Today we reach back to the Astros of the 1980s to salute the accomplishments of former Astros/Cardinals/White Sox/Phillies/Athletics pitcher Bill Dawley. If his name does not ring any bells, Dawley debuted with the Astros in 1983 and made the All-Star team that year as a rookie. He would pitch out of the bullpen for three seasons in Houston before spending a season with each of his four other teams.
One of his career high 14 saves came on this day 1983 as Dawely earned a two out save to finish a complete game shutout of the Cubs in a 1-0 win. Mike Madden took the hill for Houston opposed by Chicago’s Craig Lefferts. Lefferts outlasted Madden, pitching into the 8th, as Madden allowed one hit and 5 BB while recording 5 strikeouts over 6 innings. The game’s lone run came in the 2nd with one out as catcher Luis Pujols grounded out to 2nd to score Ray Knight from 3rd. Relief efforts from Frank LaCourt, Frank DiPino and Dawley helped to preserve Houston's one-run lead.
Luis Pujols' connection to Dawley's career goes far beyond the game that day. Originally drafted by the Reds in 1976, Dawley was traded to Houston along with outfielder Tony Walker for catcher Alan Knicely. Knicely made the big league roster in 1982, but would only see playing time in 23 games that season. With Pujols and current Astros broadcaster Alan Ashby taking up the catching duties, Knicely was relegated to the outfield for the vast majority of his limited appearances. Knicely would be traded at the end of ’82 and compete for playing time with another Astros radio man: Alex Treviño.
So, Houston traded a .188 hitter for a rookie pitcher that did not disappoint. At the All-Star break in ’83, Dalwey was 5-2 with a 1.88 ERA. In the All-Star game, Dalwey pitched 1 1/3 innings with a hit and a strikeout to his credit. Houston teammate Dickie Thon would pitch hit for Dawely to end his outing. Dawley would have his best season in 1984, going 11-4 in 98 innings with a career best 1.93 ERA. Sadly, Dawley saw a huge drop off in is numbers for the remainder of his career as his ERA jumped to 3.56 in 1985. He was released by Houston after the ’86 season.
Dawley was signed by the White Sox for the 1986 season, was traded to the Cardinals in 1987 and signed with the Phillies for 1988 after being released by the Red Birds. He would be released again at the end of the 1988 season and signed a minor league contract with the Athletics in 1989, appearing in only four games. A former All-Star drafted in 1976, Dawley would make his final major league appearance on the 4th of July against the Royals, giving up four runs in 2/3 of an inning.