Bob Shirley – 1979 Topps
February 2, 2012
Please, I’ve Heard That Joke 1,421,487 Times Already…
I just wanted to pass along something when researching Mr. Shirley’s career after filing away some of my recent trade booty.
In 1979 (the year of this card), Mr. Shirley pitched in 49 games, starting 25 times.
Not that unusual for that era. Swingmen were common. Many teams had a guy that was the fill-in starter / long man (pull cord in case of injury or ineffectiveness).
Bob’s 1978 line was 50 games, 20 starts, 8-11 record, five saves.
So here comes 1979, and there was hope in Padres land after an 84-78 record the year before. Shirley was slotted into the same swingman role.
But San Diego and Roger Craig couldn’t settle on a rotation. Randy Jones started 39 times (and you wonder why he was out of the league within a few years). Gaylord Perry started 32 times.
Bob was third on the list with 25. Remember he pitched in 49.
The Padres also used guys like Bob Owchinko, Eric Rasmussen, John D’Acquisto, Steve Mura, and the corpse of Mickey Lolich as starters, filling in when needed. Not the deepest bunch in the biz. So when Shirley wasn’t starting he was probably pretty busy.
Rasmussen and Owchinko were used in a similar was to Shirley. Rasmussen threw 156 2/3 innings and Owchinko toed the slab for 149 1/3.
Shirley hurled 205.
As a swingman, he pitched 205 innings. That’s with just four complete games.
He wasn’t mollycoddled at all. Mainly because there weren’t many options or alternatives for a 68-93 team.
But that was his life. In his career, per 162 games, he pitched 50 games, 18 starts and 163 innings .
I…I did not realize that!