Top Ten LA Dodger Bums 8: Dave Goltz
By Scott Andes
The next player on our Top Ten LA Dodger Bums of all time list hales from Minnesota, don’t ya know. He actually had a nice little career going for himself. He was one of the better pitchers in the American League at one time. He had won 20 games, and was on his way towards an effective major league pitching career, until he signed with the Dodgers that is. Once Dave Goltz became a Dodger his career as a pitcher went completely downhill. This is the story of Dave Goltz, who is our number 8 LA Dodger bum of all time…….
Dave Goltz was the first Minnesota native drafted by the Twins to reach the major leagues. The hometown boy was picked in the 5th round of the 1967 amateur draft. After posting a 38-18 record in the minor leagues, Goltz made his MLB debut on July 17, 1972, pitching 3.2 scoreless innings against the Yankees. In his first year as a starter, Goltz pitched 91 innings, and posted a 2.67 ERA. He was 23 years old.
Goltz began his second year disappointingly. He had an ERA over 5.00, and was demoted back to the minors. He didn’t stay long though, and he was called back up to the bigs to became a mainstay in the Minnesota rotation, going 10-10 with a 3.25 ERA.
Over the next few years Goltz established himself as a workhorse, pitching over 200+ innings each year. Goltz finished 14-14 in 1975-1976. The following year in 1977, he would have his finest season. Goltz finished with a 20-11 record, tying for the league lead in wins and pitching 303 innings. He also tossed a one-hitter on August 23rd against Boston to boot.
Everything was just going swimmingly for Goltz, but of course the story doesn’t end good. Otherwise he wouldn’t be on this countdown, now would he? In 1978, Goltz fractured his ribs in an off field skirmish. (Don’t ask) Once he returned, he finished 14-7 with a 2.27 ERA. Goltz threw over 250 innings that year for the Twins, but overall had a poor year, allowing 282 hits, posting a 14-13 record, and a mediocre 4.16 ERA.
Before the 1980 season, Goltz signed with the Dodgers for a crazy six years and three million dollars. Ok back then that was a crazy contract. At first Goltz appeared to be pretty good. He pitched back to back shutouts of the Rival Giants in April of 1980. Afterwards his career went straight into the toilet. Imagine a car falling off a cliff. Yeah that’s Dave Goltz’ pitching career. The 6’4 200 pound right hander finished the 1980 season 7-11 with a 4.31 ERA. In only 171 innings, he allowed 198 hits. His strikeout per nine rate was a paltry 4.8. He gave up a ton of hits, and couldn’t strike anybody out. He was the epitome of a “bust,” a signing that goes horribly wrong. A complete and utter waste of money.
The creme de la’ creme to speak came when Manager Tommy Lasorda picked Goltz instead of a young rookie pitcher named Fernando Valenzuela to pitch in the 1980 NL west one game playoff. Ya know hindsight is always 20/20, but maybe that wasn’t such a smart move? Goltz was just putrid. He lasted only 3 innings allowing 4 runs on 8 hits, and taking the loss as the Dodgers lost the division to Houston 7-1.
Apparently single handedly ending the Dodgers season wasn’t enough for this bum. He continued to pitch for the Dodgers over the next two seasons. Of course he pitched terribly. In 1982 he was 2-7 with a 4.09 ERA whiffing only 48 batters in 77 innings.
Goltz was so bad he had to be pulled from the rotation and demoted into the bullpen. Goltz eventually got cut by the Dodgers after only a month into the 1982 season. He only pitched in two games for the Dodgers that year. He ended up signing with the Angels later that year. I guess the Angels still weren’t convinced about how bad he really was. After he went 8-5 with a 4.12 ERA and only whiffed 49 batters in 86 innings pitched, the Angels found out the hard way. Dave Goltz was now a bum. His transformation was complete. After going 0-6 with a 6.22 ERA to start the 1983 season for the Angels, he as put on the disabled list. It took the Angels 15 games for them to realize Goltz’ arm was gone. The torn rotator cuff ended his season. Goltz never returned to the Majors again.
So there you have it folks. A pitcher goes from 20 wins to legendary bum who blew the 1980 NL west playoff for the Dodgers. What it was about the Dodger Blue uniform that changed Goltz into a Bum we’ll never know. Dave Goltz does still rank 6th on the Twins all time wins list, so if you are a Dave Goltz fan, you still have that.