Former Atlanta Braves reliever Adrian Devine dies at 68

Bill Shanks

Former Atlanta Braves relief pitcher Adrian Devine died Saturday after a long battle with cancer. He was 68 years old.

WGCL CBS 46 in Atlanta did a tremendous story a month ago as Devine’s friends came together to show their support in his battle. 

Here is the story.

The Braves originally drafted Devine in the second round of the 1970 draft out of Ball High School in Galveston, Texas.

Devine made it to Atlanta first in 1973, pitching in 24 games and making one start. He had mainly been a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, but he quickly found a role as a reliever.

He had a 6.40 earned run average in that first season, but he had four saves.

Then in 1974, Devine had an arm injury. A recap in a Braves media guide a few years later had an interesting description of Devine’s arm issues.

“Doctors advised Devine to go back to school and forget about baseball when he was suffering from arm troubles in 1974. However, Devine submitted to surgery and decided to give baseball one more try in spring training 1975. His arm suddenly came to life and he’s been an excellent pitcher ever since.”

Devine had a great season in 1975 with Triple-A Richmond. He was 10-6 with a 2.98 ERA in 27 games (24 starts). The Braves then called Devine up to Atlanta when the rosters expanded in September. He pitched in five games and made two starts and was 1-0 with a 4.41 ERA.

In 1976, Devine made the Braves opening day roster as a reliever. He pitched in 48 games that season, with only one start, and was 5-6 with a 3.21 ERA, nine saves and 72 hits allowed in 73.0 innings.

Devine was a favorite of Eddie Robinson, who was the Braves general manager when Devine came up and then became the GM of the Rangers at the end of the 1976 season. Robinson traded for Devine that December when the Braves sent Devine, Dave May, Rogers Moret, Ken Henderson, and Carl Morton to Texas for outfielder Jeff Burroughs.

Devine then had his best MLB season for Robinson and the Rangers. He saved 15 games and was 11-6 with a 3.58 ERA in 56 games, with 102 hits allowed in 105.2 innings, 31 walks and 67 strikeouts.

But when the Rangers wanted Atlanta first baseman Willie Montanez a year later, the Braves wanted and got Devine back. He was part of a huge, four-team trade that also had Tommy Boggs and Eddie Miller going to Atlanta.

The 1978 season was Bobby Cox’s first as Atlanta’s manager, and Cox used Devine mainly as a reliever for the next two seasons. Devine pitched in 31 games and had three saves in 1978 before pitching in 40 games out of the Atlanta bullpen in 1979.

And then guess where the Braves traded Devine in December 1979? Yeah, it was Texas, with Pepe Frias for Doyle Alexander and Larvell “Sugar Bear” Blanks. Devine pitched in 13 games with the Rangers in 1980 and had a 4.82 ERA in 28.0 innings.

Devine pitched in 11 games for Texas’ Triple-A team in Wichita before being released in June 1981.

So, Devine was with Atlanta, then Texas, then back to Atlanta and then back to Texas. He only had to have two stickers on his luggage with those two teams wanting him several times.

Devine is the ninth former Atlanta Braves player to die in the last three months: Jim Wynn (March 26), Damaso Garcia (April 15), Paul Doyle (May 6), Bob Watson (May 14), Biff Pocoroba (May 24), Arnold Umbach (May 30), Oscar Brown (June 3) and then Claudell Washington (June 10).

Devine occasionally came back to Turner Field for alumni events for the Braves. Fans of the team from the late-1970s remember Devine fondly and thank him for his time wearing the red, white, and blue of the Atlanta Braves in parts of five seasons.

Our condolences to the Devine family and all his friends.

Listen to The Bill Shanks Show weekdays at 3:00 p.m. ET on Middle Georgia’s ESPN. You can listen online at TheSuperStations.com. Follow Bill on Twitter at @billshanks and you can email him at thebillshanksshow@yahoo.com.

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