Wednesday, January 25, 2012


Tom Niedenfuer was a relief pitcher for the Dodgers in the 80s.  He was a pretty god bullpen piece in his day.  Niedenfuer also has a name that sounds good when shouted.  Especially, if you shout his last name in a German accent.

Everybody try it now.  Ready?  1...2...3...Niedenfuer!!!!!!!!!!

I can't talk about Niedenfuer without mentioning his playoff troubles in 1985.  He gave up a game winning home run to Ozzie Smith and then he also gave up a crushing bomb to Jack Clark.  Playoff home runs are always magnified and so are the goats that give them up.  I characterize Niedenfuer as the Jonathan Broxton of the 80s.

I was too young in 1985 to feel the pain of Niedenfuer. But, older Dodger fans sure know the pain that his pitches had on there psyche.  When I mailed a couple cards to Niedenfuer for him to sign, my dad seemed a little angry about it.  He even made a quip to me about getting cards signed by this man.

Niedenfuer was a Dodger after all and I collect Dodger autographs.  That is why I wrote him a letter.  Like I said, I was really young in 1985 and didn't witness the pain that the homers by Ozzie and Clark had on Dodger fans at the time.

Since, I have compared Niedenfuer to Broxton, I might as well talk about my generation's Dodger goat.  Broxton gave up a crippling home run to Matt Stairs in the 2008 playoffs and he gave up a demoralizing walk off hit to Jimmy Rollins in 2009.  I witnessed the Stairs homer while sitting in the right field pavillion.  I witnessed the Rollins walk off while watching the game on television.  That pain stung.

I don't hold a grudge against the Phillies.  They came up big when they needed to.  I reserve all my angst and frustration towards Broxton.  He gave up those hits.  I will never write a letter to Broxton.  Broxton brought personal pain to my heart and I will never forgive him. Broxton is in Kansas City now and I wish him nothing but the worst.  It is nothing to do with the Royals, there fans have been suffering for a while.  I hope that if the Royals do well, it will be in spite of Broxton.

That anger is probably how my dad feels about Tom Niedenfuer.  I have that anger towards Jonathan Broxton.  I will never get over it.

I still thank Niedenfuer for sending me his autograph.  I wrote in my letter that I am a Dodger fan and he may feel that he owes me a solid.  Broxton autographs aren't welcome in my collection though.  It may sound weird but following an entire season and then seeing failure hurts a lot more rather than just reading about my favorite team's playoff short comings.

Also, one more time in a thick German accent.......Niedenfuer!!!!!!!!!


Ernest Reyes said...

I remember that Jack Clark meltdown well... I was 13 and at the bowling alley.. my dad was in a bowling league and figured I would be better of under his watchful eye then roaming the streets in my middle class suburban neighborhood... i wasn't even a trouble maker, but he made me watch bowling almost every week for those handful of years... anyway, this 13 year old boy cried when clark hit that homer. In fact my hate for Jack Clark is so intense I continue to despise him today. It pained me to see him wear Dodger Blue as a coach a few years back... It was hard to watch games

night owl said...

I CERTAINLY felt the pain: