Tim Crews, technically still a rookie, ably filled a middle relief role for the 1988 Dodgers, took the ball whenever asked, and soaked up nearly 72 innings despite not being with the big club for the first thirty games of the year.
How acquired: The right-hander was the minor-league hurler packaged with Tim Leary when the Dodgers traded Greg Brock to Milwaukee before the 1987 season.
Prior MLB experience: Crews made his Dodgers and major-league debut after being recalled from Albuquerque in late July 1987. He earned three saves while pitching 29 innings in 20 appearances, with a 1-1 record and a 2.48 ERA (163 ERA+).
1988 age: 27
1988 stats: The Dodgers had Crews again start the season in AAA ball, but he was recalled to stay in May, replacing an ineffective Brad Havens on the roster. Crews served as a middle/long reliever and consequently 28 of his 42 appearances were for more than one inning. He ultimately racked up 71 2/3 innings, all in relief, with a 4-0 record to go with his 3.14 ERA (107 ERA+), posting 5.7 strikeouts and 2.0 walks per nine innings pitched.
Regular season game of the year: After Fernando Valenzuela was roughed up in Cincinnati on June 25 and didn't get out of the first inning, Crews came in to start the bottom of the second inning after a big Dodger rally had given the club a 5-4 lead. Crews tossed four scoreless innings on only 42 pitches while facing just one batter over the minimum. The official scorer jobbed Crews of the win however, awarding it to Brian Holton, who threw one pitch and recorded one out to end the first inning. However Crews knew he had done his job, telling the Los Angeles Times, "The role I'm in is to keep us in the game. I'm not one to get a lot of wins and losses."
NLCS & World Series performance: Crews was left off of both post-season rosters, but he was definitely with the team, and in his #52 uniform. He and his dastardly mustache can be seen clearly in the original broadcast footage of the home-plate celebration after Kirk Gibson's home run in game one of the World Series.
Post-1988 playing career: Crews spent the next four years in the Dodgers bullpen, outside of four spot starts, appearing in 219 games for 323 innings pitched, recording a 6-12 won-loss record, 12 saves, and a 3.59 ERA (100 ERA+). After a difficult 1992 season, he refused an assignment to the minors, opting instead for free agency, and signed with the Cleveland Indians, but he would not pitch in another competitive game.
Where he is now: Stanley Timothy Crews was laid to rest at Woodlawn Memorial Park in Gotha, Florida after the tragic boating accident on an off-day during spring training that claimed his and teammate Steve Olin's lives, and seriously injured fellow Indian Bob Ojeda as well. On March 22, 1993, Crews was piloting his bass boat on the lake that bordered his property in Florida roughly an hour after sundown when they crashed into an unlit dock, killing Olin instantly and causing the injuries that would result in Crews' death about ten hours later.
At the time, Dodgers' executive vice president Fred Claire told the Times, "Tim was one of the most popular players we have ever had and the thing I'll always remember about him is that he enjoyed everything he did. Whether it was starting or relieving he never refused to take the ball. And he was always talking about fishing. I think that and his family were what Tim was all about. It's a tragedy."
Both the Dodgers and the Indians wore #52 patches on their uniforms for the 1993 season in memory of Crews.