Rocky Childress – 1988 Topps

January 21, 2011

That’s A…Rocky?

Funny, I thought someone named Rocky Childress would be a bit…tougher looking…

Maybe it’s the stripes.

Rocky Childress sounds like either a NASCAR driver (maybe IndyCar, but never F-1), a Boss Radio AM DJ (Rocky Childress here with the Top 5 at 5!), or a backup QB for Alabama.

But he’s a California dude named Rodney Osborne Childress (ROC – Rocky! – I get it…I guess) who threw 107 innings of low-impact relief for the Phillies and Astros.

Rocky was an afterthought for the Astros in this era. Even after compiling a 2.98 ERA in 1987 (and snagging this card) he didn’t make the club out of Spring Training in 1988.

Of course, a dive into his 1987 stats said that despite that good ERA, he blew four saves with no holds or saves, and allowed 14 of his 23 inherited runners to score.

Rocky was called up in 1988 and was doing OK before he got skulled in two straight outings in late june ( 9 ER in 6 1/3 innings total) and was sent back down. He came back up in September, was hit hard again, and entered game 161 for the Astros with a 7+ ERA.

On Oct. 1, the Astros played host to the Padres in an attempt to salvage SOMETHING from 1988 and finish third. The Padres were ‘surging’ over .500. A lot was on the line, as can be told by a crowd of 10,452 patrons who no doubt thought the Oilers were playing instead of the Astros.

Bob Forsch starts for Houston and gets rocked early. He leaves in the second with two on and three runs in already, and Hal Lanier calls out for the Rockster.

Childress whiffs Carmelo Martinez to stanch the bleeding. He pitches through the sixth, whiffing eight in 4 1/3 innings while allowing just two baserunners.

He’s rewarded for this performance by being quietly taken off the 40-man roster during the winter, and sent to Tuscon where he toiled for all of 1989.

Baseball is a cruel mistress. Even if you have a jet-liner ERA, you can whiff 8 in 4 1/3. And then, you can whiff 8 in 4 1/3 and get sent to the minors, never to return.


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