August 13, 1959 |
St. Louis Park, Minnesota
|August 15, 1981, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 20, 1990, for the St. Louis Cardinals|
|Earned run average||3.29|
|Career highlights and awards|
Thomas Edward Niedenfuer (born August 13, 1959), is a retired American Major League Baseball right-handed pitcher. Exclusively a reliever during his ten-year career, he played his first six-plus seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers, then finished out with the Baltimore Orioles, Seattle Mariners, and St. Louis Cardinals.
Born in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Niedenfuer's family moved to Pennsylvania when he was three and later moved to Washington when he was in the third grade. Raised in Redmond, a suburb east of Seattle, he graduated from Redmond High School in 1977 and was selected in the 36th round of the MLB Draft by the Dodgers.
Niedenfuer did not sign and played college baseball; he was a standout pitcher for the Washington State Cougars in Pullman under head coach Bobo Brayton. He signed with the Dodgers as an amateur free agent in August 1980, prior his senior season at WSU.
Niedenfuer started 1981 with the San Antonio Dodgers of the Double-A Texas League. As a 6 ft 5 in (1.96 m) rookie in the strike-shortened 1981 season, he debuted in the majors in mid-August. He appeared in 17 games for the Dodgers, and excelled in the World Series, pitching five innings in two games (1,4) with no runs allowed as the Dodgers defeated the New York Yankees in six games.
Niedenfuer's best all-around year was 1983, when he pitched in a career-high 66 games and posted an 8–3 record with 11 saves and a 1.90 earned run average. He went 7–9 in 1985, but posted career highs in saves with 19 and innings pitched with 106.1 with a fine 2.71 ERA. In the National League Championship Series, he gave up a walk-off home run to light-hitting shortstop Ozzie Smith in Game 5 that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a one-game lead. Two days later at Dodger Stadium, he was victimized by a Jack Clark three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning that gave the Cardinals the pennant in six games.
In 1987, during his seventh season with the Dodgers, he went 1–0 with a 2.76 ERA in 15 games before being traded on May 22 to the Baltimore Orioles. He struggled in the American League the rest of the season, with a 4.99 ERA in 45 games; 1988 was better, posting a 3.51 ERA with 18 saves.
Niedenfuer has been married to actress Judy Landers since November 1987, and they have resided in Sarasota, Florida, since 1996. They have two daughters, Lindsey and Kristy, who own and operate an event-planning company and are also in a pop music band together.
- "Washington State University Baseball Players Who Made It to the Major Leagues". Baseball-Almanac.com. Archived from the original on 16 December 2012. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Nelson, John (October 29, 1981). "The Dodgers win it all". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. p. 27.
- "Dodgers awed by the wizard". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). Associated Press. October 15, 1985. p. B1.
- "Clark HR lifts Cardinals into Series". Spokesman-Review. (Spokane, Washington). (Chicago Tribune). October 17, 1985. p. C1.
- Crowe, Jerry (October 10, 2010). "Tom Niedenfuer remembers but doesn't dwell on fateful pitches". Los Angeles Times.
- "Transactions". Lewiston Morning Tribune. (Idaho). May 23, 1987. p. 2B.
- Carson, Linda (February 15, 2013). "Suncoast family lives life in the spotlight". WWSB. (Sarasota, Florida). (ABC-TV affiliate). Retrieved September 12, 2017.
- Bell, Christopher. Scapegoats: Baseballers Whose Careers Are Marked By One Fateful Play. (McFarland and Company, 2002).