Bob Stoddard – 1983 Topps

December 19, 2010

Just Another Generic Mariners  Pitcher

Of all the expansion teams, the Mariners seemed to be the blandest. They weren’t the worst team, they seemingly made decent expansion picks, and they didn’t have colorful characters hanging around.

They could have used a Hot Rod Kanehl or a Coco Laboy.

What they did have was a preponderance of blah pitchers.

Stoddard had a bleah year in the minors in 1982, 7-11, 5.20 with only 86 whiffs in 147 innings pitched. But when he got to the bigs in late August, he put together a decent stretch going 3-3 with a 2.41 ERA. But he didn’t strike many people out and needed a decent defense behind him. Pitching to contact is the vernacular, and sometimes that can backfire.

But you wonder after his good September in 1981 why he was even in the minors in 1982. But that was a big reason the Mariners were bleah – they made incorrect personnel decisions at almost every juncture, collecting a bunch of mediocrities and over-the-hillers.

Stoddard was one of the big hopes for the 1983 Mariners. They had a young staff in 1982 except for Perry. The ‘grizzled’ vets were Floyd Bannister, Mike Stanton (not the Brave), Bill Caudill and Jim Beattie – none older than 27. Mike Moore was 22, Gene Nelson 21, Ed Vande Berg 23. Bryan Clark and Stoddard were just 25. And Ed Nunez was a baby at 19.

But this being the Mariners, these young pitchers were also pretty darn bleah. Except for Caudill shaving 1/2 of his beard they were juts interchangeable pitching automatons (or so it seemed).

They changed some of the parts and got worse as a team in 1983 (60-102) – and they didn’t have any excuses really. They got older and got worse. Their young players didn’t develop. Stoddard went 9-17 even though his ERA+ was 97. The team was last in runs scored. In fact, this was the Mariners team that scored the least runs until the 2010 version.

About the only interesting thing that happened to this team was that Manny Castillo came in and pitched 2 2/3 innings (giving up seven runs) in a 19-7 loss to Toronto. The interesting thing was that it was one of the rare position-player pitching appearances that was not finished by a position-player. Caudill pitched the ninth for the Mariners. Well, only 6,593 people saw this (or bought tickets to see it) so thank goodness for anonymity.

To me, Bob Stoddard is the epitome of the early Mariners – some early promise, some odd decisions, a truly mediocre performance, and then a vanishing act. Stoddard pitched poorly in 1984, worse in the minors in 1985 and was released.

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