We end the week with a Dodgers rewind on the Leading Off with True Blue LA podcast, looking back at former pitcher turned champion golfer Rick Rhoden.
After having what is widely considered the best draft class in MLB history in 1968, the Dodgers continued to draft well in the 1970s, at least at the top of the draft. Looking at career WAR for all Dodgers first-round picks (counting their totals with all teams, not just the Dodgers), Clayton Kershaw obviously tops the list. But four first-rounders from the 1970s take up the top-six, including Rick Rhoden in third place with 35.4 WAR.
Rhoden was drafted in 1971, made the majors at 21 in 1974, and was in the rotation by late 1975. He made an All-Star team in 1976, and pitched parts of five years with the Dodgers. But he was moved to the bullpen in August 1978 to make room for Bob Welch, another 1970s first-round pick.
Rhoden requested a trade that offseason, and the Dodgers complied, dealing him to the Pirates straight up for Jerry Reuss. Both players benefitted from new homes and an opportunity to start again, and both pitched well into the mid-1980s with their new teams.
After pitching in the majors for 16 years, Rhoden turned to competitive golf, and has won the Lake Tahoe celebrity tournament a record eight times. He even qualified for the PGA Champions Tour in his 50s.
Episode link (time: 14:41)