Dec 21, 2016

The Second Spitter

Roger McDowell
Philadelphia Phillies: 1989-1991
Happy 56th birthday to one of the zaniest relief pitchers of his generation.  Childhood memories can play tricks with you.  If you asked me, I would have sworn that Roger McDowell spent four or five years in the Phillies bullpen, but he only actually pitched in Philadelphia for one full season in 1990.

McDowell (left) came to the Phillies in June 1989 trade in which we absolutely stole both he and Lenny Dykstra (right) from the New York Mets in exchange for Juan Samuel.  McDowell was a lights out reliever for the rest of the '89 season and Dykstra would go on to spend the rest of his career in Philadelphia, including an incredible 1993 in which he was one of the catalysts that led to a National League Championship season.

Less than a year after the Phillies traded Roger McDowell to the Dodgers at the '91 deadline, he became part of the Seinfeld universe.  In a classic episode from the '92 season, Kramer and Newman told the story about the aftermath of a game at Shea Stadium between the Mets and Phillies in which Mets first baseman Keith Hernandez allegedly spit on them.  It turned out that Keith was innocent, and Roger McDowell was "the second spitter" hiding in the grassy knoll.  This iconic moment was memorialized by a bobble head statue given out by the Brooklyn Cyclones in their annual Seinfeld Night this summer.