Friday, November 30, 2012

Putting Out The Fire- Todd Worrell

Todd Worrell was a closer with so much promise that personally I believe if not for injuries that hampered most of his career. Worrell would go down as one of the great to ever play the position. A reliever with an overpowering look on the mound and even more overpowering fastball.

Entering the league late in 1985 and closing five games before the Cardinals entered the playoffs. Worrell pitched a great playoff and even making it to the World Series against the Royals that season. Once in the series Worrell pitched 3 games and made one save. The losing pitcher in game 6 of the series he was the pitcher for what many refer to as 'The Call'.

                                       AP Photo/The Kansas City Star/Patrick Sullivan

 While covering first base Royals player Jorge Orta was called safe instead of what was an apparent out. Being young and upset Worrell and his Cardinal teammates totally lost composure and the game allowing the final two runs to score. Unable to recover from the umpiring mistake, the Royals won game 7 as well 11-0
                Despite the World Series setback Todd Worrell's career was looking up. In 1986 what was his official rookie season. Worrell saved 36 games and won both the 'Rolaids Relief Man' and 'National League Rookie Of The Year'. Still a strong presence while on the mound Worrell accumulated 33 saves in 1987 and 32 in 1988. With already 106 saves in his short career Todd was looking in my opinion to be the future of closing.
        Then came 1989.. Injured in September with 20 saves and going for his career 125th. One of his first injuries, which resulted in elbow surgery ended his season early. The surgery forced Worrell to miss the entire 1990 season. When trying to make a return in 1991 he suffered another set back with a rotator cuff tear. The new injury forced the lost of the 1991 season as well and started the decline of Todd's career.
      Upon his return in 1992 the Cardinals had a new closer in Lee Smith and changed Worrell's role to set-up. After the end of the season Todd signed with the Dodgers in hopes or becoming the great he was early in his career.  Two more season passed with him struggling before Todd regained his old form and saved 111 games in his final three seasons.
            Take his yearly averages and replace the lost seasons along with the time spent regaining form. You have a pitcher that would have easily saved over 400 games in his career. Stats that would have easily made him an elite closer.
SAVES- 256
1986 NL Rookie Of The Year
1986 NL Rolaids Relief Man Of The Year
3x all-star  (1988 - 1995 - 1996)

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