Norm Charlton 1992 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for July 10, 2017


In 1990, in the wake of the Pete Rose suspension and scandal, the Reds and Lou Piniella went wire to wire to win the NL West, beat the Pirates in the NLCS and stunned Oakland with a 4 game sweep to win it all.

And no small reason for that title was the emergence of The Nasty Boys. That is the bullpen that so many other World Series participants have been measured against.

Randy Myers got the saves. Rob Dibble got the quotes. Norm Charlton was the most anonymous of the three but he was no slouch.

And evidently he is no dummy either.

The Sherrif was born in Louisiana but went to high school in Texas. The Expos drafted Charlton as a first rounder in 1984 out of Rice.

As Charlton was moving up the Expos system, the parent team craved infielder Wayne Krenchicki for some reason. Charlton was sent packing to Cincinnati for Krenchicki who played one season in Quebec.

The Reds got a Nasty Boy. It was clear in the first year that Montreal made a mistake. He pitched well for AA Vermont, winning 10 games and keeping his ERA down to 2.83 over 22 starts. He moved up to AAA in 1987 and 1988 and earned his way onto the big league roster. He initially was a starter but in the tumultuous 1989 Reds season, he was converted to a set up man to John Franco and Rob Dibble.

With Rose suspended and Piniella in Cincinnati, a weight was lifted from the franchise in 1990. Franco was dealt to the Mets for Randy Myers and the Reds talented team could just focus on baseball.

From the start, he was a reliable strikeout artist for the Reds, fanning 4 in 2 2/3 innings in his first game of the year. Matched with Dibble and Myers, games were over in the 7th and the Reds never fell out of first place all year long.

Down the stretch, injuries forced Charlton into the rotation and he responded with soem fine outings in the last 2 1/2 months of the season. He threw a 3 hit shutout against the fading defending NL Champion Giants on August 10th and threw 8 shutout frames for his 10th win of the season on August 25th against the eventual East champion Pirates.

When the playoffs showed up, Charlton was back in the pen. It did not start well as he let up the go ahead run and took the loss in Game 1 of the NLCS against Pittsburgh. But he earned the decision in the Game 6 clincher as the Reds went on to the World Series.

He threw a shutout inning in the Reds Game 2 extra inning victory. That turned out to be his lone World Series appearance as the Reds shockingly made quick work of the defending World Champion A’s.

After the 1991 season, Randy Myers was dealt to San Diego and suddenly Charlton got his chance to close. He saved 26 games and earned his first trip to the All Star Game.

Injuries derailed his 1993 and 1994 season but after a failed comeback in Philadelphia, he joined Seattle and his former Reds manager Lou Piniella. He became the Mariners closer as they made their unlikely march to the post season. Charlton’s dynamic September earned him pitcher of the month.

He played in the post season for Seattle in 1995, 1997 and with the 116 win team in 2001. He finished his career in the ALCS for the Mariners with a lifetime post season ERA of 1.08.

Still loved in Cincinnati for helping deliver a title and in Seattle for being part of their most memorable teams, Charlton has his education to fall back on.

He earned 3 college degrees at Rice, one in Phys. Ed, one in Political Science and one in religion. So he can put pray you, out legislate you and climb ropes faster.

He also was an All Star World Champion to, for what that is worth.

GLENN BRAGGS – Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero of October 12



OCTOBER 11, 1990 – National League Championship Series Game 6

In post season play, the Pirates and the Reds have forged an underrated rivalry. In 1970, 1972, 1975, 1979 and 1990, they locked horns in the NLCS. In 2013, they played the Wild Card Game against each other.

There were many dramatic games and extra inning collisions and match up of MVPs, from Rose and Clemente to Morgan and Stargell to Larkin and Bonds to Votto and McCutchen.

Perhaps the potentially most dramatic and iconic moment in this rivalry ALMOST happened in 1990. But it was foiled by a Cincinnati outfielder named Glenn Braggs, a player who did not begin the season with the Reds and started that game on the bench.

After both the Reds and Pirates missed the post season entirely during the 1980’s, they met up again in 1990. Both squads were star studded with All Stars (Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonilla, Andy Van Slyke, Eric Davis, Barry Larkin, Chris Sabo) and former Yankee prospects turned aces (Doug Drabek and Jose Rijo.)

They each had old school tough as nails managers (Jim Leyland for Pittsburgh and Lou Piniella for Cincinnati.) But the Reds had the edge in the bullpen. The “Nasty Boys” of Rob Dibble, Randy Myers and Norm Charlton were all but unhittable. They forced teams to score early because of the dominant relievers.

