Something I read today made reference to a Dodger that I have forgotten about, one that I absolutely loved and lobbied to make the team every year he was in spring training.
I remember the first game I ever saw Dreifort pitch for the Dodgers. It was raining in Houston, and he was brought in late in the game. It was pretty much out of control and the bases are loaded, but his face was steel. It was almost as though he was going to will not only the outs but the exchange of runs from the opponent’s tally to the Dodgers’.
I think he cried. I remember telling my brother that I thought he was crying. He had pulled the bill of his cap down over his eyes and it was raining. So, David thought maybe not. I still think he was crying.
The most important thing was that I really liked him. Coming off of a Tommy John surgery I remembered thinking what guts this kid has. A powerhouse out of Kansas, he threw hard as could be. I loved the power pitching h brought to the team. And for one awesome year (my favorite year in baseball), he was a starter.
Unfortunately, Dreifort had Tommy John a second time. I don’t think he ever recovered from that or the knee (or hip?) problems he developed. I think now it may have been hip because I remember Vin Scully saying that he was overcompensating for the fact that his arm had been operated on for the second time. I think the knee was probably where the cartilage came from.
It was almost painful to watch him play towards the end. At some point the Dodgers put him in long relief and at another at set-up. I supported both. I know people thought he was overpaid, but I think the Dodgers were paying for potential. There was lots of it in Dreifort. From guts to power, he was a phenomenal athlete.
I’m glad for the memory and sorry that Dreifort simply faded from baseball and my memory in that way…
Dreifort on a Dodger ticket…reminded me of 1. the price (!) and 2. how nice the tickets used to be!