The American League Comeback Player of the Year in 1978, Caldwell won 137 games over 14 years in the majors. He came up with the San Diego Padres in 1971 and bounced around the big leagues for the next seven seasons. He went 14-5 for the San Francisco Giants in 1974 but struggled the following season. After a brief stop with the Cincinnati Reds in 1977, Caldwell joined the Milwaukee Brewers and quickly became one of their most reliable starters. He went 22-9 with a 2.36 ERA in 1978. He led the league in complete games (23) while setting a career-high in strikeouts (131). For his efforts he finished second in the Cy Young vote and 12th in the MVP. Caldwell went on to win double-digit games for Milwaukee over the next five seasons. He saw his record drop to 6-13 in 1984, which would be the final year of his career.
Caldwell reached the playoffs twice with the Brewers. He made one start in the 1981 ALCS and took a loss against the New York Yankees. He lost his only start in the 1982 ALCS against the California Angels as well. However, he made two starts in that year’s World Series and won both of them. He threw a three-hit complete game shutout in Game 1 against the St. Louis Cardinals. Then he pitched 8 and 1/3 innings in Game 5 to beat the Cardinals again. The victory put the Brewers within one win of the world championship, but they lost the next two games and the series.
In the best year of his career, 1978, Caldwell was one of three left-handed pitchers named Mike to beat New York Yankees ace Ron Guidry during his 25-3 season. (Mike Flanagan and Mike Willis were the other two. Wikipedia) Guidry went on to win the Cy Young that year. We featured Guidry in April.
Mike Caldwell – career stats