Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sunday School: Phillies History Lesson 96

Relief pitcher Larry Andersen spent two different stints with the Phillies, once in the 1980's and another in the 1990's. The right-hander was originally selected in the 7th round of the 1971 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians out of high school.

Andersen made his Major League debut with the Indians in 1975 as a 22-year-old and posted a 4.76 ERA in 3 relief outings. He went back to the minors for the 1976 season, but returned to the big show in 1977 for 11 games.

Following the 1979 season, Andersen was dealt to Pittsburgh, but never appeared at the big league level for the Pirates. Following the 1980 season, the native of Washington state was sent to Seattle as a player to be named later in a swap from much earlier in the year.

As a member of the Mariners, Andersen became a mainstay out of the bullpen, appearing in 81 games over two seasons. In his debut campaign with the M's, Andersen looked sharp, posting a 2.66 ERA with a 3-3 record. However, the following year, his ERA shot up to 5.99 and led to him being sent back to a National League club.

In 1983, the Phillies purchased Andersen's contract from the Mariners. Andersen would add depth to the Phils' relief corps and helped the team lock down the NL pennant. Andersen pitched in two games of the World Series against the Baltimore Orioles that year.

The next year, in his first full season with the Phillies, Andersen tallied an impressive streak of 33 consecutive scoreless innings in relief, the second longest stretch of its kind in team history. In 64 appearances that year, Andersen threw 90 2/3 innings and notched an outstanding ERA of 2.38.

Andersen rolled that exceptional campaign right into the next season, beginning the year with 15 straight scoreless frames. He struggled through the second half of the season, however, and ended 1985 with a 4.32 ERA in 57 outings.

After hitting a rough patch to open the 1986 season, Andersen was released by the Phillies in May. He was soon signed by the Houston Astros, where he was a key contributor out of the bullpen for more than four years.

As a 37-year-old in 1990, Andersen had a particularly great season, posting a 1.95 ERA in 50 games and was in high demand for the eventual NL East division champion Boston Red Sox. In what became one of the most notorious trades in MLB history, the Astros worked a deal to acquire future Houston legend, NL most valuable player and four-time All-Star Jeff Bagwell, straight up for the aging Larry Eugene Andersen.

The following off-season, Andersen signed as a free agent with San Diego, where he would record a career high 13 saves in 1991. Recurring arm trouble limited his activity with the Padres.

In 1993, Andersen returned to Philadelphia as a free agent. His first season back with the Phillies was marked by another post-season run. In 64 games that year, Andersen was excellent, as he sported a 3-2 record and 2.92 ERA in 64 regular season games.

The veteran wasn't as solid in the post-season, as he combined to post a 13.50 ERA in 7 combined outings in the National League Championship Series and in the World Series.

Off-season knee surgery led to trouble in 1994, as multiple trips to the disabled list ended Andersen's season in July.

After not making the Phillies roster out of spring training in 1995, Andersen served as a player/coach for Double-A Reading. He spent the next two seasons as a pitching coach in the Phillies developmental ranks before he was added to the big league broadcast team in 1998, where he has worked ever since.

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