Sunday, September 24, 2017

Pete Richert (#590)

Here is Pete Richert’s high-numbered 1967 card. The 1967 7th-series cards were not sold in my area, so I had no idea who Pete was (other than that he was traded to the Orioles for Mike Epstein and Frank Bertaina in early 1967) until getting his 1968 card the following year.

Pete was signed by the Dodgers in 1958, and after 4 years as a starting pitcher in the minors he made his Dodgers’ debut in April 1962, setting a record by striking out the first 6 batters he faced.

From 1962 to 1964, he was up-and-down between the Dodgers and their triple-A team (first in Omaha, and later Spokane).

After the 1964 season, Richert was part of the 7-player deal with the Senators that saw Frank Howard, Ken McMullen, Phil Ortega, Dick Nen, and Richert headed to Washington in exchange for Claude Osteen, John Kennedy, and cash. (I wonder if any of these guys was ever called "Old 5-for-2"?)

Richert made an immediate impact with the Senators. In 1965 he led the staff in wins (15), strikeouts (161, almost double the next guy), ERA (2.60), innings (194), starts (29), and complete games (6).

He was the Sens' #1 pitcher in 1966 also, leading the team in wins (14), strikeouts (195), innings (245), and starts (34). His 3.37 ERA was the lowest among the starters. Pete made the All-Star team in both seasons.

You would think Richert would be a keeper, but after a 2-6 start in 1967, in late-May he was traded to the Orioles for a much-needed slugging 1st baseman (Mike Epstein). Richert was a starter for the Orioles for most of the season, but had an off-year (as did most of the Orioles in ’67), only going 7-10 in 26 games (19 starts) with 90 strikeouts.

The Orioles rebuilt their starting rotation in 1968, so Richert was relegated to the bullpen that season, and stayed there for the remaining 7 seasons of his career. In '68 he was the only southpaw in the ‘pen.

In 1970 Richert led the team with 13 saves, and had an ERA of 1.98 while pitching 54 innings across 50 games. In 1971 the team acquired lefty Grant Jackson from the Phillies, pushing Richert down on the bullpen ladder.

Pete pitched in 3 consecutive World Series for the Orioles (1969-71), but after the '71 season, he returned to the Dodgers in the Frank Robinson trade. For 2 seasons with the Dodgers, he was just another reliever not named Jim Brewer.

Richert spent his final season (1974) with the Cardinals and Phillies. The Dodgers traded him to St Louis for Tommie Agee, then in mid-season he was sold to the Phillies.

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