According to a report from the Knoxville New Sentinel former Houston Astros reliever Fred Gladding, who pitched for Houston from 1968 to 1973, died Thursday evening in Columbia, S.C. at the age of 78.
Gladding began his Major League career in Detroit, playing for the Tigers (1961-67) before being traded to the Astros in November of 1967 as part of an earlier deal that sent Eddie Matthews to the Tigers. Gladding was the player-to-be-named-later that the Astros got back for Matthews, and the deal proved to work out well for the Astros.
In his 13 years in the Major Leagues, Gladding appeared in 450 games, racking up 109 saves and posting a record of 48-34 with a lifetime 3.13 ERA. In 1969 for the Houston Astros, Gladding led the National League with 29 saves. He still ranks fourth on the Astros’ all-time saves lists with 78 saves. After his playing days ended, Gladding went on to become a successful pitching coach for many years.