April 3 – Happy Birthday Art Ditmar

art.ditmarCasey Stengel fell in love with Art Ditmar during the 1959 and 1960 regular seasons. The “Ol Perfessor” had good reason to. Ditmar won 13 games in ’59 and then surprised everyone by leading the Yankees back to the World Series in 1960 by going 15-9. But that’s when Casey overplayed his hand with the right-hander. He gave the Winthrop, MA native the start in Game 1 against the Pirates instead of Whitey Ford. Ditmar lasted only an inning and took the loss. By holding Ford out of Game 1, Stengel could only pitch his left-handed ace twice if the series went to seven games and that of course is exactly what happened. Ditmar got hit hard and yanked early again in Game 5 while Ford pitched complete game shutouts in Games 2 and 6. After the Yankees lost the Series on Bill Mazeroski’s historic game-winning home-run, Stengel was fired and Ditmar’s Yankee career was on borrowed time. During his four-plus seasons in pinstripes, Art went 47-32 with a 3.24 ERA and 11 saves.

Ditmar may have been a big goat in the 1960 Series but he went to court years later to prove he wasn’t the only goat. When Mazeroski hit his home run, the announcer, Chuck Thompson, mistakingly said that the Pirate second baseman had hit a pitch from Ditmar instead of the actual pitcher at the time, Ralph Terry. When one of those “taste great – less filling” Miller Beer commercials repeated the same error in the 1980’s, Ditmar attempted to sue for damages, claiming the advertisement held him up to undeserved public ridicule and might be costing him autograph, special appearance and memorabilia revenues. The judge hearing the case threw the suit out of court.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA FIP G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1957 NYY 8 3 .727 3.25 3.24 46 11 12 0 0 6 127.1 128 55 46 9 35 64 1.280
1958 NYY 9 8 .529 3.42 3.96 38 13 13 4 0 4 139.2 124 71 53 14 38 52 1.160
1959 NYY 13 9 .591 2.90 3.58 38 25 7 7 1 1 202.0 156 75 65 17 52 96 1.030
1960 NYY 15 9 .625 3.06 4.36 34 28 3 8 1 0 200.0 195 77 68 25 56 65 1.255
1961 NYY 2 3 .400 4.64 4.73 12 8 1 1 0 0 54.1 59 33 28 9 14 24 1.344
9 Yrs 72 77 .483 3.98 4.19 287 156 61 41 5 14 1268.0 1237 649 561 138 461 552 1.339
KCA (5 yrs) 25 45 .357 4.97 4.58 119 71 25 21 3 3 544.2 575 338 301 64 266 251 1.544
NYY (5 yrs) 47 32 .595 3.24 3.89 168 85 36 20 2 11 723.1 662 311 260 74 195 301 1.185
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/16/2014.

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