Special to The Malibu Times
This profile on Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher and former Pepperdine University Wave Randy Wolf is one in a series on individuals in the community who are involved with the world of sports.
While growing up in the San Fernando Valley, if he himself was not playing baseball, Randy Wolf could frequently be found watching a Pepperdine University Waves or Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game instead. After a stellar pitching career at El Camino Real High School, Wolf earned prominent roles with both teams he grew up rooting.
The left-handed pitcher is in his 11th Major League Baseball season, with a career record of 95-84 and a 4.20 earned run average. This season with the Dodgers, through this past Sunday, his ERA is 3.55, his lowest since 2002, but his record is only 5-6. In an attempt to change his luck, the superstitious Wolf changed his uniform number from 21 to 43, which was the number he wore when he was an All-Star with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2003.
“Anybody who has been in the Major Leagues as long as Randy, there is a reason,” Bob Grant, the Dodgers’ batting practice pitcher, said. “He is an outstanding pitcher. He has a number of pitches, and he can throw them all for strikes.”
The Dodgers drafted you out of high school, but you turned them down to go to Pepperdine. Why did you make that decision?
I was drafted late, and I had a full scholarship to Pepperdine. In order for me to pass up college, it would have had to be for a ridiculous amount of money. I was glad I made my decision to go to Pepperdine. I had a great experience there. It was not as much of a [sports] college experience as you would think because they do not have a football team, and it is a smaller school. But it was a lot of fun, and I met a lot of good people.
After college, the Philadelphia Phillies drafted you. How did the fans treat you?
I was really lucky. The fans can be tough on the players, but for some reason they were always good to me. They created the Wolf Pack [cheering section], and that was great. From my third start at home on, the Wolf Pack was at every game.
After the Phillies, you came to the hometown Dodgers, but you had injuries and the team did not resign you. What was that experience like?
I was disappointed that the Dodgers did not try to resign me. I signed with San Diego, and got traded to Houston. It was a weird time, but I am back here now, and we are playing good baseball. That is the most important thing.
What was your reaction when you learned that the Dodgers wanted to sign you again this year?
After I left here in ‘07, I did not think I would ever come back. I thought I was going to resign with the [Houston] Astros, but they pulled back their offer. Then, my agent called me and said, “You are not going to believe who is interested in signing you,” and it was the Dodgers.
This season you have been pitching great, but you do not have the record to show for it. How frustrating has that been?
It is obviously frustrating. I know as a starting pitching you are judged on your win-loss record, and mine does not look very good right now. I am happy that I have been consistent all year. I have had three bad starts, but other than that I have given the team a chance to win every time out.
What are your goals for the rest of the season?
Number one is to win the World Series. I have never been to the playoffs, and this team has a good shot to do that. Personally, I want to be consistent.
Who is the toughest hitter you have faced?
[Atlanta Braves’] Chipper Jones, and Vladimir Guerrero when he was with the Montreal Expos.
How is your relationship with your older brother, Jim, now that you are a professional ballplayer and he is a professional umpire?
We are close brothers. But I do not get to see him much because [Major League Baseball] tries to keep him from working our games. Growing up, we would play Wiffle Ball in the summertime. He hung out with me a lot, and I would try to compete with him. He is 10 years older, but I was always frustrated because I could not beat him in a race.
Do your teammates say anything to you when your brother makes a call they do not like?
A couple of pitchers said his [strike] zone was tight last year. But when I watch him umpire, I think he does a good job … If he makes a bad call, he does not get a Christmas gift that year [laughing].