The last days of Eddie Haas

Gotta love Claudell’s reaction the day after the Braves fired Haas (no link, via the AJC archives):

“This is a positive step,” [Claudell] Washington said. “For us to win this year, we had to have a three-or four-run lead in the eighth inning. A one- or two-run lead, and he was going to mess it up, I guarantee you that. It’s hard getting up for that every day.

“I don’t understand what they were doing upstairs. There was no way we could have gotten this far out and made some move. This wasn’t a triple-A team, but he ran it like a triple-A team.”

His firing was assured 12 days earlier (from the AJC archives, 8/12/85):

“I never try to judge what another manager does, ” said Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda, a Chesire-cat smile creasing his face.

“I’m not the manager of the Braves, ” said pitcher Orel Hershiser, not saying if he would apply for an opening.

The firestorm appeared in the eighth, with the Braves leading by a third-inning unearned run. Gene Garber, scored on once in his previous 15 appearances, pitched a perfect seventh but allowed a leadoff single by Ken Landreaux. Garber retired Pedro Guerrero, and Haas went to his think tank. With Sutter ready, Haas brought in lefthander Terry Forster, who had spent eight hours at an area beach making a nonsensical music video called “Fat Is In.” He retired pinch-hitter Candy Maldonado on a grounder, and Landreaux made it to second.

With Sutter ready, the right-handed Mike Marshall came to bat. Haas gave Forst er this no-win assignment: do not intentionally walk Marshall, but pitch with the intention of walking him.

The next step in Haas’ plan was that either Forster would pitch to the next hitter, the left-handed Mike Scioscia, or Sutter would enter to face a right-handed pinch hitter. Haas also played the percentages; Marshall was 0-for-5 lifetime against Forster.

“That’s where statistics can muck it up, ” Haas said. “Either make (Marshall) hit a pitcher’s pitch or walk him. Forster’s been doing a good job, but you can’t throw (Marshall) a pitch over the plate. Sutter can’t do it every time. It’s still the eighth inning. He would have pitched the ninth.”

The Braves never made it. Even with the count 2-0 to Marshall, Haas did not or der the intentional walk because “you don’t just put the winning run on base.” Forster tried a slider at Marshall’s feet. The pitch stayed high in the strike zone, and Marshall drove it to left for the game-winning homer.

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4 Comments

  1. After the previous three winning (and, as importantly, fun) years, 1985 was a goddamned nightmare.

    Cool that CW was so blunt. Always loved that dude.

  2. Claudell was full of good advice. Among other gems, always blame the joint in the glovebox on the valet.

  3. 1985! Man, sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat, and my wife says, “Bad dream.” And I just say, “Eddie Haas.” She understands.

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