In Game 6, the Reds had a 3 game to 2 lead in their home park of Riverfront Stadium. Pirates manager Jim Leyland tried to take advantage of Lou Piniella’s platoon system by starting a right handed reliever, Ted Power, and then switching to left handed starter Zane Smith early in the game.

Power, Smith and two relievers held the Reds to 2 runs. But Reds starter Danny Jackson allowed only 1 hit over 6 innings. Pirates outfielder Carmello Martinez got the Pirates first hit in the fifth, an RBI double scoring Barry Bonds.

Charlton shut down the Pirates in the 7th and Myers in the 8th and time was running out for Pittsburgh.

By the ninth, Myers was ready to lock down the pennant. Along the way, Pinella made a double switch and sent Glenn Braggs to play right field in place of Paul O’Neill.

The 27 year old Braggs had been a power hitting prospect for the Milwaukee Brewers but never had his breakout season. In early June, 1990, the Reds sent pitchers Ron Robinson and Bob Sebra packing to the Brewers for Braggs and infielder Billy Bates (who will later have his own entry in this series.)

Braggs was strictly a platoon player, starting against left handed pitchers. Had Leyland started Zane Smith instead of Power, Braggs would have been in the lineup. Instead he was a defensive replacement.

In the top of the 9th, Myers kept his scoreless streak alive by retiring Bobby Bonilla. But Barry Bonds walked and up stepped Martinez.

The only player with a hit on the Pirates was in a favorable situation. He was facing the left handed Myers who had already thrown an inning and a third. Right handed reliver Rob Dibble was getting warm, but Piniella decided to manage against the book.

Martinez responded with a deep drive to right. It certainly was going to be a double with the (at the time) speedy Bonds on base. But it was carrying and looked like it had home run distance.

Carmelo Martinez was on the verge of one of the most dramatic hits in playoff history. With the series on the line, he was going to put the Pirates ahead with a line drive homer. A “Do You Remember Where You Were And Who You Were With?” baseball moment.

Except it didn’t happen. Braggs ran back and timed his leap perfectly. He caught the ball with his glove above the home run line and made a play that Paul O’Neill probably would not have been able to make.

Instead of taking the lead and making generations of Reds fans second guess Piniella for not using Dibble, the Pirates were now down to their last out. Myers struck out another right handed batter, Don Slaught and clinched the pennant.

It was a Nasty Boys NLCS with Norm Charlton getting credit for the Game 6 win and Dibble and Myers sharing the MVP honors for the series. The Reds would go on to win the World Series.

But their road to the World Series and the unblemished 1990 record of their amazing bullpen would have looked a lot different had Carmelo Martinez’s homer cleared the fence.

They can thank Glenn Braggs for keeping it in the park. For that reason, he is the Sully Baseball Unsung Post Season Hero for the Day.

Teams with multiple pitchers with post season saves since 1969

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

(Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)

The Rangers have played two game in the post season and have two saves from two different pitchers. And neither of those pitchers are named Shawn Tolleson who led the team with 35 saves.

It is refreshing when managers make decisions based on the situation rather than just drag the closer out in the 9th as a default. (Sam Dyson pitched the 9th in Game 1 instead of Tolleson. Manager Jeff Banister used Tolleson in Game 2 when it was NOT a save situation.)

The save became an official stat in 1969. Teams in the post season initially played to the situation instead of using the closer in all close 9th innings. But as saves began to pile up (especially after Tony LaRussa began using Dennis Eckersley one inning at time) and the prices of an innings closers sky rocketed, managers seemed to manage by the book and stick the closer in no matter what.

Every once in a while, a team will have multiple pitchers record a save in a post season. It does not happen often, but they pop up. Just last year, the Giants had 3 different pitchers credited with a save. If Tolleson saves a game, then the Rangers will match that total.

So here are all the teams to use more than one pitcher to save a game since 1969.

