Dennis Eckersley is Friday dinner speaker

Printer-friendly versionSend by email

MMA Annual Meeting Friday dinner speaker Dennis EckersleyHall of Famer and NESN Red Sox analyst Dennis “Eck” Eckersley, considered one of the greatest relief pitchers in Major League Baseball history, will be the Friday dinner speaker at the MMA Annual Meeting on Jan. 20 in Boston.
 
Over a 24-year career with the Oakland Athletics, Boston Red Sox (twice), Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and St. Louis Cardinals, Eckersley earned 390 saves – seventh all time – and 197 wins.
 
He now serves as a baseball analyst for NESN and national broadcasts on TBS, where his colorful personality comes across with “Eck-isms” such as “cheese with hair on it” (fastball that moves across the plate), “do-drop-in” (looping curveball), and “got paint” (pitches that just touch the corner of the strike zone). He is credited with coining the term “walk-off home run.”
 
His success as both a starter and a relief pitcher resulted in Eckersley being the only Major League pitcher with at least 100 saves and 100 complete games in his career. He was also the first of two pitchers with a 20-win season and a 50-save season in a career, alongside fellow Hall of Famer John Smoltz.
 
Fellow Hall of Famer Rich “Goose” Gossage once said that Eckersley’s control was so precise, “He could hit a gnat in the butt with a pitch if he wanted to.”
 
In 1992, at age 37, Eckersley won both the American League Cy Young and Most Valuable Player awards, becoming only the ninth pitcher to win both honors in the same season. He led the league that season with 51 saves and had an earned run average of 1.91. During nine years with Oakland, he averaged 44 saves per season and helped the A’s win four American League West titles and a World Series in 1989.
 
Eckersley spent the first 11 years of his career as a starting pitcher, throwing a no-hitter for Cleveland in 1977. He won 20 games with the Red Sox in 1978, when he threw 16 complete games and had an ERA of 2.99.
 
A six-time All-Star, Eckersley won two Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Awards, and was the American League Championship Series MVP in 1998. He is a member of both the Athletics and Red Sox Halls of Fame, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2004, his first year of eligibility.
 
At the time of his retirement after the 1998 season at age 43, he had appeared in more games than any pitcher in Major League history. Eckersley finished his stellar career with 2,401 strikeouts in 3,285 innings.
 
A native of the San Francisco Bay area, Eckersley was drafted out of high school by the Cleveland Indians. Today, he lives in the MetroWest area and is an active member of the community, serving as a coach with the Massachusetts Special Olympics. Eckersley has three children and enjoys golf and music.