Sunday, April 11, 2010
#199) SKIP LOCKWOOD
Skip Lockwood joined the New York Mets when his contract was purchased from the Oakland Athletics on July 28, 1975. The hard-throwing pitcher actually started as a third baseman in the major leagues. It was decided early on that his success in baseball would depend on his converting to a pitcher. When he joined the Mets he was in the middle of another transition. This time a move to the role of relief pitcher. "I thought my career was over," Skip would remember. He was sent back to the minor leagues and worked on the change with the Triple-A Tucson Toros in 1975. Lockwood felt that he got too uptight between starts and pitching more often would solve that problem. It worked and appearing every day had another benefit. "I felt more a part of the team." he explained.
"In the 70's if you were in the bullpen you had one foot in the minor leagues." said Skip. It was a time before bullpen specialization, but that was changing. Teams began to designate a closer to finish games. Ken Sanders was ticketed for that job with the Mets. A freak eye injury forced Sanders to the disabled list and provided Lockwood the opportunity to close. Skip excelled with the chance. In 1976, he had 19 saves and a 2.67 ERA. " I wanted to get the ball with the game on the line," Lockwood explained, "I loved to pitch." With a different perspective he was able to handle the pressure too. "It's a Samaritan kind of thing to come out of the bullpen and save a game for somebody else." he said, "I haven't done it long, but I like relief pitching because you are not involved in tangential things. You're isolated on one problem—to get the guy out and save the ball game."
Skip had a great friendship with staff ace, Tom Seaver and replaced "The Franchise" as the Mets team representative after he was traded in 1977. He was designated the Mets' Rolaids Relief Man and led the team in saves from 1976-1978. A shoulder injury forced Lockwood to the disabled list and prematurely ended his season in late June of 1979. He was signed as the first-ever free agent of his hometown Boston Red Sox on November 27, 1979.
After his playing career Skip enrolled at the Sloan School at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He graduated with an MBA in 1983, and became one of the few MIT graduates to have played Major League Baseball. Lockwood also has a Masters degree from Fairfield University and a Bachelor's of Science degree from Emerson College.
He has served as a bank president, and CEO of the internet marketing company PACE 360. Skip makes appearances as a motivational speaker through his association with Pro Athletes in Demand.
Skip's wife, Kathleen Lockwood has written a book entitled, "Major League Bride: An Inside Look at Life Outside the Ballpark" about their experiences together.
Skip Lockwood signed his card in the set from an autograph request sent to his home on June 22, 2009.