March 22, 1952 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|July 21, 1975 for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1983 for the Kansas City Royals|
|Earned run average||3.85|
|Career highlights and awards|
Eric Ralph Rasmussen (born March 22, 1952) is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. He played all or part of eight seasons in the majors, between 1975 and 1983. Eric was born Harold Ralph Rasmussen, but legally changed his name to Eric during the 1976-77 offseason.
Rasmussen was originally selected by the Boston Red Sox in the fourth round of the January 1971 Major League Baseball Draft, but opted instead to attend the University of New Orleans, where he was named first team All-America. The St. Louis Cardinals then selected him in the 32nd round of the 1973 Major League Baseball Draft.
St. Louis Cardinals
Rasmussen moved through the Cardinals' organization rapidly, reaching Triple-A with the Tulsa Oilers in just his second full season in 1975. That July, he made his major league debut, and wound up starting 13 games for the Cardinals over the rest of the season. He won five games that season while losing five.
After splitting 1976 between the bullpen and starting rotation, Rasmussen had perhaps his best season statistically in 1977. He set career bests in earned run average (3.48), strikeouts (120), innings pitched (233) and complete games (11). Despite his good numbers, Rasmussen lost 17 games against 11 wins for the third-place Cards.
San Diego Padres
Rasmussen started 1978 with St. Louis, but was traded to the San Diego Padres in May for outfielder George Hendrick. Although most of his other numbers fell off, he set his career high with 14 wins between the two clubs. That wasn't enough to keep Rasmussen in the Padres' rotation, though, as he spend the next two seasons bouncing back and forth between starting and relieving. Following the 1980 season, Rasmussen was released by the Padres.
Mexican League, and back to St. Louis
That winter, Rasmussen pitched in the Mexican League, and spent all of 1981 and part of 1982 with the Leones de Yucatán. The Cardinals brought him back to the major leagues in September, when he pitched in eight games. Rasmussen opened the 1983 season with the Cardinals, but he was used sparingly. After a pair of disastrous outings in May, Rasmussen was sent to the minors. He started four games for the Triple-A Louisville Redbirds, going 2–2 with an ERA of 4.13, before being sold to the Kansas City Royals.
Kansas City Royals
Rasmussen made a big splash in his American League debut, pitching his first major league shutout since 1979 against the Boston Red Sox on August 6. He appeared in 11 games in all for the Royals in 1983, including 9 starts, winning 3 games and losing 6. At the end of the season, he was released.
Back in the minors
Rasmussen spent the next several seasons attempting to return to the major leagues. He spent 1984 with the Houston Astros organization, pitching for the Tucson Toros. In 1985, Rasmussen signed with the independent Miami Marlins and spent most of the season, and part of 1986 as well, although he did appear in one game for the Redbirds in 1985. He was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles partway through 1986, and he spent the next season and a half with their top farm club, the Rochester Red Wings.
Although he became a coach in 1988, Rasmussen did not stop playing professional baseball, as he went on to pitch for the Fort Myers Sun Sox for the duration of the two-year run of the Senior Professional Baseball Association in 1989-1990 before finally retiring.
Rasmussen accepted a pitching coach position in the Cleveland Indians' minor league system in 1988. In 1991, he jumped over to the Minnesota Twins' organization, where he has remained ever since. From 1991 through 1995 he was the pitching coach for the Rookie level Gulf Coast League Twins, in 1996 and 1997, he coached the Twins' advanced A affiliate, the Fort Myers Miracle, in 1998 he jumped to the Double A New Britain Rock Cats, and in 1999, he returned to the Miracle. Following the 2008 season, Rasmussen was promoted to Twins Minor League Pitching Coordinator.
The entire 2008 starting rotation for the Twins all pitched for Rasmussen in Fort Myers. Some of the other notable names to have been coached by Rasmussen include Johan Santana, Matt Garza, LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Redman.
- Jim Kaplan (May 2, 1977). ""The Week (April 17–23)" (SI Vault, May 2, 1977 issue)". Sports Illustrated.
- Eric Rasmussen 1983 game log from Baseball-Reference
- "Fort Myers Miracle". Retrieved 2008-07-16.