Open Thread: Dave Righetti

With 101 days to go, Yanks unveil Grapefruit League slate
The Steve is the thing
Dave Righetti amidst his July 4, 1983 no-hitter against the Red Sox. (AP Photo/Ray Stubblebine)

Thirty-three years ago today, the Yankees acquired Dave Righetti from the Rangers as part of a ten-player trade. Rags was just a minor leaguer at the time, having finished the previous season at Double-A. He debuted before I was born and left as a free agent when I was just nine years old, so I don’t remember all that much of his time with the Yankees. I do know that he won Rookie of the Year as a starter, but four years later he was in the bullpen because Goose Gossage left as a free agent.

Righetti was the Yankees all-time saves leader until Mariano Rivera showed up, and I’m willing to bet there are a lot of people out there wondering what his career would have been like had he remained in the rotation. He did have a 3.28 ERA as a starter before shifting to the bullpen at age 24, and Baseball-Reference says the pitcher most similar to Righetti at that age is Tommy Hanson of the Braves. Similarity scores don’t mean much of anything, but it’s still interesting to see. What could have been, eh?

Anyway, here is tonight’s open thread. The Devils Isles are playing, but not until later because they’re on the left coast. There’s also a new Parks & Rec which is pretty awesome. The Office sucks now though, Michael Scott made that whole show. Anything goes here, talk about whatever you like.

With 101 days to go, Yanks unveil Grapefruit League slate
The Steve is the thing
  • Steve H.

    As a 22 year old LHP he leads the AL in ERA and K/9. At 23 he leads the league in K/9 while throwing 183 innings. At 24 he starts 31 games, throwing 217 very strong innings. At 25 he’s in the bullpen. I cannot imagine something like this taking place right now. It might kill twitter.

    • Jerome S.

      I can definitely see it happening, probably in one of the batshit insane organizations though. Not New York. Somewhere like San Francisco, if their pitching wasn’t so goddamned good already.

  •!/czm93 Craig

    The Devils aren’t playing tonight–they play the Capitals tomorrow.

  • LarryM.,Fl.

    Rags was special. It was a shame to loss him to FA. Steve, you are correct that it would probably not occur with new pitchers today.

  • moonimus

    And Rags’ last out to throw a no hitter on George Steinbrenner’s birthday against the Red Sox: Wade Boggs.

    I loved Dave Righetti as our closer back when I knew nothing. He could have been a great one but his arm may have fallen off given the managers that came through the Bronx in the late 80s. Was it Stump or Dallas that sidelined Al Leiter’s career for 2 years? Rags may have had the same problem.

    Just another successful Joba conversion…

  • KeithK

    If Righetti had stayed a starter we might have been spared some starts from the likes of Andy Hawkins and Dave LaPoint. Man, looking back at those late 80’s rotations is painful.

    • Jimmy

      The days of Joe Cowley, John Candelaria and part-time DH Rick Rhoden! Blech.

  • Yankee68

    My family called him Captain Adventure. He was not “lights out”. He would save the game but make you sweat as he did it. Mo just comes in and mows them down. When he was a starter he had a hard time getting through the sixth inning.

  • Luna

    Dave Righetti was the first player I ever heckled. I was five years old and a Mariners fan. I kept yelling “Dave Righetti loves spaghetti!” from seats in the second deck of the Kingdome. Did I mention I was five?

  • voIII

    I’d love to bring him back as a pitching coach…He’s done one hell of a job in SF…

    • whozat

      I’m sure Tim Lincecum, Madison Bumgarner and Matt Cain, as well as the perennial craptacularity of the NL West helps.

      Remember Leo Mazzone? Everyone was allllll about him when he was willing to leave the braves. After all, look at the performance of the staff while he was there from 1990 to 2005! He went to the Orioles and got fired before his contract was even up.

      Dave Duncan, who has taken a number of guys who struggled before coming to St Louis and turned them into useful pitchers…ok, that’s some evidence that maybe he’s got something that he could transfer to another club.

  • S

    Wilson Ramos of the Nationals was kidnapped in Venezuela today

    • Dino Velvet

      I wonder if Cashman can get them to kidnap Burnett.

      • S

        not cool man, someones life is in danger

        • Thomas Cassidy

          You’d think that with the money these players make, they’d stay away from that area, whether it’s his home or not. Move here, Jesus. At least hire a damn bodyguard.

          • S

            You can’t have guards on you 24/7 (unless your making far more than league minimum) when they come in the middle of the night your going to be caught off guard anyway. Also Ramos has only one year service time at league minimum so he probably doesn’t have the cash for that kind of detail.

            I do agree, that he probably should move to the US, but that has its own problems if one has family still there.

    • CP

      Technically, it was last night, but it’s still crazy.

