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Tom Niedenfuer

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1987 Topps Traded #88T Tom Niedenfuer

Thomas Edward Niedenfuer

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[edit] Biographical Information

Tom Niedenfuer was a relief pitcher who saved 97 games in 10 seasons from 1981 to 1990.

Born in Minnesota, he attended Washington State University in 1979 and 1980. Also at Washington State in 1980 was Doug Sisk, who went on to have a similar career primarily as a National League reliever from 1982 to 1991. Niedenfuer and Sisk were to eventually pitch together again on the 1988 Baltimore Orioles.

Niedenfuer was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1977 in the 36th round, but didn't go with them until he was signed as a free agent in 1980. Starting out at San Antonio in the Texas League in 1981, he went 13-3 with a 1.80 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 90 innings. That earned him an immediate ticket to the majors where he appeared in 17 games with a 3.81 ERA. He pitched 5 innings in the 1981 World Series which the Dodgers won, giving up no runs.

He appeared in 4 games in Albuquerque in the Pacific Coast League in 1982, but was up in the majors most of the year, posting a 2.71 ERA with 9 saves.

From 1983 to 1988, he was always in double figures in saves, earning from 11 to 19 saves each year. He was 7th in the league in 1985.

He pitched 2 innings in the 1983 NLCS, giving up no runs. In the 1985 NLCS against the St. Louis Cardinals, he gave up a couple of high-visibility home runs including one to Ozzie Smith and lost two of the games. Although his image took a hit from that experience, overall in post-season play in his career he pitched 21 1/3 innings and gave up only 8 runs.

Niedenfuer was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in May 1987, so he missed the Dodgers winning the 1988 World Series. He continued to get saves with Baltimore until he became a free agent after 1988 and signed with the Seattle Mariners.

Still only 29, Niedenfuer posted an ERA of 6.69 with the Mariners in 1989, and was released at the end of spring training in April of the following year. He finished out his career playing one season with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1990, showing a decent ERA of 3.46 but going 0-6 with 2 saves.

He married actress Judy Landers in 1987 and therefore is the brother-in-law of actress Audrey Landers. In August 2006, when Jarrett Foote, 14, placed second at the US Kids Golf Teen World Championships in Naples, FL, Foote's uncle, former big-league pitcher Tom Niedenfuer, served as his caddie.

He is not to be confused with Tom Wiedenbauer, who had a brief major league career in 1979 shortly before Niedenfuer broke in.

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