Blog #44 (Claude Osteen)

By Richard J. Decker on January 23, 2013 7:00 AM

This week there is no legal section of the blog.

Now for the Opening Day memory:

This week's Opening Day memory is from former pitcher Claude Osteen, who is most remembered from his Los Angeles Dodgers years. Although Claude was never thought as of the No. 1 starter on his particular team, he was quite a good pitcher. He had 196 career wins, a 3.30 career ERA, 1612 career strikeouts, won 20 games twice (1969 and 1972), made 3 All Star teams (1967, 1970 and 1973 when he got the win after 3 innings of work) and was a World Champion with the Dodgers in 1965 when he pitched a shutout in Game 3 against the Minnesota Twins following losses by his superstar teammates Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax. He also pitched in the 1966 World Series in a losing cause against the Baltimore Orioles and finished his post season career with an eye popping 0.86 ERA.

Claude won in double figures from 1964-1973. He was traded to the Dodgers from the Washington Senators before the 1965 season for slugger Frank Howard and was traded from the Dodgers to the Houston Astros for another slugger Jim "Toy Cannon" Wynn before the 1974 season. In addition to his tenures with the Dodgers, Senators and Astros during his 19 year playing career, he also played for the Cincinnati Reds (with whom he began in 1957), the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago White Sox (with whom he concluded his career in 1975). After his playing career, Claude was a pitching coach for multiple teams for many years. Here is his Opening Day memory.

Osteen.jpg"I remember the year Koufax and Drysdale both held out [1966]. They didn't report to spring training and didn't get their contracts settled until late, so I had to pitch the Opener. It was like, 'What am I doing here?' because I knew I didn't belong pitching on Opening Day with those guys on the staff. I pitched well, and we won."

In fact, he pitched a complete game 6 hitter and got the win over Hall of Famer Robin Roberts. Richie