Jeff Reardon

Last updated

Jeff Reardon
Tony Oliva Jeff Reardon and 1987 Twins (cropped).png
Reardon (center) at the White House in 1987
Born: (1955-10-01) October 1, 1955 (age 65)
Pittsfield, Massachusetts
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
August 25, 1979, for the New York Mets
Last MLB appearance
May 4, 1994, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Win–loss record 73–77
Earned run average 3.16
Strikeouts 877
Saves 367
Career highlights and awards

Jeffrey James Reardon (born October 1, 1955) is an American former professional baseball relief pitcher who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1979–1994 with the New York Mets, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, Boston Red Sox, Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds, and New York Yankees. Reardon was nicknamed "The Terminator" for his intimidating presence on the mound and 98 mph fastball. [1] A long-time closer, Reardon became MLB's all-time saves leader in 1992 with his 342nd save, breaking Rollie Fingers' previous record of 341. Reardon's record was broken the following season by Lee Smith. Reardon currently ranks 10th on the all-time saves list with 367.



Out of high school, Reardon was drafted by the Montreal Expos in the 23rd round of the 1973 amateur draft, but did not sign. Reardon played college baseball for the University of Massachusetts Amherst. While at UMass, he played collegiate summer baseball for three years (1974-76) with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League, and in 2000 was named a member of the inaugural class of the Cape Cod Baseball League Hall of Fame. [2] After college, Reardon went undrafted and signed a minor league contract with the New York Mets in 1977, and was assigned to the Lynchburg Mets in the Single-A Carolina League. [3] Although undrafted, Reardon quickly made his way through the Mets' farm system, compiling a 30–9 record with a 2.68 ERA and 6 saves in 74 games combined between Lynchburg, Jackson in 1978, and Tidewater in 1979. [4]

Reardon made his Major League debut with the Mets on August 25, 1979, and would stay in the majors for the rest of his career. He pitched for the Mets until midway through the 1981 season, working mostly as a middle reliever, when he was traded to the Montreal Expos along with outfielder Dan Norman for Ellis Valentine. Lacking a reliable closer on the big league staff, the Expos immediately turned Reardon loose in the ninth inning, and he responded by saving 146 games from 1982 to 1986.

When with the Expos, Reardon suffered streaks of inconsistency, occasionally blowing two or three save opportunities in a row. During one bad streak in 1983, Montreal players' wives were invited to appear on the field, and the Expos' fans at Olympic Stadium booed his wife.

During his time in Montreal, Reardon was named to the All-Star team twice (1985–1986), and led the majors in saves during the 1985 season, earning the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year Award.

Prior to the start of the 1987 season, Reardon was again traded—this time to the Minnesota Twins along with catcher Tom Nieto—for pitchers Neal Heaton, Yorkis Pérez, and Alfredo Cardwood and catcher Jeff Reed. Although his performance dropped as compared to his previous five seasons, the trade would immediately pay dividends for the team as he would help the Twins win the 1987 World Series. The next season, he reverted to form, was named to his third All-Star team, and became the first pitcher in Major League Baseball history to have 40-save seasons in both the American and National Leagues. After another good season in 1989, Reardon became a free agent and signed with the Boston Red Sox on December 6. In honor of Reardon's signing, his birthplace of Dalton, Massachusetts, named its athletic field after him. [5] After saving only 21 games for the Red Sox in 1990, Reardon was named to his fourth and final All-Star team in 1991 after another 40-save season. He broke Rollie Fingers' all-time saves record in 1992 with his 342nd save. Later that season, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves for starting pitcher Nate Minchey and minor league outfielder Sean Ross. With the Braves, he pitched in his second World Series and was responsible for two of Atlanta's four losses versus Toronto, blowing a save in Game 2 and giving up the winning hit in Game 3.

