Friday, February 3, 2017

Your 1981 Red Sox Pt. 6: Steve Crawford

In this series, I will look at each player who played in 1981, the year I was born. Because, why not?
A wave of young pitchers were starting to find their way onto the Red Sox roster in the early 1980's.  The team had a terrific crop of young pitchers in Bruce Hurst, Bob Ojeda, John Tudor, Dennis Boyd, and Roger Clemens, among others, over the next several years.  One of the earliest pitchers to make the leap was Steve Crawford, who was not at the same level as the earlier mentioned names.

Crawford was signed as an amateur free agent in 1978.  He moved quickly through the minors and made his Major League debut in September of 1980, appearing in six games including four starts.  He was a fairly impressive 2-0 with a 3.62 ERA in 32.1 innings.  He started the 1981 season in the starting rotation after his encouraging debut and spent the entire season in Boston.
He started the season in the starting rotation and pitched well in his first start of the season, throwing eight innings, giving up just two unearned runs while striking out five and walking one.  He took the loss in a 5-1 game to Jim Palmer and the Orioles.  After that, he had a string of mostly less-than-impressive starts.  He was 0-5 with a 4.96 ERA when the players' strike started in June.  The team lost confidence in Crawford and he barely played when play resumed, making one start and two relief appearances in low-leverage situations.  Crawford finished the season 0-5 with a 4.99 ERA, striking out 29 and walking 18 in 57.2 innings.
The 1982 season saw Crawford return to Pawtucket for more seasoning and he appeared in just five games at the Major League level.  He spent the entire 1983 season in the minors.  When he returned to the Majors to stay in 1984, he was a relief pitcher and he had a few decent seasons, including leading the team in saves in 1985 (12).  Crawford was with the Red Sox through the 1987 season and was 19-16 with a 4.15 ERA and 17 saves.  He struck out 195 and walked 126 in 382 innings.  Crawford was never really a star with the Red Sox, despite having impressive stuff.  He had his most success out of the bullpen in the mid-1980's.  He was a member of the 1986 American League champions.

He left the team as a free agent in May of 1988 but did not play in the Majors the entire season.  Crawford re-emerged with the Royals in 1989 and played a couple of seasons.  He had a good season in 1989 before struggling again in 1990 and 1991.  He retired after the 1991 season.  

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