Coming in at #32 on our list of 100 Greatest Red Sox is closer Dick Radatz.
Imagine a 6′6″ tall wide-body throwing a 95-mph fastball at you from a low-sidearm delivery, and you have an idea of why Dick Radatz terrorized American League batters for several years in the 1960s. -Gabriel Schechter
Schechter wrote this in a piece for the Baseball Hall of Fame to honor the passing of Dick “The Monster” Radatz. He was truly an imposing figure on the mound, due both to excellent “stuff” and his physical presence. Radatz was such a bright star in the early 60s for the Red Sox that it seems only fitting that he owes the bookends of his career to two Red Sox legends.
Radatz was born in Detroit, MI, in 1937. He attended Michigan State University, and would begin his track towards Boston as an amateur free agent after graduation. After two seasons as a starting pitcher in the minors, Radatz would be shifted to the bullpen by his manager, Johnny Pesky, in Seattle of the Pacific Coast League. Pesky thought he could be more helpful to the big league club by pitching multiple days, rather than on a set rotation. It didn’t hurt that Boston’s current “closer”, Mike Fornieles, “put up a Pineiro” in 1961 (15 SV, 4.68 ERA). Radatz would become a relief ace for the Red Sox in every sense of the word.