Thursday, September 23, 2010

#375 Dave Wickersham

#375 Dave Wickersham

This is not a flattering picture of Dave Wickersham. His complexion looks mottled, and the hands-over-head pose is causing him to draw his chin into his chest, giving the illusion of a double chin. Poor guy.

Fun facts about Dave Wickersham:

-A native of Erie, PA, Dave attended Ohio University and was scouted by Branch Rickey and George Sisler. He signed with the Pirates in 1955.

-After spending five years climbing the ladder in the Pittsburgh farm system, he was drafted by the Athletics prior to the 1960 season. He made his major league debut in September 1960 at age 24, and allowed only one run total in five relief appearances while collecting two saves.

-He struggled in the majors in 1961 due to a back ailment and spent three months back at AA Shreveport, but rebounded in 1962 with an 11-4 record and passable 4.17 ERA. As a starter, he won six of his nine starts with a 3.61 ERA.

-The A's made Dave a full-time starter in 1963, and he tied for the team lead with 12 wins. Although he also lost 15 and posted a so-so 4.09 ERA, he did lead the staff with 237.2 innings.

-That offseason, K.C. traded Wickersham to the Tigers in a five-player deal that netted them Rocky Colavito. The pitcher responded with a career year, going 19-12 with a 3.44 ERA and 11 complete games. He was third in the A.L. (and tops on the team) in victories.

-He missed a chance at his 20th win under unusual circumstances. On October 1, 1964, he made his final start of the year at Yankee Stadium. In the bottom of the seventh, the score was tied 1-1 when errors by first baseman Norm Cash and shortstop Dick McAuliffe put runners on the corners for New York. Phil Linz bunted to Cash and was called safe at first. While Cash argued the call, Wickersham urgently attempted to get umpire Bill Valentine's attention and call timeout so that the runners could not advance further. When Dave grabbed his shoulder, the ump ejected him from the game (the first time the player had ever been run), and Mickey Lolich picked up the win in relief when Detroit ralled for three runs in the ninth. Valentine later regretted his actions, feeling that he had been too impulsive in tossing Wickersham. But the pitcher, a devout Christian, wrote Bill a letter in 2003 to assert his belief that the ump had made the right call and to say that he wished him well.

-He failed to follow up on his success, dropping to 9-14 in 1965 with a 3.78 ERA in sixty less innings. But after being moved into a swing role the next year, he rallied with an 8-3 record and 3.20 ERA.

-Returning to an almost exclusively relief role in 1967, Dave had a career-low 2.74 ERA and allowed 72 hits in 85.1 innings.

-In his final two seasons (1968 with the Pirates and 1969 with the Royals), he split time between the majors and minors. He retired with a 68-57 record, a 3.66 ERA and 18 saves in parts of 10 seasons.

-Wickersham now lives in Shawnee Mission, KS.

#375 Dave Wickersham (back)


  1. could you imagine a cartoon on a baseball card today that included a gun? topps would have to shut down...

  2. Max - I thought it was a little extreme myself, but that's probably the O's fan in me taking umbrage at anyone shooting my guys.