Monday, January 21, 2013

Collection: A Tom Niedenfuer Fan Favorite Autographed Card

I find it funny that Tom Niedenfuer was given a fan-favorite card in Topps 2005 Baseball card set.  If anything, his status with the fans is mixed.  He was very good as a Dodgers reliever, and is noted for saving 64 games for the Dodgers over 7 seasons.  His ERA in that time was a very respectable 2.76, his ERA+ was 128, and his Dodgers career WAR was a 9.3.  These are all very good numbers for a reliever.

Unfortunately, closers are often judged by how they perform in the big games, and Niedenfuer is notable for losing two of the biggest in Dodgers history.  On back-to-back nights, Tom Niedenfuer gave up walk-off home runs in the 1985 National League Championship series against the Cardinals. 

First, in Game 5 (with the series tied at two wins a piece) Ozzie Smith came up to bat and pounded his first career home run as a left handed batter to win the game.  Then in the following game, Jack Clark came up with two men on and belted a walk-off home run that still gives me tears.

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  1. I was a big fan of his. I didn't think that home run to Clark was his fault. He had already been overworked the last part of that season and had already faced Clark once that game and got him out. He deserves to be remembered much better by Dodger fans. Today using your closer in back to back games and a multi inning save appearance would be unthinkable. It was obvious he was exhausted and had a tired arm, but Lasorda didn't really have a choice that year, since Howe was suspended, Franco was traded and everyone else was ineffective.

    When I met him at Frank and Sons and got his autograph, he wrote 1981 World Champion on it, which he didn't need to do since I thought he was a terrific Dodger.

    1. I don't disagree with you. Niedenfuer was a great reliever for us, and ranks as one of those players I enjoyed watching- even knowing many other fans did not feel the same way. Unfortunately, he is likely to be more remembered for those walk-off home runs than anything else, and I would be remiss not to make note of that.


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