  • voIII

    I’d love to bring him back as a pitching coach…He’s done one heck of a job in SF…

  • Jimmy McNulty

    So, which players that are currently active would you say are HoFers, or 85% there? I was doing this for the NFL, and thought about it for baseball, my list: (I’ll considered Posada retired)

    Derek Jeter
    Alex Rodriguez
    Jim Thome
    Johnny Damon (he’ll get to 3K)

    Established Players that have a great shot at making it (as in I’d put money on them)

    Albert Pujols
    Miguel Cabrera
    CC Sabathia
    Roy Halladay
    Hanley Ramirez
    Troy Tulowitzki

    Maybe I’d put Felix Hernandez on this list.

    Established stars with an outside shot (i.e. gentle aging)

    Mark Teixeira
    Prince Fielder
    Adrian Gonzalez
    Brian McCann
    Chase Utley
    Robinson Cano
    Matt Holliday

    So who’d I miss?

    • CP


      • CP

        Plus Chipper Jones and Ivan Rodriguez (although, who knows how the steroid issue will affect him and ARod).

    • Freddy Garcia’s 86 mph Heat

      I’d put money on both Michael Young and Paul Konerko. Also Pujols should be on your first list.

      • Jerome S.

        Konerko? Outside shot. I think even the media acknowledges that he’s so awful as a runner and a defender it hurts the team. Personally, no, no.

        Michael Young… God I hope not. He’s basically had the same career as Damon, except not even as long. The media just gets infatuated with him when they can, though.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      Pujols plays the defensively easiest position yet has a greater career WAR than Jeter. And Pujols still has at least 3 to 4 5+ WAR years in him.

    • bexarama

      Not sure how Pujols isn’t in the top group. The only thing that could keep him out would be if he was found to be part of some major steroid ring or something.

      Mo, Pudge, and Chipper belong in the top group too. And Mauer should be in the bottom group, though yeah, last year makes his chances look bad.

      • A-Rod’s Wingman

        Yeah me missing Mo is inexcusable. Chipper, yeah. Obvi. I thought Pudge had retired. Pujols, DOES have the ten year career that is required to be in the HOF and I didn’t know he hit it. You’re right.

      • Kevin

        If anything, Pujols probably sold steroids to opposing pitchers to make his life more interesting.

    • Grit for Brains

      Andruw….Pre 2007 Andruw

    • T-Dubs

      I’d toss Scott Rolen on this list…somewhere.

      Also Vlad and Todd Helton. I’m not sure any of the 3 get in but they’ll at least spark some debate.

      • A-Rod’s Wingman

        Vlad probably deserves it, Helton, Rolen, and Berkman have great arguments too. Beltre? Ehhh. I highly doubt he makes it.

    • FIPster Doofus

      Where’s Beltre?

      • Jerome S.

        Berkman too, for that matter.

        • FIPster Doofus

          Good call.

    • Jerome S.

      I haven’t followed his career that long. Is he really that close? I still think he’s too far away. He’s definitely talented enough, though.

      • A-Rod’s Wingman

        If Tulo keeps it up and stays healthy with his defense and bat at shortstop he’ll make it. He still has several years left of good production to deliver but I’d say he’s on pace.

        • Jerome S.

          He’s been injury prone, no?
          If one of those injuries starts to stick, then it’s all downhill…
          Just playing devil’s advocate. I don’t think he’s as close as the people he was grouped with.

      • Dave M


    • Avi

      I’ve never been to the HOF. If Jonny Damon gets in I have zero interest in ever going – and I love Damon.
      Cano has more than an outside shot because of the position he plays. Ryan Braun is a player I’d put money on making it too.

    • Thomas Cassidy

      Can’t believe all you guys for Omar Vizquel.

      Forgetting Pedroia (yes, he deserves it if he keeps it up) and Halladay.

      Take Holliday off that list, he won’t get 500 home runs, and probably won’t come close to 2,500 hits, either.

      • Mike Axisa

        You really think Omar Vizquel is a HOFer?

        • Jesse

          He’ll probably be one of those guys who gets in late because of his defense.

          • Avi

            If Vizquel gets in, the Hall is more meaningless than who wins the world series.

            • Jesse

              ….Except for when it’s the Yankees.

            • FIPster Doofus

              Winning the World Series is meaningless? OK…

              • Avi

                There’s not much of a difference between making the playoffs and winning the world series. Get into the tournament and you basically have a one in eight chance of winning it. Put a sub .500 team like the Indians or White Sox in the playoffs and they’d probably have about a %35 chance of winning each individual series, Much better odds than a sub .500 team would have in the playoffs in basketball or football. It’s a shitty system.

                • Jesse

                  “It’s a shitty system.”

                  The fuck it is. The MLB Postseason is set up perfectly.

                  • Avi

                    How is a system that allows a team that goes 83-78 to be crowned “champions” perfect?

                    • Steve H.

                      So they should cancel the playoffs and award the team with the best record through 162 games the title? Or better, why not just vote on it like NCAA Football?

                    • Jesse

                      What do you want it to be like college football? Let’s just have computers decide who the best teams are. Yeah, that’ll work…

                • FIPster Doofus

                  I agree that the best team doesn’t always win the World Series, but that doesn’t make it meaningless.

            • Plank


        • Avi

          I don’t think Vizquel belongs on an all-star team.

