August 10th, 2013
The Yanks let a very talented starting pitcher get away when they included today’s Pinstripe Birthday Celebrant in a package of three pitchers they traded to the Senators midway through the 1951 season to acquire reliever Bob Kuzava. New York had signed Bob Porterfield to a minor league contract in 1946. He made his big league debut two years later when he went 5-3 for the 1948 Yankees after winning 15 games for the Yanks’ Newark Bears farm team that same season. Everyone thought this right-handed native of Newport, Virginia was headed for a great career in pinstripes but the truth was that back then, the Yankees didn’t need more starting pitchers. They already had the Holy Trinity of Raschi, Reynolds and Lopat at the top of their rotation and with blue-chippers like Tommy Byrne and Whitey Ford being groomed in their farm system, good young Yankee arms like Porterfield became very expendable. So after spending the next two seasons bouncing back and forth between the Bronx and Triple A, Porterfield was dealt to Washington.
During the next four years he won 67 games for a mediocre Senator ball club, including a breakout 22-win season in 1953 when he led the American League with 22 wins and 9 shutouts. In November of 1955, Poterfield was part of a huge nine-player swap between Washington and the Red Sox.The change of scenery proved disastrous to his career. He went 3-12 for Boston in 1956 and would spend the next three years with three different ball clubs, struggling to regain his form. He never did. He made his last big league appearance in 1959 with the Pirates and then spent two more years in the minors before hanging up his glove for good.
Porterfield eventually got a job as a welder with Westinghouse in West Virginia. He died in 1980 when cancer invaded his lymph nodes. He was just 56 years old at the time.
|WSH (5 yrs)||67||64||.511||3.38||146||138||7||78||19||0||1041.2||1020||437||391||62||343||366||1.308|
|NYY (4 yrs)||8||9||.471||5.06||40||22||5||5||1||1||158.1||171||93||89||10||74||66||1.547|
|PIT (2 yrs)||5||8||.385||3.63||73||6||24||2||1||6||129.0||129||55||52||10||38||58||1.295|
|BOS (3 yrs)||7||16||.304||4.65||55||27||9||7||2||1||232.1||237||138||120||30||94||82||1.425|
|CHC (1 yr)||0||0||11.37||4||0||0||0||0||0||6.1||14||9||8||1||3||0||2.684|