  • Dennis led the AL with 20 wins in 1977. He was 20-12 with a 3.04 ERA and was fourth in AL Cy Young Award voting. Leonard had a complete game victory in game 3 of the ALCS. He came on in relief in the 9th inning of the deciding game 5 and took the loss.

  • In 1978 Leonard led the AL with 40 starts and was 21-17 with a 3.33 ERA. He started game 1 of the ALCS and allowed 4 runs in a 7-1 loss. Dennis started game 4 against Ron Guidry and pitched a complete game but was on the short end of a 2-1 score.

  • Leonard missed almost a month of the 1979 season from late May to mid June. He was 14-12 with a 4.05 ERA in 32 starts. Dennis led the AL with five shutouts. Dennis Leonard: My Goal is the Hall of Fame - Baseball Digest May 1979.

  • Dennis led the AL with 38 starts in 1980. He was 20-11 with a 3.79 ERA. He started and won game 2 of the ALCS. Leonard started and lost game 1 of the World Series and then started and won game 4.

  • The 1981 season was Leonard's last big year. He led the AL in starts and innings pitched. In 26 starts Dennis was 13-11 with a 2.99 ERA. He was the starting pitcher in game 1 of the ALDS and lost 4-0. Three of the four runs he allowed in eight innings pitched were unearned.

  • Leonard started to have injury problems in 1982. He didn't pitch for the Royals from May 21-August 8. Dennis pitched a few rehab games in the minors during that time. He was 10-6 with a 5.10 ERA in 21 starts.

  • Dennis was off to a good start in 1983 before blowing out his knee on May 29. He missed the rest of the 1983 season and all of 1984. Dennis was 6-3 with a 3.73 ERA in 10 starts before the injury.

  • Leonard also missed most of the 1985 season. He pitched in two September games but that was it for the year. In 1986 Dennis had his only losing season besides his rookie year in '74. He was 8-13 with a 4.44 ERA. The Royals released him after the season and Dennis retired. Dennis Leonard - The Game I'll Never Forget Baseball Digest February 1990.

  • Liked to face: Harold Baines (.000 in 15 AB); Len Randle (.036 in 28 AB); Jim Spencer (.136 in 59 AB)
  • Hated to face: Rod Carew (.449 in 49 AB); Rickey Henderson (.441 in 34 AB); Andre Thornton (.405 with 6 HR in 37 AB)

    Dennis discussing his 1983 knee injury in 2009.

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