All-Time Indians: Dave LaRoche

Name: David Eugene LaRoche     Position: Closer      
Tribe Time: 1975-1977           Number: 17        
Accolades: 2 Time All-Star (1976-77) DOB: 05/14/1948      
Stats W L W% ERA G SV SVO S% IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (1976) 1 4 0.200 3.79 61 21 24 0.875 96.1 57.0 25 24 2 49 104 1.10 9.7 .165
Career 8 9 0.471 3.72 135 42 49 0.857 197.1 133.0 64 55 10 113 216 1.25 9.9 .184

Dave LaRoche was one of the Indians first closers and remains one of the top closers in team history. Like many Indians closers, his time with the team was short. The 1970's were a poor time for the Indians, but one thing that stood out was their pitching. Gaylord Perry lead the staff with another future Hall of Famer, Dennis Eckersley throwing behind him in the rotation. With all this attention paid to the starting staff and top relievers surrounding him, like Jim Kern, Jim Bibby and Tom Buskey, LaRoche still stood out and made the All-Star team in both 1976 and 1977 (he was technically on the Angels when he made the 1977 team). 

LaRoche had a long career outside of the Indians, starting in 1967 when he was drafted by the California Angels. His first five years were nothing really special, closing sometimes and always used in relief while playing for the Angels and Cubs. In 1975 he was traded from Chicago along with Brock David to the Indians for Milt Wilcox. LaRoche then proceeded to have the best two seasons of his career, keeping his ERA under 2.25 for two straight seasons, something he never did before or after in a single season. After starting off 1977 poorly, the Indians cut ties with LaRoche and traded him back to the Angels in what ended up being a great deal for Sid Monge and Bruce Bochte. Monge stayed around for the next five seasons and became the greatest left handed relief pitcher in Indians history.

Dave LaRoche retired after throwing a single inning in 1983 with the Yankees, but was far from being done with baseball. He immediately went into his coaching career, starting in 1984 as a minor league pitching coach with New York. In 1989 he made it back to the pros as the pitching coach for the White Sox, but didn't stay long, becoming the bullpen coach for the Mets in 1992. He took a few years off in the 1990's, then came back as a minor league pitching coach for a few more years before retiring in 2010. His main achievement in baseball, however, is likely to be the fact that he sired a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates named Adam and Andy. Adam has so far outperformed Andy, but both infielders out-earned their  father's career salary in a single season with the Pirates.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

Quantcast