Al Hrabosky
Born: (1949-07-21) July 21, 1949 (age 72)
Oakland, California
Batted: Right
Threw: Left
MLB debut
June 16, 1970, for the St. Louis Cardinals
Last MLB appearance
August 18, 1982, for the Atlanta Braves
MLB statistics
Win–loss record64–35
Earned run average3.10
Career highlights and awards

Alan Thomas Hrabosky (/rəˈbɒski/; born July 21, 1949) is a former Major League Baseball player from 1970–1982 for the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves and is currently the color commentator on Cardinals regular season broadcasts on Bally Sports Midwest.

Hrabosky's nickname is The Mad Hungarian because of his unusual last name and colorful character.[1]

Playing career

Hrabosky played both baseball and football at Savanna High School[2] in Anaheim, California and was originally drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the 11th round of the 1967 amateur draft, but did not sign with the club. Two years later the Cardinals made him their first round choice. Within a year, at the age of 20, he made his major league debut, pitching a scoreless inning against the San Diego Padres.

During his time with the Cardinals, Hrabosky became a fan favorite for his antics on the mound. When entering a game, he would turn his back to the batter, walk towards second base, vigorously rub the ball between his palms several times, take a deep breath, and pound the ball into his mitt. He would then storm back to the mound, staring down the batter. Although the crowd would roar in delight, most batters were not fond of the pitcher's routine.

Hrabosky led the National League in saves in 1975 with 22 (a career best) en route to winning the Sporting News "NL Fireman of the Year" award. He also finished the season with a career high in wins posting a 13–3 record with an ERA of just 1.67. After eight seasons in St. Louis, the Cardinals traded Hrabosky to the Kansas City Royals in a swap of closers for Mark Littell. Following just two years with the Royals, he was released and signed with the Atlanta Braves.

Early in his career with the Cardinals, Hrabosky enhanced his menacing appearance with long hair, and a horseshoe moustache. When Vern Rapp became Cardinals manager and imposed a grooming code on the players in 1977, Hrabosky cut his hair and shaved the moustache despite his vehement opposition. He explained, "Relief pitching is 75 per cent mental. How am I going to scare hell out of the hitters with my new image? How am I going to convince them I'm a dangerous madman if I look like a golf-pro? I've never been blessed with great ability. My mystique was what made me successful."[3] The enmity between Hrabosky and Rapp persisted throughout the season and included the former being suspended on May 21 for what Cardinals management stated as "rank insubordination."[4]

Perhaps Hrabosky's most memorable performance came during an ABC Monday Night Baseball game on May 9, 1977, against the Cincinnati Reds. In the top of the ninth with the game tied at 5–5, Hrabosky allowed the first three hitters (all left-handed), Ken Griffey, Joe Morgan, and Dan Driessen to reach base and load the bases. As the Redbirds home crowd roared, Hrabosky went into his "Mad Hungarian" routine described above and proceeded to strike out right-handed power hitters George Foster, Johnny Bench, and Bob Bailey. The Cardinals went on to win 6–5 on a Ted Simmons home run in the 10th inning.[5]

On December 8, 1977, he was traded to the Kansas City Royals for Mark Littell and Buck Martinez. The following year, he went 8–7 for the Royals while having a 2.88 ERA with 20 saves in 75 innings of work and 58 games pitched. He had 60 strikeouts and 35 walks while allowing fewer hits and runs than the year before. He appeared in three games of the ALCS that year, his first and only time pitching in the postseason. He appeared in the eighth inning of Games 1, 2, and 3, allowing a combined total of three hits and one run, although the Royals lost in four games. [6] The following year, he went 9–4 with a 3.74 ERA while having 11 saves in 65 innings. He allowed more hits and runs (67 and 31, respectively) while having 39 strikeouts and 10 walks. He was granted free agency after the season, and he subsequently signed with the Atlanta Braves.

During his time with the Braves he saw diminished playing time and recorded just seven saves over three seasons. Hrabosky's last appearance in the majors was on August 18, 1982, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium against the Montreal Expos. He pitched the final two innings of a blowout, allowing four runs on four hits with a strikeout and two home runs (hit by Andre Dawson and Tim Wallach) allowed in a 12–2 loss. [7] Twelve days later, he was released by the Braves. Hrabosky signed with the Chicago White Sox during Spring training in 1983 but retired before the season began. In 13 seasons he recorded 64 wins, 35 losses, and 97 saves with an ERA of 3.10.

Broadcasting career

Following his playing career, he has provided color commentary for Cardinals games since 1985 and has been with Bally Sports Midwest since 1997. Hrabosky also hosted his own radio show on KFNS 590AM in St. Louis. He also serves as an occasional fill-in analyst on the Cardinals Radio Network.

See also


  1. ^ "Al Hrabosky Stats". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  2. ^ "MLB draft: A look at Orange County's alumni dream team". Retrieved August 17, 2009.
  3. ^ Boswell, Thomas. "Opposing Batters Stop Needling Mad Hungarian," The Washington Post, Wednesday, March 23, 1977. Retrieved September 8, 2020
  4. ^ "Hrabosky Is Suspended," The Associated Press, Saturday, May 21, 1977. Retrieved September 8, 2020
  5. ^ "Cincinnati Reds at St. Louis Cardinals Box Score, May 9, 1977". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  6. ^ "Al Hrabosky Postseason Pitching Game Logs". Retrieved February 6, 2019.
  7. ^ "Montreal Expos at Atlanta Braves Box Score, August 18, 1982". Retrieved February 6, 2019.