Following the 1992 season, Reardon signed as a free agent with the Cincinnati Reds. However, his days of closing were over; he worked as the setup man to Rob Dibble. Reardon finished the 1993 season with his highest ERA (4.09) since 1987 and his fewest saves (8) since 1981. Granted free agency, Reardon signed with the New York Yankees on February 15, 1994. Although he went north with the team, Reardon retired on May 4, 1994, after compiling an 8.38 ERA while allowing 17 hits over 9 23 innings in 11 games. [6] After his 16-year career, Reardon stood second on the all-time saves list (to Lee Smith), finishing with more saves (367) than walks (358) and was the only reliever to have more than 20 saves every year from 1982 to 1988. [1] [7]

Post career

After the end of his career, Reardon retired to Palm Beach Gardens, Florida at PGA National Golf Club [8] with his wife, Phebe, and three children, Jay, Shane, and Kristi, turning down offers to coach in order to spend time with his family. Other than appearing as a corporate sponsor and speaker for Lerner Sports Marketing, [9] Reardon's retirement was uneventful.

On February 21, 2004, Reardon's son, Shane—who had long struggled with drugs and had been sent to the Academy at Swift River, a therapeutic boarding school in Massachusetts for his senior year in high school—died of a drug overdose at the age of 20. [10] Following his son's death, Reardon spiraled into depression, even trying to take his life, before seeking psychiatric help. Following a one-week stay in a clinic, Reardon was prescribed a half-dozen antidepressant and antipsychotic medications. [1] Just before Christmas 2005, Reardon was diagnosed with a blocked artery in his heart, which required insertion of a heart stent, being the second Reardon had needed. Following surgery, Reardon developed a urinary-tract infection, requiring more medications. By this time, he was taking more than a dozen separate prescriptions, one of which was Levaquin, which is known to have side effects such as paranoia, anxiety and depression—further exacerbating his pre-existing conditions. [1]

On December 26, 2005, Reardon was taken into custody in the parking area and charged by the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida Police Department for allegedly committing armed robbery at a Hamilton Jewelers store inside The Gardens Mall. [11] Reardon attributed his actions to the influence of the medications which he had been taking since his son died in 2004. [12] [13] Soon after the episode at the mall and his release from an overnight stay in jail, Reardon returned to a psychiatric facility, and was an inpatient for nearly two months. At that time, his doctors drastically reduced his medications and began to administer electroshock treatments. However, Reardon still had to stand trial.

Reardon was eventually found not guilty of the charges by reason of drug-induced insanity. [14] The judge ruled because Reardon had been taking anti-depressants and mood stabilizers, and he was distraught over his son's death, there was no reasonable explanation for the robbery. In addition, Reardon was not required to be committed after the ruling.

See also

Related Research Articles

Gary Carter American baseball player, coach, and sportscaster

Gary Edmund Carter was an American professional baseball catcher whose 19-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career was spent primarily with the Montreal Expos and New York Mets.

Lee Smith (baseball) American baseball player

Lee Arthur Smith is an American former professional baseball pitcher, who played 18 years in Major League Baseball (MLB) for eight teams. Smith served mostly as a relief pitcher during his career. One of the dominant closers in baseball history, he held the major league record for career saves from 1993 until 2006, when San Diego Padres relief pitcher Trevor Hoffman passed his total of 478. Smith was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame on December 9, 2018, as part of the Today's Game Era Committee vote.

Neil Allen American baseball player

Neil Patrick Allen is an American baseball former pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB).

Ellis Valentine American baseball player

Ellis Clarence Valentine is a former Major League Baseball right fielder. He is remembered for having one of the all-time great throwing arms. "There's a plateau where you can't throw the ball any harder and you can't be any more accurate", said former Montreal manager Felipe Alou. "That was Ellis Valentine."

Larry Jaster American baseball player

Larry Edward Jaster is a former left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves between 1965 and 1972 with the exception of 1971.

The 1988 Minnesota Twins finished at 91–71, second in the AL West. 3,030,672 fans attended Twins games, at the time, establishing a new major league record. Pitcher Allan Anderson had his most successful season in 1988, winning the American League ERA title at 2.45 and compiling a record of 16-9 in 30 starts.

José Luis Paniagua Sánchez is a Dominican professional baseball relief pitcher. He appeared in Major League Baseball from 1996 through 2003 with the Montreal Expos, Seattle Mariners, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago White Sox.

