Rozema with the Texas Rangers in 1985
|Born: August 5, 1956|
Grand Rapids, Michigan
|April 11, 1977, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|April 30, 1986, for the Texas Rangers|
|Earned run average||3.47|
|Career highlights and awards|
David Scott Rozema [rose'-muh] (born August 5, 1956) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball who played from 1977 through 1986 for the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers. Listed at 6' 4", 185 lb., Rozema batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Early years and 1977 rookie season
'Rosey', as he was nicknamed, was originally selected by the San Francisco Giants in the 22nd round of the 1974 MLB Draft, but he decided to stay at school. He then played for Grand Rapids Community College in 1974 and was drafted in January 1975 by the Detroit Tigers.
In 1976, Rozema played for the Montgomery Rebels in the Tigers' farm system and led the Southern League pitchers with a 1.57 earned run average. The Rebels were 86-51 in 1976 and won the league championship.
Rozema debuted in the major leagues at age 20 with the Detroit Tigers in 1977. On April 21, he shut out the Boston Red Sox, 8–0, for his first major league win. He finished his rookie season with a 15-7 record and a 3.09 ERA, ending eighth in the voting for the American League Cy Young Award, while ranking third in the league in winning percentage (.682), fifth in adjusted ERA+ (138), sixth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (2.71) and eight in complete games (16).
That season, Rozema finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Baltimore Orioles' Eddie Murray, being selected by The Sporting News as the Rookie Pitcher of the Year. Besides, Rozema formed part of a distinguished group of rookies with the 1977 Tigers that included Jack Morris, Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Lance Parrish and Steve Kemp.
Middle years: 1978-1981
After a promising rookie year, Rozema never won more than nine games in a season. In 1978, he finished with a 9-12 record, 11 complete games and an adjusted ERA+ of 124. In 1979, he again had an above-average adjusted ERA+ of 124, but he started only 16 games and had a record of 4-4. Afterwards, Rozema's ERA fell off to a rate only slightly better than the league average, as he won six games in 1980 and five in 1981.
The 1982 karate kick and reputation as an all-time Tigers character
Rozema got off to a tremendous start in 1982, compiling a 3-0 record and an ERA of 1.63 (adjusted ERA+ of 248) in his first eight games. In a televised game against the Minnesota Twins on May 14, a bench-clearing brawl erupted after Twins pitchers hit both Chet Lemon and Enos Cabell. Rozema then came running out of the dugout and attempted to deliver a flying karate kick to the Twins' John Castino, but he missed Castino and tore eight ligaments in his knee. As a result, Rozema had to be carried off the field on a stretcher. He required a knee surgery the next day and was put on the disabled list for the rest of the 1982 season.
In October 2006, Sports Illustrated selected Rozema as one of the "10 Greatest Characters in Detroit Tigers History". His selection was based on (1) the "karate kick" misfire, (2) a subsequent injury the same year in which Rozema fell on a flask in his back pocket and needed 11 stitches in his hip, (3) an incident in which he shoved a bar glass into the face of teammate Alan Trammell resulting in 47 stitches near Trammell's eye, (4) missing a team bus when he overslept after judging a wet T-shirt contest, and (5) using Brillo pads to wash his new car.
Later years: 1983-1986
Rozema came back from the injury in 1983 with an 8-3 record and 3.43 ERA in 105 innings pitched. In addition, he played on the 1984 Tigers team that won the World Series. During the regular season, he started 16 games, compiling a 7-6 record with a 3.74 ERA in 101 innings pitched, but did not appear in the post-season.
On December 27, 1984, Rozema signed as a free agent with the Texas Rangers a contract for an estimated total of $500,000 to $600,000. He appeared in 34 games for the Rangers in 1985 (all but four in relief) and had a 4.19 ERA in 88 innings pitched. After compiling a 5.91 ERA at the start of the 1986 season, Rozema was released by the Rangers during the midseason. He then was signed as a free agent by the Chicago White Sox on May 20, 1986, but did not play for them.
Life after major league baseball
In the early 1990s, Rozema pitched for the St. Petersburg Pelicans of the Senior Professional Baseball Association, and with the London Majors of the Intercounty Baseball League based in London, Ontario, Canada.
In 2003, Crain's Detroit Business reported that Rozema was working as a salesman for Disposal Management LLC of Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, selling the company's services to waste generators in the Detroit area.
- "Dave Rozema biography". Baseball Library. 2006. Archived from the original on May 27, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- "Dave Rozema chronology". Baseball Library. 2006. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Pete McEntegart (October 19, 2006). "The 10 Spot". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- "Chain Saws, Bobbles & Fireworks; Whitecaps Release 2008 Schedule". oursportscentral.com. October 24, 2007. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- "SPORTS PEOPLE; Rozema to Texas". The New York Times. December 29, 1984. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- Jim Johnson (June 2, 2003). "Former Tiger Rozema now pitches for waste company". Crain's Detroit Business. Retrieved January 14, 2009.