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Rick Dempsey
Born: 1949

  • Uncle of Gregg Zaun
    [Courtesy Arnie Braunstein]
  • C 1969-92 Twins, Yankees, Orioles, Indians, Dodgers, Brewers

    Rick Dempsey's Teammates

    Career 1766.23396471
    League CS 11.29604
    World Series 14.30813

    Books and articles about Rick Dempsey

    A flaky individual but a take-charge catcher, Rick Dempsey's break came on June 15, 1976 when he went from the Yankees to the Orioles in a ten-player deal. When he left Baltimore, signing as a free agent with Cleveland in 1987, he had caught more games for the Orioles than anyone in franchise history. His greatest moment came as MVP of the 1983 World Series. He had the game-winning RBI in Game Two and homered and doubled in the Game Five clincher, hitting .385 overall.
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    Photo: Rick Dempsey from Baseball Days

    Pitching Catchers: A Complete Battery by Chuck Rosciam
    The Modern "One Degree" Champ by Steve Lombardi

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    Dempsey led AL catchers in fielding in 1981 and 1983 and in assists in 1979. He sacrificed batting average for added power in his last years at Baltimore (1984-86). Expected to stabilize a young Cleveland club, Dempsey suffered on both offense and defense. His 1987 season was curtailed by a broken left thumb suffered in a home plate collision with Bo Jackson. Dempsey rebounded in a reserve role with the 1988 World Champion Dodgers. Two years later he achieved the rare distinction of catching a game in four different decades.

    Dempsey, whose father was a Vaudeville actor and whose mother was a former Broadway star, was known to be a bit of a ham himself. During a 1977 rain delay at Fenway Park he entertained players and fans alike by performing a baseball pantomime routine with towels stuffed in his shirt to evoke Babe Ruth's well-known belly. He ended the routine by belly-flopping across the rain-soaked tarp at home plate and then leading the crowd in a rendition of "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head." Dempsey reprised the routine at various times in later years, including once in a September 1982 game at Milwaukee when he wore a Robin Yount jersey and mimicked hitting a home run before circling the bases to the delight of the crowd. (ME/AGL)

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    October 27, 1972: The Yankees ship Danny Walton to the Twins for C Rick Dempsey. Walton spent the 1972 season in the minors, while young Dempsey had cups of coffee with the Twins the past four seasons.

    June 15, 1976: In what stands as one of the O's best trades ever, Baltimore obtains pitchers Rudy May, Tippy Martinez, Dave Pagan, Scott McGregor and C Rick Dempsey from the Yankees for veteran pitchers Doyle Alexander, Ken Holtzman, Grant Jackson and C Elrod Hendricks. The veterans will help the Yankees win in 1976 and then fade.

    August 21, 1977: Rick Dempsey returns to active duty after breaking his finger, and Brooks Robinson goes on the voluntary retired list.

    September 9, 1979: The first place Orioles romp to their 7th win in a row, larruping the Red Sox, 164. Rick Dempsey hits a grand slam for the Birds in their 6-run 6th, and Al Bumbry adds a home run in the same frame. Jim Rice homers for the Bosox. Sox C Bob Montgomery is 1-for-2 in his last ML game. He is the last ML batter to wear a hard liner in his cap instead of a batting helmet.

    October 14, 1983: The Orioles rally to win game three by a 32 margin. Jim Palmer wins and his batterymate Rick Dempsey has two doubles.

    October 16, 1983: Eddie Murray slams a pair of home runs and Scott McGregor pitches a 5-hitter as the Orioles beat the Phillies 50 and win the World Series 41. Baltimore catcher Rick Dempsey, who hit .385 with four doubles and a home run, is the Series MVP.

    August 23, 1989: Rick Dempsey homers off Dennis Martinez in the top of the 22nd inning to break up a scoreless tie and give the Dodgers a 10 win over the Expos. The game features one thumbing -- the umps toss the Expos mascot Youppi in the 11th for annoying Tommy Lasorda -- and he then returns in the 13th wearing pajamas. He carries a pillow and sleeps on the home dugout roof, where the umps have restricted him. In the 16th, Larry Walker apparently scores the game-winner, but the Dodgers appeal -- with two umps in the tunnel -- and get it. Eddie Murray in the 18th moves the 2B ump and slams a drive that Walker makes a phantom catch off the padding in RF. Fans stand for three "seventh-inning stretches" during the major-league record (in time, and for a 10 game) six hours: 14 minute game. Other club records are set and several ML records are noted: most innings (22) without a walk by the Expos tops the Pirates (who used one pitcher) against the Giants, July 17, 1914.