Tommy Hutton American baseball player and analyst

Thomas George Hutton, is an American former professional baseball infielder-outfielder who played in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies, Toronto Blue Jays, and Montreal Expos.

The 1977 New York Mets season was the 16th regular season for the Mets, who played home games at Shea Stadium. Initially led by manager Joe Frazier followed by Joe Torre, the team had a 64–98 record and finished in last place for the first time since 1967, and for the first time since divisional play was introduced in 1969.

The 1994 Montreal Expos season was the 26th season of the franchise. They had the best record in Major League Baseball (74-40), when the 1994–95 Major League Baseball strike ended the season and the team's postseason aspirations. From June 1 forward, Montreal transformed into the dominant club in the league, going 46−18 until the strike. In turn, they also produced the most successful season in franchise history in terms of winning percentage (.649). Five Expos represented the National League at the All-Star Game held in Pittsburgh, including Moisés Alou, who had the game-winning hit for the National League.

The 1981 Montreal Expos season was the 13th season in franchise history. They made it to the postseason for the first time in franchise history. However, their season would end in heartbreak at Olympic Stadium, just like in 1980. This time by the Dodgers in the NLCS, thanks to a ninth-inning solo home run in a winner-take-all Game 5 by Rick Monday to break up a tied ballgame in what has since been referred to as "Blue Monday" by Expos fans. This was the closes the Expos ever got to a World Series appearance while in Montreal.

The 1982 Montreal Expos season was the 14th season in franchise history. They finished 86-76, 6 games back of the St. Louis Cardinals in the National League East.

The 1991 Montreal Expos season was the 23rd season in franchise history. After several winning seasons, the Expos faltered in 1991, winning only 20 of its first 49 games. Manager Buck Rodgers was replaced as manager by Tom Runnells. The team ultimately finished 71-90. The highlight of the season was Dennis Martinez pitching a perfect game at Dodger Stadium on July 28, 1991.

The 1993 Montreal Expos season was the 25th season of the franchise. The Expos finished in second place in the National League East division, with a record of 94 wins and 68 losses.

The 1995 Montreal Expos season was the 27th season in franchise history.

The 1997 Montreal Expos season was the 29th season of the franchise. They finished 78-84, 23 games back of the Atlanta Braves in the NL East and 14 games back of the Florida Marlins in the Wild Card. They played the Toronto Blue Jays in Interleague play for the first time during the season.

The 1973 Montreal Expos season was the fifth season in the history of the franchise. The Expos finished in fourth place in the National League East with a record of 79–83, 3½ games behind the New York Mets.

The 1996 Montreal Expos season was the 28th season in franchise history.

The 1987 Montreal Expos season was the 19th season in franchise history.

The 1988 Montreal Expos season was the 20th season in franchise history.


  1. 1 2 3 4 "The heart of Jeff Reardon's darkness". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  2. "Hall of Fame Ceremony 20 January 2001". Retrieved September 1, 2019.
  3. "Jeff Reardon Statistics and History". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  4. "Jeff Reardon Minor League Statistics & History". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  5. "Jeff Reardon Athletic Field". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  6. "Jeff Reardon Statistics and History". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  7. "The Ballplayers – Jeff Reardon". Archived from the original on July 25, 2015. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  8. "PGA National Homes for Sale & PGA National Real Estate, – Jeff Lichtenstein". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  9. "Jeff Reardon baseball Bio and Statistics". Archived from the original on August 17, 2010. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  10. Frias, Carlos (January 22, 2006). "Son's fatal overdose consumes ex-pitcher". The Palm Beach Post. Archived from the original on February 3, 2006. Retrieved August 17, 2020.
  11. "Reardon blames drug reaction for robbery attempt". Archived from the original on January 11, 2013. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  12. "Shane Reardon Obituary – West Palm Beach, Florida". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  13. David Kesmodel. "Former Reliever's Bizarre Arrest Breaks From Usual Blotter Fare". Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  14. "Judge finds Reardon not guilty on robbery charge". Retrieved July 25, 2015.

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Rollie Fingers
All-Time Saves Leader
Succeeded by
Lee Smith