Skip Lockwood's Journey
“I had a little curve ball, but it was a ‘show you’ pitch. I went out there on a wing and a prayer with those two pitches and it doesn’t take long for the batters to figure it out.”
Lockwood, who has been pitching with an injured right arm for some time, saw his big league career come to an end in April 1981 when the Massachusetts native was released by his hometown Red Sox.
“The therapy for a hurt arm back then was you try and throw and if it hurts you wait a week. So I spent a whole half season doing that, hoping that it was going to be better. So when the Red Sox signed me I still didn’t know whether or not I could get back up to speed with the fastball,” he said. “As it turns out there was some sort of pinched nerve in the shoulder. I could get it to home plate, but I didn’t have that extra that I needed.
“Today, I think they could fix it and I could pitch 10 days later. It proved to be the ending of my career and I did it in front of my hometown fans in Boston, which was kind of embarrassing.”
In summing up his major league career, which ended with a 57-97 record, a 3.55 ERA and 68 saves, Lockwood said he had a few regrets.
“I played with intensity. Maybe too much intensity. I felt that my role in the game was to be better than the last pitcher that they just took out. Throw harder, be more aggressive. But in order to do that you have to really lather yourself up. I wish I had relaxed more and smelled the roses because it ends awfully quickly,” he said. “So I remember my career as fast and furious, but I’m glad I had the years that I had and very pleased it lasted as long as it did.”
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum