Ted Power 1988 Topps – Sully Baseball Card of the Day for May 20, 2017


I don’t play baseball video games or Strat O Matic anymore. The reason is I am a 45 year old man. I am closer to 60 than 18. The days of playing games are over.

But when I did, I would always try to employ strategies that for ME seemed to be smart but I knew would never fly in the real world.

Switching the lineups daily, using relievers as starters, using starters for an inning on their throw day, tossing out the notion of a closer and bringing in the best pitcher for the circumstances.

My pitching staff stats would look bananas by the end of the year. Guys making 20 starts would have 11 to 12 saves. Guys with 30 saves would have 4 or 5 starts but not go more than 3 innings in them.

I loved the concept of a staff where you had 3 guys go 3 innings each and rotated them so they make about 20 starts, close out 20 games and make 20 middle relief appearances.

I would love to do all of that.

But the real world would make that a near impossibility.

That’s why I was thrilled when I saw how Jim Leyland used Ted Power in a potential elimination post season game in 1990. It didn’t work, but it was straight out of my way of thinking.

The Pirates were down 3-1 to the Reds in the 1990 NLCS but took game 5 with a solid start from Doug Drabek and a save from Bob Patterson (who had 5 saves all season.)

Game 6 was in Cincinnati and was do or die for the Pirates. The Reds were throwing Danny Jackson, whose lone job it was to give Cincinnati 6 strong innings before turning it over to Charlton, Dibble and Myers.

The Pirates were expected to hand the ball to lefty Zane Smith. But Jim Leyland was thinking like your pal Sully.

The Reds heavily platooned their lineup. For lefties, Glenn Braggs and Billy Hatcher would play. Against righties, Paul O’Neill and Herm Winningham got the call.

What if the Pirates started a righty to get one side of the platoon up and then bring in a lefty to force the Reds to consider leaving them in or pinch hitting.

So who did Leyland call on? He called on Ted Power, who had saved Game 1. That’s right. Power was a bullpen closer for the opener and the starting pitcher for the potential elimination.

It was Power’s first start of the year.

The Kansas State alum was a product of the Dodger system and played for the 1981 World Champs (he didn’t get to pitch in October.) Dealt to the Reds for Mike Ramsey, he became an effective middle reliever for manager Pete Rose, saving 27 games in 1985 and settling in as a set up man for John Franco and making spot starts.

In 1987, he was moved to the rotation but was not very effective and became trade bait.

Coincidentally, he was dealt to the Royals in a deal involving Danny Jackson, whom he would be facing in 1990.

Between 1988 and 1989, he bounced between the Royals, Tigers and Cardinals before landing in Pittsburgh.

Power had a decent 1990 for the first Pirates playoff team since 1979. His 3.66 ERA was OK but not great. He saved 7 games.

Like my potential computer pitching staff, Leyland’s bullpen did not have a save compiler. Bill Landrum had 13 saves. Bob Patterson had 5, Bob Kipper had 3, Stan Belinda had 8, Scott Ruskin has 2, Vincente Palacios had 3, Power had 7 and even starter Bob Walk had one. There was no tyranny of the save here.

Power came into Game 1 with the tying run on second and the winning run on third and one out. The Reds tried a double steal. Catcher Mike LaValliere saw he had no shot to get the runner at third and threw out pinch runner Billy Bates at second. Power then struck out Chris Sabo to earn the save.

He made one more relief appearance before getting his surprise start.

Reds manager Lou Piniella saw what Leyland was doing and made his line up a bit of a hodge podge. O’Neill got the start but so did Billy Hatcher. And Hal Morris, who was a cinch to start against the right hander, also sat.

Power wasn’t bombed but was hardly brilliant. He threw 2 1/3 innings, allowing 3 hits and a run.

With one out and one on in the third, Zane Smith came in to relieve with Pittsburgh trailing 1-0. The Pirates would tie the game but a pinch hitter for O’Neill, Luis Quinones, drove the go ahead run in against Smith. Carmelo Martinez almost hit a game tying homer against Randy Myers in the 9th but Glenn Braggs caught it over the wall.

Braggs was not in the starting lineup against Power but came in as a defensive replacement. The game was a 2-1 final and the combination of Power and Smith held Cincinnati to 2 runs into the 7th.

It wasn’t as if Leyland’s strategy failed. It is tough to win when 2 runs allowed is too much.

We thought alike.

Power starts and gets the team into a state of confusion. You need the bats to hit as well to make it really work.

Hopefully someone else will use that train of thought some 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)