On this day in 1949 Ralph Michael Caldwell was born in Tarboro, North Carolina. He went to college at NC State before the Padres selected him in the 12th round (273rd pick) of the 1971 draft. Despite the fact that other teams passed on him over 270 times, Caldwell made his major league debut two months later and never returned to the minors.
Caldwell pitched three seasons for the Padres, three for the Giants and part of one for the Reds before joining the Brewers in a trade that sent two minor leaguers to Cincinnati. Once he arrived in Milwaukee, though, he went on to become one of the greatest pitchers in franchise history.
Caldwell's first full season in Milwaukee was his best one: He made 37 appearances and pitched 23 complete games (including six shutouts) in 1978, posting a 2.36 ERA and finishing second in the AL Cy Young voting. Despite the fact that he struck out just three batters per nine innings Caldwell had a 3.74 ERA in 239 appearances over eight seasons as a Brewer and was the winning pitcher in two of the team's three wins in the 1982 World Series.
Caldwell is still among the Brewer all time leaders in several categories: