Tim Crews-Photo from Baseballhistorian.com

Dodgers In Time-Tim Crews

Our Dodgers in time series covers and honors important people within the Dodger organization. The Dodgers in Time series can cover players, managers, coaches, announcers, writers, concession workers, fans, and executives. Some of the people we cover unfortunately are no longer with us, and it’s important for us to remember them.

Stanley Timothy Crews is no longer with us anymore, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t be remembering him. Stanley Timothy Crews, also known as Tim Crews, pitched for the Dodgers from 1987-1992. Tim Crews was originally from Tampa Florida, and attended Valencia Community College of Orlando Florida before being drafted by the Kansas City Royals during the 1980 amateur draft. Crews decided not to sign with the Royals and spent another season at college before being drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the second round of the 1981 draft. Crews did finally sign with the Brewers, but was never called up.

On December 10, of 1986 Crews was traded to the Dodgers along with pitcher Tim Leary for first baseman Greg Brock. The trade was considered a win for the Dodgers. After all, Brock was a flop, and Leary and Crews became an integral part of the Dodger’s late 80’s early 90’s pitching staff. Crews was primarily a relief pitcher (middle reliever), and didn’t make his MLB debut until 1987 with the Dodgers.

The right hander pitched for the Dodgers during their World Series championship season of 1988. Crews wore number 52, and pitched in 20 games for the Dodgers out of the bullpen in 1987. That season he whiffed 20 batters and walked only eight in 29 innings pitched. During the championship 1988 season, which as we know was a pretty good year for the Dodgers, Crews pitched in 42 games. He posted a 4-0 record, a 3.14 ERA, and 45 whiffs against 16 walks in 72 innings of work.

The next couple of seasons were considered his best. Crews pitched in 44 games for the Dodgers in 1989, posting a 3.21 ERA, 56 whiffs, 23 walks, and an 8.2 whiff per nine rate. The following season in 1990 Crews pitched in 66 games. He finished with a 4-5 record, a 2.77 ERA, and five saves. In 107 innings pitched he whiffed 76 and walked 24. Once again the following season in 1991 Crews was a workhorse. He pitched in 60 games, posting a 3.43 ERA, saved six games, and whiffed 53 batters against only 19 walks.

The 1992 season was a frustrating season for Crews and probably his worst as a Dodger. It was also his last sadly. Crews battled injuries that season and pitched in 49 games for the Blue. He posted a career worst 5.19 ERA, he whiffed 43 and walked 20 in 78 innings pitched.

Crews was a quiet guy, who ended his career with a record of 11-13 and a 3.44 ERA. Crews was known for his impeccable control. He rarely walked guys. His career walk per nine rate was a superb 2.3. Crews finished with 15 saves, and 293 whiffs in 432.2 innings pitched. Crews was also an occasional spot starter when the Dodgers needed him. In 1990 and 1992 he started two games both seasons.

In January of 1993, Crews signed as a free agent with the Cleveland Indians for 1.1 million dollars. Sadly though he would never get to pitch for the Tribe. That’s because Crews was killed in a boating accident during spring training of that year, along with teammate Steve Olin.

During spring training on March 23, 1993, Crews, and pitchers Steve Olin, and Bob Ojeda were boating on little lake Nellie, in Clermont Florida. About an hour after sunset Crews accidentally crashed into a dock at high speed when he was unable to see where he was going. Crews and fellow teammate Steve Olin were killed in the accident. Ojeda survived the accident, but was severely injured. It was later discovered that Crews had been drinking.

Tim Crews

For the rest of that season, the Indians and Dodgers both wore patches to commemorate the fallen pitchers. The Indians wore two patches, which was a Baseball with the numbers 31 (Olin), and 52 (Crews). The Dodgers patch had Crews’ number 52, and was worn the entire season by all Dodger players.

After the accident it was discovered that Crews had been drinking and his blood alcohol level was above the legal limit for operating a boat. Don’t get this message mixed up though. Crews was a family man, a good man. Crews had a wife and three kids. (Olin also had a wife and three kids of his own. But this piece is about Crews) The Crews family had just bought a ranch next to the docs of the same lake where he had been killed. Crews was an avid boater, and had just purchased a new 18 foot skeeter bass and went out to show off his new boat, and do some fishing with Olin and Ojeda. It was too dark though, and Crews could barely see. Also note that the water was at low tide because the season had been a wet one, which was unusual for that time of the year.

A family friend had driven his truck up to the shore to flash his lights onto the lake so Crews could see where he was going when coming home. Unfortunately he was too late. Crews ended up slamming his boat into the 185 foot wooden dock that jutted out from one of his neighbor’s backyard.

The story is tragic. The Crews family had just moved into their new 45 acre ranch home, and Tim’s belongings were still unpacked. The following season there was a ceremony at Dodger Stadium, and Cleveland to honor the fallen players. Tommy Lasorda delivered the eulogy at Tim’s funeral, and considered Laurie, and Tim’s children like his own.  This was the first time a major league player had been killed during the season since Thurman Munson in 1979.

Even though Tim had been drinking, this terrible tragedy was just that.  It was an accident. Crews meant no harm, it was just too dark. (Please be careful drinking and boating guys.) Even though this happened many years ago, our thoughts and condolences go out to Tim’s wife Laurie and the entire Crews family. Condolences also go to the Olin family as well. We won’t let Tim Crews be forgotten over here. Tim Crews, Lasorda’s Lair salutes you. A true Blue Dodger in time.

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Tags: Bob Ojeda Los Angeles Dodgers Steve Olin Tim Crews

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