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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dickie Noles, Wasn't Awed - 231

Just a few outings into his big league career, Dickie Noles admitted to UPI in July 1979 that he was still a little awed by both the big league crowds and the big league players.

"But," Noles told UPI after notching his first major league win, "I'm not awed once I get to the mound. I've always felt at home there."

Noles certainly wasn't awed the next year when he intentionally threw a knock-down pitch to future Hall of Famer George Brett - in the World Series.

Soon, though, Noles would be humbled off the field, admitting publicly that he was an alcoholic.

Noles' career began in 1975, taken by the Phillies in the fourth round of the draft, out of Harding High School in North Carolina.

He started that year at short-season Auburn, hitting AA Reading in 1978 and then major league Philadelphia in 1979.

With the Phillies his rookie year, Noles went 3-4 in 14 starts, posting an ERA of 3.80. Returning to the team for 1980, he moved to the role of a reliever, getting into 48 contests, with a 3.89 ERA.

Noles followed the Phillies to the postseason that year, getting two appearances in the NLCS and one in the World Series. In the World Series, Noles came into Game 4 in the first inning, the starter unable to record more than one out. He went 4.2 innings, only giving up a run.

What he's remembered for came in the fourth inning, the knockdown pitch to Brett that led to angry words from Brett's manager.

Years later, Noles admitted it was intentional, telling The New York Times he'd been upset over a Royal celebration and the a seeming delay at Brett getting into the between pitches.

''I made my decision at that point,'' Noles told The Times in 2000. ''This is the guy I'm going to undress."

The moment was also seen by many as a turning point in the series.

Noles came back for just 13 games in 1981, then moved to the Cubs for 1982. With Chicago, Noles went 10-13, with a 4.42 ERA back as a starter.

Starting 1983, though, Noles got into trouble in Cincinnati, getting into a bar fight. He then reentered an alcohol rehab program.

"I've been through it before and I thought I was OK," Noles told The Chicago Sun-Times that April. "But I'll keep doing it until I am."

Noles went 5-10 for the Cubs that year, with a 4.72 ERA. Noles ended up pitching each of the next five seasons in the majors. The fifth, 1988. He missed all of 1989, playing with the Yankees at AAA.

Noles then came back for one final major league appearance in 1990 with the Phillies, ending his big league career.

Noles has gone on to work for the Phillies, in their employee assistance program. He also hasn't had another drink, not since that April in 1983, he told a Allentown, Pa.-area church in Feburary 2012.

He credited his faith, according to The Hellertown-Lower Saucon Patch. He also speaks at schools about his experiences with addiction and has started a substance abuse prevention program aimed at children.
1990 CMC Tally
Cards Featured: 843/880 - 95.8%
Players/Coaches Featured: 854
Made the Majors: 583 - 68%-X
Never Made the Majors:271-32%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 262-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors: 160

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