R.I.P. Rick Camp

Apr 26, 2013 by

Rick Camp, former relief pitcher for the Atlanta Braves, died yesterday at home in Bartow County, GA.  Camp was a reliever and spot starter for the braves from 1976 to 1985.  He relied on a heavy sinker and a good defense to get his job done and had two pretty decent seasons in ’80 and ’81.  He was as well known for his lack of hitting as he was for his sinker.  See, way back in the 80s, relief pitchers actually hit, or at least they stood in the batters box and tried to look like they were going to hit.  In his 9 year career Camp had 197 plate appearances resulting in 13 hits, 4 walks, 4 doubles and 1 home run, and what a glorious home run it was.  In his last season, in the 18th inning of a game against arch rival Mets, Camp did the seemingly impossible and dropped a home run over the left field wall.  Of course, in typical 1985 Braves fashion, Camp came out to pitch the top of the 19th and promptly gave up 5 runs.  The Braves managed to eek out 2 more runs in the 19th before Camp came up again and struck out to end the game.

Camp is representative for me of a group of pitchers in the late 70s and early 80s – nonathletic, long hair bearded dudes who couldn’t break a window with their fast ball, but somehow managed to be effective, at least for a little while – Lamar Hoyt, Rick Mahler and Rick Camp all fit the bill and could make anyone think they might be able to have a career in the major leagues.  You know they were fun to drink beer with anyway, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

R.I.P. Rick, your goofy grin will be missed.  Enjoy the Camper Van Beethoven song.  I chose it because “camp” is in the name so it seemed fitting and because it’s Friday, it’s gorgeous outside and if this were a just world, I’d be a cowboy on acid and not just another cubby monkey in corporate America.  But its not, and I am, so this is what I’ve got.  Enjoy…




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