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Happy Birthday Bill Caudill

Moscow trade: Baseball could be used to spread American ideals throughout the world, reader suggests Photo by Jeff Goode/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Bill Caudill turns 66 today.

For those that don’t remember back that far Caudill was our B.J. Ryan for the 80s He came up with the Cubs, then went to Seattle and became one of the top closers in baseball. Then he went over to Oakland and got 36 saves in his season there.

After the 1984 season, the Jays traded Dave Collins and Alfredo Griffin for Caudill. Collins spent one not-great season with the A’s. Griffin spent three seasons in Oakland. Surprisingly the A’s used him as a leadoff hitter. Considering he had a .307 OBP with him, it was a curious choice.

After a good first season with the Jays (2.99 ERA and 14 saves), the Jays wanted to lock up Caudill for the future.

Caudill was agent Scott Boras’ first client and he got a $7 million dollar, 5-year contract for Bill. But thankfully only the first three years were guaranteed, at $4.5 million with vesting options for the next two years. $4.5 million fortune at the time and of course, we know that aren’t many long-term closer contracts that work out well. At least not for the team.

The next season didn’t go so well. He finished with a 6.19 ERA and 2 saves. He and manager Jimy Williams didn’t see eye to eye. Caudill figured it was his right to be closer, but Jimy liked the power arm of Tom Henke more. And with rubber-armed rookie Mark Eichhorn getting into 89 games and, often pitching two or more innings, there weren’t many high leverage inning left for Bill.

During the off-season the Jays released him.

He signed with the A’s but had more shoulder troubles and left baseball. He worked with Boras after retirement.

He finished with 106 career saves and a 3,68 ERA in 445 games, and 24 starts.

Happy Birthday, Bill.

It is also outfielder Joe Cannon’s 69th birthday.

Cannon played two seasons with the Jays (1979 and 1980) after coming over in trade from the Astros, with Mark Lemongello and Pete Hernandez for Alan Ashby.

The trade didn’t work out for the Jays:

  • Lemongello pitched in 18 games in 1979 and had a 1-9 record and a 6.29 ERA in 18 games.
  • Hernandez played in 11 games, split between 1979 and 1982.

Cannon got into 131 games over his two seasons with the Jays, As a fourth outfielder, DH, and pinch-hitter. With a .177/.186/.208 batting line.

Ashby would go on to play 11 seasons with the Astros and was a solid catcher both with the glove and the bat. We did have 3 good young catchers, with Rick Cerone and Ernie Whitt, but Pat Gillick should have gotten more for Ashby. Not all his trades were winners.

Happy Birthday, Joe.