clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Happy Birthday Bill Caudill

Throwing hard: Jays’ Bill Caudill put his injured shoulder to the test in workout prior to last nigh Photo by Tony Bock/Toronto Star via Getty Images

Bill Caudill turns 67 today.

For those who don’t remember, 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 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 decent 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, 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. At the time, $4.5 million fortune, and of course, we know there aren’t many long-term closer contracts that work out well, at least not for the team.

The following season could have gone better. Caudill 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, Jimy didn’t have many high-leverage innings 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, a 3.68 ERA in 445 games, and 24 starts.

Happy Birthday, Bill.

It is also outfielder Joe Cannon’s 70th birthday.

Cannon played two seasons with the Jays (1979 and 1980) after coming over in a 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.

There is an interesting little bit on Lomongello’s Wikipedia page:

In 1982, a few years after leaving baseball, Lemongello and Manuel Seoane, a former Wichita teammate, were arrested for the kidnapping and robbery of Lemongello’s cousins Mike Lemongello, a former professional bowler, and Peter Lemongello. Lemongello was sentenced to seven years probation after he pleaded no contest to the charges

  • 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 play 11 seasons with the Astros and was a solid catcher with the glove and the bat. We did have three good young catchers, with Rick Cerone and Ernie Whitt, but Pat Gillick should have gotten more for Ashby. Not all of Pat’s trades were winners.

Happy Birthday, Joe.