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Dody Rather

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Dody Eugene Rather

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[edit] Biographical Information

Dody Rather pitched in the minor leagues from 1984 to 1987. Not a very hard thrower (86 mph on his fastball), he relied heavily on a knuckle-curve.

Originally drafted by the New York Yankees in the fourth round of the 1984 MLB January Draft, Rather opted not to sign. However, he did sign after being taken by the Yankees in the first round of the secondary phase of the 1984 June Draft. He had gone 24-2 with 241 K in 210 IP in junior college and had gone to the finals of the Junior College World Series.

He began his professional career in 1984, going 0-4 with a 5.92 ERA in 13 games (five starts) for the Oneonta Yankees. Though he allowed only 34 hits in 38 innings while striking out 59 batters, he also walked 35 batsmen, or nearly one per inning.

He improved dramatically in 1985. Pitching for Oneonta, he went 8-0 in eight games, posting a minuscule 0.31 after allowing only two earned runs on 22 hits and 16 walks in 58 innings. He struck out 88 batters, completed four games and tossed two shutouts. His ERA was the best in the New York-Penn League (though he did not pitch enough innings to win the ERA title officially, as it went to Troy Evers) and he was also tops in WHIP (0.655), H/9 IP (3.4) and K/BB ratio (5.50). He was second in K/9 IP (13.7), behind only Stuart Stauffacher (16.1). He tossed a 15-strikeout no-hitter against the Watertown Pirates and had 33 strikeouts in a separate two-start stretch. He had a 49-inning streak without an earned run, the best in the NYPL since 1946. Baseball America named him as a NYPL All-Star pitcher, alongside Bobby Thigpen, Blaise Ilsley and Evers as well as Player of the Year. They only listed him as the league's 8th-best prospect, though, tied with Evers, Mike Christopher and Rick Balabon.

That great performance earned him a promotion to the Fort Lauderdale Yankees, with whom he went 2-3 with a 3.47 ERA in six starts. All told, he went a combined 10-3 with a 1.53 ERA, striking out 123 batters in 94 1/3 innings, while allowing 53 hits and walking 36 in 1985.

On September 15, 1985, he was traded to the Houston Astros as a player to be named later in a deal that sent Joe Niekro to the Yankees. The Astros also received Jim Deshaies and Neder Horta.

Rather pitched for the Osceola Astros in 1986, going 12-9 with a 3.21 ERA in 27 games (25 starts). In 171 innings, he allowed 154 hits and 82 walks, while striking out 151 batters. He led the Florida State League in strikeouts, finished second (behind Jeff Fassero) in innings pitched and tied for second in games started. He was ranked the #10 prospect in the league by Baseball America.

In 1987, Rather performed poorly, going 4-12 with a 5.46 ERA in 26 games (22 starts) for the Columbus Astros. He finished second in the league in losses, behind Jose Mesa and Todd Provence.

Overall, Rather went 26-28 with a 3.75 ERA. In 432 innings, he had 413 strikeouts and 218 walks.

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