Results tagged ‘ tom sturdivant ’

April 28 – Happy Birthday Tom Sturdivant

tom.sturdivant.jpgIf you were a bullpen pitcher for the New York Yankees after Game 2 of the 1956 World Series win over the Brooklyn Dodgers, you might have qualified for unemployment checks. Why? Because beginning with Game 3, New York starting pitchers; Whitey Ford, Tom Sturdivant, Don Larsen, Bob Turley and Johnny Kucks became the first and only pitchers in history to toss five consecutive complete games in a Fall Classic.

Sturdivant’s turn came in the fourth game, which he won 6-2. That would be the only postseason decision in the decade-long big league career of this right-hander, who was born in Kansas, on April 28, 1930 and then raised in Oklahoma. The Yankees originally signed him out of high school as an infielder but he didn’t hit well in the minors. When he came back to the organization after serving a year in the military, Sturdivant was switched to pitching. He could throw hard and he developed a signature slithering curve ball that eventually earned him the nickname “Snake.” The Yankees called him up for the first time in 1955 and pitched him pretty much exclusively out of the bullpen. In ’56, Casey Stengel began starting him and he did well enough to become a regular part of that year’s Yankee rotation, winning 16 games. He duplicated that win total in 1957, and his .727 winning percentage that season led the AL. Sturdivant was also one of the league’s best hitting pitchers in the days before the DH took hold. In 1956, this guy hit .313. Stengel absolutely loved him but according to my research could either never remember or pronounce his last name so the Ol Perfessor just took to calling Sturdivant, “Number 47.”

The winning didn’t last long. In 1957 he tore his rotator cuff and although he claimed his arm recovered completely, Sturdivant spent the final six seasons of his career struggling on the mound for six different big league teams. He never came close to being the pitcher he was during those two great years he had for the Yankees.

This former Yankee reliever also celebrates a birthday today.

Year Tm W L W-L% ERA G GS GF CG SHO SV IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP
1955 NYY 1 3 .250 3.16 33 1 12 0 0 0 68.1 48 24 24 6 42 48 1.317
1956 NYY 16 8 .667 3.30 32 17 11 6 2 5 158.1 134 63 58 15 52 110 1.175
1957 NYY 16 6 .727 2.54 28 28 0 7 2 0 201.2 170 65 57 14 80 118 1.240
1958 NYY 3 6 .333 4.20 15 10 2 0 0 0 70.2 77 37 33 6 38 41 1.627
1959 NYY 0 2 .000 4.97 7 3 1 0 0 0 25.1 20 16 14 4 9 16 1.145
10 Yrs 59 51 .536 3.74 335 101 99 22 7 17 1137.0 1029 521 473 107 449 704 1.300
NYY (5 yrs) 36 25 .590 3.19 115 59 26 13 4 5 524.1 449 205 186 45 221 333 1.278
PIT (3 yrs) 14 7 .667 3.49 65 23 16 8 2 3 219.1 209 97 85 19 60 127 1.226
KCA (3 yrs) 3 8 .273 4.42 56 6 20 0 0 5 128.1 121 73 63 12 52 84 1.348
NYM (1 yr) 0 0 5.97 16 0 5 0 0 1 28.2 34 20 19 2 7 18 1.430
BOS (1 yr) 3 3 .500 4.97 40 3 14 0 0 1 101.1 106 58 56 16 45 67 1.490
WSA (1 yr) 2 6 .250 4.61 15 10 3 1 1 0 80.0 67 42 41 6 40 39 1.338
DET (1 yr) 1 2 .333 3.76 28 0 15 0 0 2 55.0 43 26 23 7 24 36 1.218
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/27/2013.