16 thoughts on “Goodbye, Rick”

  1. Sad news. I always had a soft spot for Mahler. He used to frequent a baseball card shop I worked at when I was in high school in Marietta. Always seemed like a nice guy.

  2. That’s sad — he was still young. Mahler was the starting pitcher against the Mets on July 4, 1985 — the craziest game that there ever was or might ever be. That was at the tail end of his brief run as one of the better pitchers in the NL.

    Then of course he came back in 1991 and won a game as an emergency starter in a July doubleheader against the Pirates and John Smiley (who won 20 that year). We won the division by a single game.

  3. my first braves memory came when i saw rick mahler talking to 3 umpires at home plate before the start of a game. he was in pink flip-flops and my pops yelled out “nice shoes”. rick turns around and gives him the thumbs up. it was classic. ever since then, rain or shine, i have been a braves fan. dont tear up too much when you read this.

  4. Two memories about Mahler: Chuck Tanner telling reporters he wouldn’t hesitate to use him as a pinch hitter (this was before Tanner’s reputation as a genius had completely worn off), and Pete Van Wieren saying that Mahler was one of the very few players that he could name who was able to pitch effectively while behind in the count.

  5. Good memories. I remember him from the bad old days of the 80’s. Always took the ball and always pitched his brains out even if the results always weren’t good. Gosh only 51.

  6. I love the pink flip-flops story. Really fits in with the image of the mid-80s Braves — the scraggliest bunch you ever saw. In 1985 alone the Bad Beard Bunch included Mahler, Camp, Sutter, Garber, Oberkfell, Hubbard, Horner (who looked especially ridiculous), Forster, and Bedrosian. Not surprisingly, the “America’s Team” promos tended to revolve around Murph.

  7. I was at that double-header. I don’t think he ever had much pep on his pitches (wasn’t he a junkballer?), but he had lost even the speed he had before. Somehow, however, he was getting outs, and the crowd was pumped up to see the old-timer come through. It was a great time.

  8. And if everyday was Opening Day, Rick would be in the Hall of Fame. It seemed like he went through a stretch where he threw 3 shutouts over the course of 4 or 5 opening days.

  9. I remember him shutting out the Padres 1-0 on Opening Day in 1982; the Braves went on to win 13 in a row. It’s a shame.

  10. sansho1, do you moonlight as “Robert in Redondo” in other, less Brave-friendly locales by chance?

  11. His three pitches were “slow, slower, and get-out-and push,” but he was a great competitor. Absolute battler.

    One of the funny things about his career is that it was his brother Mickey who was supposed to be the star of the family and although he did make it to the bigs, he obviously didn’t have the inner strength that Rick had.

    One of my clearest memories about Mahler from the mid-80s is a game against the Cards when he totally pitched his guts out. The Braves were maybe up a run going into the ninth when Rick started to scuffle a bit. I think there were two guys on and two guys out and a something-and-two count on Terry Pendleton. Rick threw an absolutely beautiful change-up that totally froze Pendleton. Pendleton figured he had been called out and kind of shrugged and began to turn back toward the dugout. One problem. The ump called the pitch a ball. Mahler just sank. He was too tired to get that ticked off. He ended up walking Pendleton, got relieved, and the reliever made short work of giving up the game-winning hit to one of those Punch-and-Judy guys that comprised the Cards line-up of that era.

    But I loved watching Rick pitch.

  12. The circle windup is a lost art. He was white trash at its finest ( much love coming from white trash himself) He acheive due to sheer guts and will. Though I do not miss the losing, I do sometimes miss the personalities of the time. I wonder what Rick Camp is doing ? {Shutters}

  13. Ricky and his brother Micky lived down the street from me and my brother Jack. They used to babysit us when we were little. We loved them. Julie

  14. sansho1, do you moonlight as “Robert in Redondo” in other, less Brave-friendly locales by chance?

    Nope. Why, is he also effortlessly brilliant and witty? ;)

  15. How about that — well, nobody who watched the Rick Camp game from beginning to end (as I did as well) will ever forget it. Somewhere on one of the internets is a great write-up of the game, but I can’t find it. Suffice to say that it was the one game that justified John Sterling’s permanently overheated broadcast style.

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