Wendel: Eckersley, Duncan, and La Russa

From SABR member Tim Wendel at The National Pastime Museum on December 4, 2016:

When the revolution comes, we like to believe we’ll understand the ramifications right then and there. But, of course, we never do.           

So it was when I began to cover baseball in the mid-1980s. As the “swing man” for the San Francisco Examiner, I bounced between the Giants and A’s, spelling the main beat writers.

Both teams were on the rise, with Roger Craig’s “Humm Babies” a step ahead. They won the National League West in 1987 and came within a play or two of going to the World Series. That said the real sea change was taking place across the bay in Oakland. There, Tony La Russa and his pitching coach Dave Duncan were on the verge of reinventing how bullpens would be forever deployed. All they needed was their prime candidate to close games to buy in.        

After 12 seasons in the big leagues, Dennis Eckersley considered himself to be a starting pitcher. “The bullpen? That was where they sent you when you couldn’t hold a spot in the rotation anymore,” he once told me.       

Read the full article here: http://www.thenationalpastimemuseum.com/article/eckersley-duncan-and-la-russa

Originally published: December 5, 2016. Last Updated: December 5, 2016.