Elias Sosa 1979 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for June 16, 2017


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I do not go onto Linkedin often. I actually find it to be a strange platform and not 100% sure how I am supposed to use it to find work. But I check it from time to time and every once in a while, I send a LinkedIn request to someone.

One person I contacted was the Latin American Coordinator for Major League Baseball International. His name is Elias Sosa. In his previous employment, he lists 12 years and 2 months as a Major League pitcher for the Giants, Braves, A’s, Expos, Tigers and Padres.

Oddly he doesn’t have the Dodgers listed. His most famous moment in his career happened in a Dodgers uniform, but it was done at his expense.

Sosa was signed by the Giants as an undrafted Dominican free agent in 1968. This was before the explosion of players from the Domincan Republic hit the major leagues in the 1980’s but there was already a trickle of talent coming into the bigs from that small island.

In fact when he broke into the majors with San Francisco for the 1972 and 1973 seasons, he was teammates with Juan Marichal, one of the pioneering Domincan superstars. He saved a pair of Marichal victories in 1973. Sosa won 10 games out of the bullpen and saved 18, putting him third in the 1973 Rookie of the Year vote.

There was nothing cheap about Sosa’s outings either. He threw 5 innings out of the pen on August 11th in an extra innings win over the Mets. He had a 3 inning save and 4 others that were longer than 2 innings.

Sosa threw 3 2/3 shutout innings against Montreal on no days rest.

After another solid year in 1974, Sosa began bouncing all over the majors. He was traded to the Cardinals after the 1974 season. Midway through 1975, he was dealt to Atlanta.

Midway through 1976, he landed with the Dodgers. He had struggled badly in Atlanta but in 1977, he righted the ship under manager Tom Lasorda.

Almost exclusively used as a set up man, he didn’t finish many games and collected a single save. But over 63 2/3 innings, he pitched to a 1.98 ERA and walked only 12 batters all year. On July 10h, he threw 4 1/3 shutout innings, striking out 6 Padres along the way.

The Dodgers would win the NL West and face a strong Phillies team in the NLCS. Sosa allowed 3 hits and 2 runs in 2 innings to take the loss in Game 1. He did not fare well in Game 3 either, giving up an earned run and an unearned run over 2/3 of an inning. The Dodgers would win the pennant from Philadelphia.

In the World Series, he didn’t let up a run in Game 1 but was torched in Game 6. Burt Hooton had just let up Reggie Jackson’s go ahead 2 run homer in the 4th when Sosa came in to pitch. He let up a double to Chris Chambliss who came around to score. In the 5th inning with 2 outs and Willie Randolph on, Sosa faced Jackson. He only threw one pitch to him. It was a line drive into the the right field stands to make it 7-3.

In all the many montages of Reggie Jackson’s 3 homers on that clinching night, Sosa let up the second one.

It would be his last pitch in a Dodgers uniform. His contact was bought by the Pirates but he never pitched a game in Pittsburgh as he was dealt to Oakland in the middle of 1978’s spring training.

Back in the Bay Area, he had another fine season. He won 8 games and saved 14 for a team that only won 69. He opted out for free agency and joined the Expos in time for their first pennant run. He saved 18 games and posted a 1.96 ERA.

Over the next few years, he was a reliable reliever for the Montreal teams that came oh so close. He pitched in the 1981 playoffs, but was beaten by his former team, the Dodgers.

After bouncing between the Tigers and Padres, he called it a career. For the last 16 years, he has worked with coordinators instructing Latin players to get ready for the majors. Sosa was a man who can lead by example with his fine career that lasted over a decade.

I hope he accepts my LinkedIn request.

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