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Roger Craig dead at 93: Former teams pay tribute to ex-San Francisco Giants coach


Roger Craig, who pitched for three championship teams during his major league career and then led the San Francisco Giants until the 1989 World Series which was interrupted by a violent earthquake, has died . He was 93 years old.

A Giants spokesperson said the team was told by a family member that Craig died Sunday in San Diego after a short illness.

“We have lost a legendary member of our Giants family,” Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement. “Roger was loved by players, coaches, reception staff and fans alike. He was a father figure to many and his optimism and wisdom led to some of the most memorable seasons in our history.

Craig was a 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers rookie that won the franchise’s first title. He had a terrific season for the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1959, which defeated the Chicago White Sox in the World Series. And he made 39 appearances for the 1964 St. Louis Cardinals team that topped the New York Yankees for the championship.

The 6-foot-4 right-hander also threw for the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds and Philadelphia Phillies during his 12-year career, finishing 74-98 with a 3.83 ERA and 19 saves. His best season came in 1959, when he went 11-5 with a 2.06 ERA in 29 games (17 starts), and his four shutouts tied for most in the National League.

Roger Craig rides in a cart at the LA Dodgers’ Old Timers game in May 2015

As a New York Mets pitcher, Craig pitched against the Milwaukee Braves on May 12, 1962

As a New York Mets pitcher, Craig pitched against the Milwaukee Braves on May 12, 1962

Craig started and won Game 5 of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees to give the Dodgers a 3-2 lead. He was hit hard in his next two series (1956 and 1959), then bounced back in the 1964 Fall Classic as he struck out eight in 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief to claim victory in Game 4 for the Cardinals.

But despite all his team success, Craig knew just as well what it was like to languish in last place. He started the first game in franchise history for the Mets expansion in 1962, losing 11-4 at St. Louis. In a laughingstock team that went a dismal 40-120, he paced New York with 10 wins. He was 15-46 for the Mets from 1962 to 1963, leading the Majors in losses both years.

After his playing days were over, Craig became a renowned pitching coach for the San Diego Padres, Houston Astros and Detroit Tigers – encouraging his proteges to “umm, baby” in a southern drawl.

He was part of manager Sparky Anderson’s team with the 1984 Tigers, which opened 35-5 and won the World Series. Craig has been credited with teaching two-finger fastball to Hall of Fame starter Jack Morris and 1986 NL Cy Young Award winner Mike Scott.

Craig’s first job as a major league manager came with the Padres in 1978. He guided them to an improvement of 15 wins over the previous year and the first winning record in franchise history. the team at 84-78. But he was fired after going 68-93 in 1979.

He was hired by the Giants in September 1985 and managed them until 1992, winning the NL West titles in 1987 and 1989.

San Francisco beat the Chicago Cubs in the 1989 playoffs to win its first National League pennant in 27 years, but the Giants were swept by the Oakland Athletics in a World Series billed as the Battle of the Bay.

As San Francisco Giants manager, Craig (right) was in charge during the 1989 World Series

As San Francisco Giants manager, Craig (right) was in charge during the 1989 World Series

Just before the scheduled start of Game 3 at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on October 17, 1989, a magnitude 6.9 earthquake rocked northern California, killing 67 people and causing more than $5 billion in damage. damage.

The game was postponed and the World Series resumed 10 days later, with the A’s finally completing a four-game sweep over Craig and his Giants.

He finished with a 738-737 record as a major league manager, including 586-566 for San Francisco.

Craig was born on February 17, 1930, in Durham, North Carolina, and attended North Carolina State on a basketball scholarship before signing with the Dodgers. The Giants said he is survived by his wife, Carolyn, four children, Sherri Paschelke, Roger Craig Jr., Teresa Hanvey and Vikki Dancan, seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

Merry C. Vega is a highly respected and accomplished news author. She began her career as a journalist, covering local news for a small-town newspaper. She quickly gained a reputation for her thorough reporting and ability to uncover the truth.

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