Former big leaguer Pete Ladd has passed away following a battle with cancer, per an announcement by the Brewers. The Portland, Maine resident was 67 years old.
“We learned today of the passing of Pete Ladd, a key member of the great Brewers teams of the early 1980s,” a statement from the club read, “Pete was a man with a big personality and an even bigger heart. Our thoughts and condolences go to his family.”
A 25th-round pick in the 1977 draft, Ladd was selected by the Red Sox as a relief pitcher and worked through the minors in that role for two seasons before making his big league with the Astros in 1979. Though his initial cup of coffee lasted just 12 1/3 innings of work, Ladd impressed in his limited time with a 2.92 ERA that was 25% better than league average at the time. Ladd wouldn’t appear again in the majors until the 1982 season, when he pitched in 16 regular season games for the Brewers, with a 4.00 ERA in 18 innings of work.
Ladd was tapped to serve as Milwaukee’s closer during the 1982 season due to an injury sustained by Hall of Fame relief arm Rollie Fingers. The right-hander was excellent while filling in for Fingers, pitching 3 1/3 scoreless innings against the Angels during the ALCS and striking out five en route to the Brewers’ first and to this point only World Series appearance in franchise history. Ladd also recorded two outs in the World Series against the Cardinals, working around a hit and two walks to avoid giving up a run during the appearance.
Following the club’s World Series run in 1982, Ladd would remain with the Brewers for three more seasons. That included the 1983 campaign, which turned out to be the best of Ladd’s career. He posted a 2.55 ERA, 48% better than league average for the day by measure of ERA+, and a 2.92 FIP in 49 1/3 innings (44 appearances) while striking out 21.1% of batters faced, though Milwaukee unfortunately missed the postseason that year after winning 87 games and finishing fifth in the AL East.
Ladd, then 29, would wrap up his big league career in Seattle after departing the Brewers following the 1985 season. He pitched well for the Mariners in 1986, with a better-than-average 3.82 ERA in 70 2/3 innings of work across 52 appearances. While he continued his playing career with the Dodgers in 1987, he struggled at the Triple-A level and didn’t crack the club’s big league roster, leading him to retirement following the 1987 season. In all, Ladd appeared in 205 games during his six-year MLB career, recording 17 wins, 39 saves, and 209 strikeouts in 287 innings of work with a career ERA of 4.14.
We at MLB Trade Rumors extend our condolences to Ladd’s family, friends, fans and former teammates.