Doug Rau

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Douglas James Rau

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Biographical Information[edit]

Doug Rau was a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers for most of his nine-year career. He won 81 and lost 60, for a career .574 winning percentage.

Rau was born in Texas and attended Texas A&M University. He was a picked by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the secondary phase of the 1970 amateur draft. He was an immediate success for the Bakersfield Dodgers in the California League in 1970, going 12-2 with a 1.75 ERA. He was moved up to the AAA Spokane Indians for just one game the same summer. Back there in 1971, he went 5-5 with a 3.87 ERA, and in the same year in AA with the Albuquerque Dukes of the Texas League, he went 7-5 with a 1.69 ERA. Albuquerque became the Dodgers' AAA farm team in 1972, and his ERA went up a notch to 3.51, but his win/loss record was an impressive 14-3 and he made his major league debut that season.

It was a terrific time to break in with the Dodgers, because they had been rebuilding since the 1966 team that won the pennant. By 1972, they had put together the core of the team that was to win pennants in 1974, 1977, 1978, and 1981.

Rau was immediately successful when he came up in 1972, with a 2.20 ERA in 32 2/3 innings and giving up only 18 hits. He had a record of 2-2. He didn't win a starting job, though, as he was facing tough competition. The next season, in 1973 he appeared in 31 games, but started only 3. His ERA was 3.96, and he had a 4-2 record with 3 saves. In 1974, the Dodgers made Rau a starter and they won the pennant. His record was 13-11. He pitched in the 1974 NLCS, but gave up 3 runs in only 2/3rds of an inning. He did not appear in the 1974 World Series. In 1975, he went 15-9 with a 3.11 ERA, and in 1976, he did as well with a record of 16-12 and an ERA of 2.57. His ERA was second in the National League.

Both 1977 and 1978, pennant-winning years for the Dodgers, were good ones for Rau. In 1977 he went 14-8, with a winning percentage of .636, while in 1978 he went 15-9 with a winning percentage of .625. In the 1977 World Series he did not pitch effectively, but in the 1978 World Series he gave up no runs in 2 innings pitched. Rau's career was close to an end, though, because of injuries. In 1979, he pitched in only 11 games, with a record of 1-5, and had rotator cuff surgery. He was not in the majors in 1980, and when he came back in 1981 with the California Angels, he appeared in only 3 games, going 1-2.

The most similar contemporary pitcher to Rau, using the similarity scores method, is Ed Figueroa.


Rau hit a triple in the first at-bat of his career. Then, with echoes of Hoyt Wilhelm, he never tripled (or homered) again. It was to be 35 years before any other pitcher (Joel Hanrahan) tripled in his first career at-bat.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 3 (1975, 1976 & 1978)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1975-1977)

Related Sites[edit]