Rick O'Keeffe

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Richard John O'Keeffe

BR Minors page

Biographical Information[edit]

Starting pitcher Rick O'Keeffe was the fifth overall draft pick in the 1975 amateur draft. Despite playing nine seasons in the minor leagues, including three at Triple-A, O'Keeffe never made the major leagues.

O'Keeffe was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in 1975, following Danny Goodwin, Mike Lentz, Les Filkins and Brian Rosinski. None of the first three pitchers chosen (Lentz, O'Keeffe, Ted Barnicle) made the majors. Rick began his professional career that year, playing for the Newark Co-Pilots. In his rookie professional season, he went 7-3 with a 2.82 ERA in 11 starts, allowing only 43 hits in 67 innings, though he walked a whopping 54. He was 8th in the New York-Penn League in ERA and tied for the lead with two shutouts. He pitched for the Burlington Bees in 1976, going 7-4 with a 2.87 ERA in 25 starts, walking 95 batters in 166 innings. He was 5th in the Midwest League in ERA.

O'Keeffe began the 1977 season with the Holyoke Millers in the Brewers system, however on June 15, he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds with fellow minor leaguer Garry Pyka for pitcher Mike Caldwell. O'Keeffe finished the season with the Trois-Rivieres Aigles and went a combined 9-10 in 28 starts that season. He was third in the Eastern League in both walks (84) and strikeouts (115).

In 1978, he went 4-5 with a 4.15 ERA for the Nashville Sounds. He split 1979 between the Greensboro Hornets (6-7, 3.84 ERA) and Sounds (0-6, 6.21 ERA), going a combined 6-13 with a 4.39 ERA in 27 games (23 starts). His control was improving, though, with 47 walks in 125 innings altogether. In 1980, he went 9-5 with a 3.10 ERA for the Waterbury Reds (6-1, Sv, 2.30) and Indianapolis Indians (3-4, 4.27) and in 1981, he went 7-8 with a 4.69 ERA for those same two teams (though he spent the bulk of 1981 with AAA Indianapolis instead of AA Waterbury, a contrast to 1980).

O'Keeffe began the 1982 season with the Indians; however he did poorly, was presumably released and wound up in the Toronto Blue Jays system. Overall, he went 2-3 with a 7.27 ERA for the Indians, Knoxville Blue Jays and Syracuse Chiefs. He did not play at all in 1983. He attempted a comeback with the New York Mets in 1984, and though he went 2-0 in seven starts for the Jackson Mets, his ERA was a lofty 4.89.

Overall, O'Keeffe went 53-51 in 209 minor league games. He walked 532 in 975 2/3 IP.