Tuesday, December 29, 2009

#558 Tommie Sisk

#558 Tommie Sisk
Have you ever wondered what causes some Toms to go by "Tommie" and others to go by "Tommy"? Or "Willie" vs. "Willy"? Maybe even "Johnnie" vs. "Johnny"? No? Just me, then? Alright.

Fun facts about Tommie Sisk:

-Hailing from Ardmore, OK, Tommie signed with the Pirates out of high school in 1960.

-Was pitching in AAA by his second pro season, and had a five-game look with Pittsburgh a year later at age 20.

-In 1963, Sisk spent his first full season in the majors. Pitching mostly out of the bullpen, he fashioned a strong 2.92 ERA and 1.20 WHIP (both career bests) while leading the team with 57 appearances.

-After a disastrous sophomore effort (6.16 ERA), Tommie recovered in 1965. He started a dozen games and relieved in 26 more, going 7-3 with a 3.40 ERA.

-Tossed his first career shutout on September 20, 1965, two-hitting the Mets. The only New Yorker to reach second base was Johnny Lewis, who tripled with one out in the ninth inning but was thrown out trying for an inside-the-park home run!

-Despite a 4.14 ERA in 1966, Sisk received enough support to boast a 10-5 record.

-1967 was a career year for Tommie. Starting 31 games for the Pirates, he turned in a fine 3.34 ERA and ranked tenth in the National League with 11 complete games. Still, he had only a 13-13 won-lost total to show for it. A large part of his success can be attributed to his ability to keep the ball in the park - he allowed just six home runs in 207.2 innings!

-The majority of his final season in Pittsburgh was spent back in the bullpen (3.28 ERA).

-In 1969 he was traded to the expansion Padres club, and his performance and his win percentage suffered (2-13, 4.78 ERA, six saves). However, he collected the first save in team history by preserving Johnny Podres' 2-0 victory on April 9.

-Sisk got off to a bad start with the White Sox in 1970 and was traded to Cleveland on June 15. The Indians kept him at AAA Wichita for the remainder of the season. He tried his luck with the Expos the following year, but performed poorly in eight games at AAA Winnipeg before bringing his career to a close at age 29. In parts of nine big league seasons he was 40-49 with a 3.92 ERA and ten saves.
#558 Tommie Sisk (back)


  1. I can remember Tommie Sisk coming into a game at Crosley Field and promptly beaning a young Johnny Bench, who had to be helped off the field... probably in 1968

  2. That's because you're Kevin. I have never heard anyone modify Kevin. There are no Kevies, Kevinos, or KevKevs. Kevins have a proper dignity about them that way. (I hate any modification of Max since my full name is...Max. No Maxwell, or Maximilian, no Maxie or Cinemax. It is just Max, and let's keep it that way). And, why yes, I have been drinking, how could you tell?

  3. Brox - You could have something there. Sisk hit only three batters in 1968, but two of them were Bench! In this game, he plunked the young catcher in the ninth inning and George Culver ran for him. However, Sisk actually was the starter. He pitched 8.1 innings, but was removed after hitting Bench. Roy Face came in for the save.

    Max - I've had a few female friends who actually went with "Kevie" as a term of endearment, and odd people here and there go with "Kev". But yes, for the most part, my name is graciously spoken as-is.