Roger Craig (baseball)

Roger Craig (baseball)

Infobox MLB retired
name=Roger Craig
birthdate=birth date and age|mf=yes|1930|2|17
debutdate=July 17
debutteam=Brooklyn Dodgers
finaldate=July 4
finalteam=Philadelphia Phillies
teams= As Player
*Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers (1955-1961)
*New York Mets (1962-1963)
*St. Louis Cardinals (1964)
*Cincinnati Reds (1965)
*Philadelphia Phillies (1966)As Manager
*San Diego Padres (1978-1979)
*San Francisco Giants (1985-1992)
* Manager of 1989 NL champions San Francisco Giants

Roger Lee Craig (born February 17, 1930 in Durham, North Carolina) is a former pitcher, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.

Playing career

During an 11-year playing career, Craig won 10 or more games in by|1956, by|1957, and by|1962. A master at the split-finger fastball, Craig started his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and closed out his career with the Philadelphia Phillies.

Craig was best known as a player for being an original New York Met. He was a stalwart of the legendarily bad team's pitching staff, losing 24 and 22 games in those first two seasons. In 1963, he suffered through an 18-game losing streak. Remarkably during those two years, he completed 27 games while winning only 15, demonstrating that he was one of the best pitchers on the staff. Craig was possessed of a strong pick-off move, and during his Mets years his battles with top base-stealer Maury Wills became a high point of Mets games.

During the 1962 and 1963 seasons, when Roger Craig lost 24 and 22 games respectively, the New York Mets played their home games at the Polo Grounds, former home of the New York Giants, which arguably may have been the most unconventionally shaped ball park in baseball history. It is interesting to note that the New York Mets gave up the first run in their history in 1962 on a balk by Roger Craig.

Managerial career

From by|1986 to by|1992, Craig was the manager of the San Francisco Giants. In Craig's first five full seasons with the Giants (by|1986-by|1990), they never finished with a losing record. Prior to coming to San Francisco, Craig served as a pitching coach for the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers and as manager of the San Diego Padres (the Tigers' opponent in the 1984 World Series) from by|1978-by|1979.

Under Craig (who along the way, instilled the unique motto and rallying cry "Humm Baby", the Giants won the National League Western Division title in by|1987. The original term of "Humm Baby" was given to the roster's third catcher for the by|1986 season, Brad Gulden, who was on his way out of baseball but he managed to squeeze onto the roster for the 1986 season. Craig felt that Gulden didn't really have the talent but he had the heart so he called him the "Humm Baby". The Giants' divisional title in by|1987 came just two years after they lost 100 games; Roger Craig replaced Jim Davenport for the remaining 18 games of the by|1985 season (posting a 6-12 record). The Giants came within one game of going to the World Series that year having lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

In by|1989 though, the Giants won their first National League pennant since 1962 by defeating the Chicago Cubs in five games in the NLCS. Unfortunately, Craig's Giants were swept by the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, which was interrupted by an earthquake, in a four game sweep.

Roger Craig stepped down from the San Francisco Giants in by|1992 after posting a dismal 72-90 record. His successor, Dusty Baker went on to win 103 games the following year and eventually won the by|1993 National League Manager of the Year Award.

External links

* [] - managing record and playing statistics
* [ The original Humm-baby] Article on the 20th Anniversary of the phrase "Humm Baby"

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