Ryan Scott Dempster (born May 3, 1977 in Gibsons, British Columbia, Canada) is a pitcher for the Chicago Cubs in Major League Baseball.
Dempster bats and throws right handed. He has a win-loss record of 56-59 and an earned run average of 4.83 in 247 games (162 starts) [all statistics are through the 2005 season]. He has played for the Florida Marlins (1998–2002), the Cincinnati Reds (2002–2003), and the Chicago Cubs (2004–present). In August 2003 he underwent Tommy John surgery on his right elbow and made a miraculous recovery from the surgery, taking a little under a year to recover from it, coming back in the last half of 2004 to pitch for the Chicago Cubs. In 2005, after starting 6 games, Dempster was named the closer for the Chicago Cubs, replacing LaTroy Hawkins.
He collected 33 saves in 35 opportunities, the best save percentage in the league; in both blown saves, he collected the win. He is the only Cub and one of just three players ever to start a game and collect 30 saves in a single season. On October 1, 2005, the Cubs signed him through 2008 in a US$15.5 million contract extension. He emerged as one of the team's most consistent closers in 2007. At one point, Lou Pinella, the Cubs' manager, was considering promoting Dempster to a starting pitcher. However, the idea was short lived, as a struggling bull pen forced Dempster to remain as closer. He recorded sixteen saves in eighteen opportunities before missing two weeks of playtime on account of an injured oblique muscle.
Dempster is widely known for his laid-back attitude, constantly joking with fans and teammates and is said to be a positive contribution to a team's clubhouse. Dempster's fun and easy-going personality was especially evident when in comments to an Arizona newspaper in March 2007, Dempster stated that if his career as a closer began to tumble, he would pursue ninja training. He is also known for his Harry Caray impression. Most notably, he announced the Cubs' starting lineup while speaking like Caray before a nationally televised baseball game on Fox Sports.