Wednesday, April 17, 2013

#532 - Skip Lockwood

Skip Lockwood looks concerned at what appears to be Comiskey. He is about the jillionth air-brushed Angel or Brewer in this set and those were all from the result of one trade. Maybe he was uncomfortable about going to a new home. But he was all smiles on his ’75 card so that wasn’t it. Maybe the photo was taken shortly after a tough day on the mound in Milwaukee when he got popped so hard in the chest by a Jim Holt come-backer that one of the “r’s” in Brewers came clear off his uniform. That would have been fun. But ’73 was a pivotal season for Skip. Up until then a starter nearly all the time he began to get some serious work in the pen. And though the results were pretty standard for his time in Milwaukee that move would lead to a revitalized career once he left. And that he did in that monstrous trade with California. None of those guys got an official Traded card. Topps blew that one since kids would have had to buy seven other cards to complete the set.

Skip Lockwood grew up in Norwood, Massachusetts where he played baseball, basketball, and ran track. He played American Legion ball also and in ’63 was named to a national team that played a game at Yankee Stadium. For his high school career he hit .416 and went 22-2 on the mound. He was quite sought after and after his senior year of ’64 was offered a $35,000 contract by Kansas City. A ballsy guy, Skip apparently asked if he could add a “1” to the front of the bonus and the A’s agreed (really?!). So with his record contract he went off to play some A ball and hit .208 with five homers and 29 RBI’s as a third baseman. Then in ’65 – I guess delays were allowed – he had to stay on the KC roster all season because he was a bonus baby. Like most guys in that role he rarely played, hitting .121 in 33 at bats while getting into 42 games as a late inning guy. He did have a perfect fielding record. He returned to A ball in ’66 where the next two seasons he hit .264 and .245 with modest power while at third. Both years he missed a ton of time due to military reserve work. For any number of reasons depending on the source, he took up pitching in ’68 after being taken by the Col .45’s in a Rule 5 draft and then being returned. He went 6-3 that season with a 3.60 ERA as a swing guy in A ball and was then taken by the Pilots in the expansion draft. For Seattle he went 6-2 in still-limited innings in Double A and then made his pitching debut up top late that year. He returned to the minors to kick off the ’70 season, going 4-1 with a 2.65 ERA in five starts. Then it was up to Milwaukee.

With the Brewers Lockwood got rotation time for three-plus seasons before he switched to relief. His ERA was a bit over league average and he paid for that in spades as his record was 28-55 during his time there. The big trade took him to California where for a year he had mediocre stats out of the pen, going 2-5 with a save and a 4.32 ERA. After the season he was traded to the Yankees for Bill Sudakis but then got released at the end of spring training. He returned to Oakland and for the A’s threw Triple A ball, again with a fat ERA, but going 6-2 with ten saves. That July he was purchased by the Mets and after some short work with that team's Triple A club returned to the top where for the rest of the season he went 1-3 with a save, 61 strikeouts in 48 innings, and a 1.49 ERA. Those numbers proved a pretty good indication of the success he would have in the NY pen. In ’76 he went 10-7 with 19 saves, a 2.67 ERA, and 108 K’s in 94 innings. In ’77 he went 4-8 with 20 saves and in ’78 7-13 with 15 saves, both on teams that were truly awful. In ’79 he was going great guns with a 2-5 record, nine saves, and a 1.49 ERA when he hurt his shoulder, pretty much killing his season. His home state Red Sox took a flier on him anyway in the ’80 free agent draft and signed him to a three year deal. But between a poor relationship with manager Don Zimmer that led to minimal mound time, a rib injury, and continued shoulder pain his one season there wasn’t terribly successful: 3-1 with a couple saves but a 5.32 ERA. He was released during ’81 spring training and then attempted a comeback with Montreal’s Triple A club but didn’t fare too much better than with the Sox and retired. Skip finished with a record up top of 57-97 with 16 complete games, five shutouts, 68 saves, and a 3.55 ERA. He also went 29-14 with a 3.76 ERA in the minors where he hit .237 for his career. In the majors he hit .154.

Lockwood got a degree while playing and then a couple graduate degrees including one from MIT. For a while he had his own sports psychology business but he then moved into finance. He has a very detailed SABR biography. He also has his own website, linked to here, which promotes him as a motivational speaker.

Skip’s last star bullet is worded a bit redundantly. He would also coach baseball and golf at Emerson College. He had some funny lines in “Ball Four.” One time after the author Jim Bouton got hit pretty hard during a spring training game and the two were comparing grips Skip asked him “How do you hold your doubles?”

Double hook-up time. One trade makes this easier for Mauch as a manager:

1. Lockwood and Tim Foli ’78 Mets;
2. Foli was managed by Gene Mauch on the ’72 to ’75 Expos.

It gets stretched out for Mauch as a player:

1. Lockwood and Jerry McNertney ’69 to ’70 Pilots/Brewers;
2. McNertney and Gene Stephens ’64 White Sox;
3. Stephens and Gene Mauch ’57 Red Sox.

Jerry McNertney was a back-up catcher for Chicago during the late Sixties who became the first starting catcher of the Pilots/Brewers franchise. Stephens was a reserve outfielder for a bunch of AL teams from the mid-Fifties to the early Sixties.

1 comment:

  1. I believe that should be Jerry McNertney. Not sure who Jerry McNerty is.