Teams with multiple pitchers with post season saves since 1969
1969 New York Mets – Ron Taylor (WS), Nolan Ryan (WS)
1970 Baltimore Orioles – Pete Richert (WS), Dick Hall (WS)
1970 Cincinnati Reds – Clay Carroll (NLCS), Don Gullett (NLCS)
1972 Oakland A’s – Vida Blue (ALCS), Rollie Fingers (WS)
1972 Cincinnati Reds – Clay Carroll (WS), Jack Billingham (WS), Tom Hall (WS)
1973 New York Mets – Tug McGraw (NLCS, WS), George Stone (WS), Ray Sadecki (WS)
1973 Oakland A’s – Rollie Fingers (ALCS, WS), Darold Knowles (WS)
1974 Oakland A’s – Rollie Fingers (ALCS, WS), Catfish Hunter (WS)
1975 Cincinnati Reds – Pedro Borbon (NLCS), Rawly Eastwick (WS), Will McEnaney (WS)
1976 Cincinnati Reds – Pedro Borbon (NLCS), Will McEnaney (WS)
1978 New York Yankees – Ken Clay (ALCS), Rich Gossage (ALCS)
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates – Don Robinson (NLCS), Kent Tekulve (WS)
1980 Philadelphia Phillies – Tug McGraw (NLCS, WS), Ron Reed (WS)
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers – Bob Welch (NLCS), Steve Howe (WS)
1982 Milwaukee Brewers – Pete Ladd (ALCS), Jim Slaton (ALCS), Bob McClure (WS)
1983 Baltimore Orioles – Sammy Stewart (ALCS), Tippy Martinez (WS)
1984 San Diego Padres – Rich Gossage (NLCS), Craig Lefferts (WS)
1985 St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Dayley (NLCS), Todd Worrell (WS), Jeff Lahti (WS)
1986 Boston Red Sox – Calvin Schraldi (ALCS, WS), Bob Stanley (WS)
1987 Minnesota Twins – Juan Berenguer (ALCS), Jeff Reardon (ALCS, WS)
1987 St. Louis Cardinals – Ken Dayley (NLCS, WS), Todd Worrell (NLCS, WS)
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers – Alejandro Pena (NLCS), Orel Hershiser (NLCS), Brian Holton (NLCS), Jay Howell (WS)
1990 Cincinnati Reds – Randy Myers (NLCS, WS), Rob Dibble (NLCS)
1990 Pittsburgh Pirates – Ted Power (NLCS), Bob Patterson (NLCS)
1990 Oakland Athletics – Dennis Eckersley (ALCS), Rick Honeycutt (ALCS)
1991 Pittsburgh Pirates – Bob Walk (NLCS), Roger Mason (NLCS)
1992 Toronto Blue Jays – Tom Henke (ALCS, WS), Mike Timlin (WS)
1992 Atlanta Braves – Jeff Reardon (NLCS), Mike Stanton (WS)
1993 Philadelphia Phillies – Mitch Williams (NLCS), Larry Andersen (NLCS)
1995 Atlanta Braves – Mark Wohlers (DS, NLCS, WS) Greg McMichael (NLCS), Pedro Borbon (WS)
1995 Seattle Mariners – Norm Charlton (DS, ALCS), Bill Risley (DS)
1996 Baltimore Orioles – Randy Myers (DS), Armando Benitez (ALCS)
1997 Cleveland Indians – Jose Mesa (DS, ALCS, WS), Brian Anderson (WS)
1998 San Diego Padres – Trevor Hoffman (DS, NLCS), Donne Wall (NLCS)
1999 Atlanta Braves – Kevin Millwood (DS), John Rocker (DS, NLCS), John Smoltz (NLCS)
1999 New York Yankees – Mariano Rivera (DS, ALCS, WS), Ramiro Mendoza (ALCS)
2000 New York Mets – John Franco (DS), Armando Benitez (NLCS, WS)
2003 Florida Marlins – Ugueth Urbina (DS, NLCS, WS), Braden Looper (NLCS)
2003 Chicago Cubs – Joe Borowski (DS), Mike Remlinger (NLCS)
2003 Boston Red Sox – Derek Lowe (DS), Scott Williamson (ALCS)
2005 Chicago White Sox – Bobby Jenks (DS, WS), Mark Buehrle (WS)
2007 Colorado Rockies – Manny Corpas (DS, NLCS), Ryan Speier (NLCS)
2008 Tampa Bay Rays – Dan Wheeler (DS), David Price (ALCS)
2009 Philadelphia Phillies – Brad Lidge (DS, NLCS), Ryan Madson (WS)
2010 Texas Rangers – Darren Oliver (ALCS), Neftali Feliz (WS)
2011 Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (DS, ALCS), Phil Coke (ALCS)
2012 Detroit Tigers – Jose Valverde (DS), Phil Coke (ALCS)
2014 San Francisco Giants – Santiago Castilla (DS, NLCS, WS), Hunter Strickland (DS), Madison Bumgarner (WS)
2015 Texas Rangers – Sam Dyson (DS), Ross Ohlendorf (DS)