        • Thomas Cassidy

          Borderline. He almost has 3,000 hits, but he will get in at point. Maybe not the first ballot, but he’ll be there.

  • Professor Longnose

    Righetti sucked. I never forgave him for September 14, 1985.

    • JohnnyC

      Rich Bordi actually lost that game, in relief of Bob Shirley. BTW, terrible name for a man: Bob.

      • Professor Longnose

        The ’85 team should have won that division. They started off 6-10 under Yogi, who was then canned. In September, they suddenly lost 8 games in a row. And they finished two games back. Grrrr.

  • Steve (different one)

    I love how many players used to change teams in trades

  • well you know

    Love the Rag Man, although I have to admit my clearest memory of his playing days involves sitting in a bar in Wash DC watching him give up the 3-run HR to Cey in game 3 of the ’81 WS.

    Would be great to have him back, but I wonder if Cashman and Girardi would want to bring in someone who looms so large as a Yankee icon. Makes it touchier to pull the plug if things don’t work out, for whatever reason.

    • Professor Longnose

      They canned Guidry after one season, so I don’t think they’d be afraid to fire Righetti. I always wondered what Guidry did or didn’t do that they didn’t like.

      • well you know

        Guidry had the player icon status but not the coaching pedigree. With the staff not performing well in ’07 and the managerial change in ’08, it wasn’t going to be a heavily criticized move to let him go.

        If Righetti were brought in, it would get a lot of attention and he’d be leaving an established position to take the job. If it then turned out he and Girardi(or Cashman) didn’t see eye to eye, there would probably be a lot more fuss involved in discontinuing his services.

        Maybe there’s some chance it happens years down the road if there is larger organizational upheaval and Righetti comes in with a new manager/GM.

        • JohnnyC

          Righetti is from the Bay area (his father was a farmer). Why would he want to relocate to the East Coast?

          • well you know

            Billy Martin was from the Bay Area.

            Seriously, I’m not projecting it at all, particularly since winning the WS probably makes him golden for all time in SF. But it’s not out of the realm of possibility that (5-6 years down the road) a new SF manager might want his own guy and there might be a coincidental opening in NY. And he might still be young enough to want one more go-round in pinstripes . . .

            • Jimmy

              So was Joe DiMaggio.

      • JohnnyC

        Guidry was PC from 2006-2007, not 1 season. He was Torre’s compromise choice after Stottlemyre left. Cashman wanted Joe Kerrigan.

  • Slu

    Rags was my second favorite player growing up after Donnie Baseball.

  • Uke

    Anyone read the Piliere chat today?

    Comment From Ben:
    Speaking of “real deal”, what do you think about yank’s Ravel Santana and Mason Williams?

    Frankie Piliere: Well I missed Santana late year because of his injury but there’s some people that would take him almost over any hitter in that organization. So, here’s to hoping he rebounds health wise because the talent is legit. Williams I saw a lot of. Something I’ve harped on a lot with him is his hit tool. Plenty of guys are fast and athletic but he has a real knack at the plate to go with that. Really a big Williams fan.

    • JobaWockeeZ

      He’s the Yankees Keith law but minus the douchebag moments.

      • Uke

        I was a big fan of Santana but I didn’t think scouts were that high on him.

        • Dave M

          Yeah Santana was/is a bigtime prospect. Lets hope he recovers from his injury. I hear it was pretty serious.

  •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

    Love the Rags post. Always kinda wonder, were people freaking out back then when he was moved to the pen?

    • Darren

      As an 11 year old, I was like WTF?? It seemed so MEAN at the time, like, why is George mad at Rags, what did he do wrong? And then when they tried to switch him back to a starter it was too late; the magic was gone.

      BTW, reading the Posada comments was pathetic. Posada was one of the toughest goddamn Yankees to play, probably ever, an all-time great, and this is the kind of send-off he gets? The commenting on that post was absolutely shameful.

      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        Just to clarify, the Posada comments were not from me. I was always a huge Jorge fan.

  • Jesse

    Football Question:

    If you were the Indianapolis Colts and you get the number 1 pick, do you draft QB Andrew Luck and trade Peyton Manning?

    • FIPster Doofus

      How much trade value would Peyton Manning even have? He just signed a huge contract and is coming off a major injury.

      I’d draft Luck and let him learn behind Manning for a year or two. It didn’t hurt Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees or Philip Rivers to sit as rookies.

      •!/Clay_Bellinger Clay Bellinger

        They need to figure out what they have in Peyton at this point. Can he even play? If so, at what level?

        I agree with Fipster. Draft Luck and let him sit. QBs like that (or what he’s expected to be) don’t come around often. Given the chance, they probably have to take him.

  • Jasphil

    I remember the controversy when Rags was moved to the bullpen. The best young arm the organization had developed in a long time for one inning only! Worked out for him – he was the best closer in the game and along with a few of his contemporaries, helped define the role of the modern closer. I was also at his 7/4/83 no hitter. What a thrill for a 13 year old Yankee fanatic.