April 19 – Happy Birthday John Wyatt

The Boston Red Sox Impossible Dream pennant in 1967 would really have been impossible without reliever John Wyatt. The right-handed native of Chicago, IL had made his Major League debut in 1961 with Kansas City and during the next five seasons, had developed into one of the better closers in the AL. The Red Sox got him in a mid-season trade in 1966 and he quickly became became the ace of Boston’s bullpen. During that ’67 season, Wyatt appeared in 60 games for Manager Dick Williams’ Beantowners and many of them were must wins. He ended up winning 10 games, saving 20 and posting a 2.60 ERA. But he also ended up that regular season with a stiff arm and enraged Williams by insisting he wasn’t healthy enough to pitch. The cantankerous skipper told the Boston sports press he thought Wyatt was imagining his maladies. Wyatt responded by writing a letter to a Boston newspaper, complaining about the way he was being treated by Williams and demanding to be traded.

He got his wish in May of 1968, much to the delight of Yankee manager Ralph Houk, when the Red Sox sold the angry pitcher to New York. The problem with the deal was that even though that 1968 Yankee team had several weaknesses, the bullpen wasn’t one of them. New York had both Steve Hamilton and Lindy McDaniel already closing games with pretty good efficiency. What Houk really needed was offense which was why, less than a month after purchasing Wyatt from Boston, they sold him to Detroit to make room for the newly acquired one-time home-run slugger, Rocky Colavito. So Wyatt’s Yankee career ended up consisting of just seven appearances and two losses. As it turned out, the reliever’s arm was more than tired. It was worn out completely. He finished the ’68 season with the Tigers and then rejoined the A’s in ’69 but only appeared in 4 games before calling it quits for good.

Another more recent Yankee pitcher who had a bad relationship with his manager shares Wyatt’s April 19th birthday, as does this former Yankee shortstop.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB IBB SO WHIP
1968 NYY 0 2 .000 2.16 7 0 2 0 0 0 8.1 7 3 2 1 9 0 6 1.920
9 Yrs 42 44 .488 3.47 435 9 291 0 0 103 687.1 600 290 265 72 346 39 540 1.376
OAK (7 yrs) 27 29 .482 3.77 296 9 206 0 0 73 473.0 428 214 198 58 254 29 367 1.442
BOS (3 yrs) 14 13 .519 2.92 110 0 73 0 0 28 175.2 139 64 57 11 72 8 142 1.201
NYY (1 yr) 0 2 .000 2.16 7 0 2 0 0 0 8.1 7 3 2 1 9 0 6 1.920
DET (1 yr) 1 0 1.000 2.37 22 0 10 0 0 2 30.1 26 9 8 2 11 2 25 1.220
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/18/2013.

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