Friday, August 7, 2009

1976 Topps #168 - Tom Hilgendorf

  • Tom Hilgendorf was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1960 and pitched in their minor league system until he finally got to the bigs in 1969. He pitched in the majors through the 1975 season. It was interesting to look at Tom's minor league stats and try to figure out where Dothan and Kekouk were. Hilgendorf didn't pitch in 1966 and 1967, perhaps due to miliatry service.

  • In August 1969 Tom was called up to the Cardinals. He pitched in six games and had an ERA of 1.42. Hilgendorf started the 1970 season with the Cardinals but was sent down after a month. He came back up in August and stayed with the Cards for the rest of the season. Tom was 0-4 with three saves and an ERA of 3.92 in 23 games in 1970.

  • Before the 1971 season Tom was traded to the Kansas City Royals. He spent the 1971 and most of the 1972 seasons in AAA Omaha. In July 1972 the Royals traded Hilgendorf to the Cleveland Indians. The Indians used him as a swingman and he had a 3-1 record with a 2.68 ERA in 19 games (5 starts).

  • The Indians used Hilgendorf as a reliever in 1973 (48 games, 1 start). Tom was 5-3 with six saves and an ERA of 3.14 in 1973. He didn't fare as well in 1974 (4-3, 4.84 ERA, 3 saves) and after the season Hilgendorf was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for a minor leaguer.

  • Hilgendorf was involved in the infamous 10-cent beer night fiasco in Cleveland on 4 June 1974. He was hit by a folding chair and suffered a minor concussion. He managed to come back and pick up the save the next night for the Indians.

  • Hilgendorf had a nice year as a setup man in 1975. He was 7-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 53 games for the Phillies. Tom was one of the last players released by the Phillies in spring training 1976. He hooked on with the Pittsburgh Pirates and pitched two games for AAA Charleston before calling it quits.


  1. Hilgendorf always looked like he was 48 in his card pictures. Especially this one.

  2. Yep, I remember getting this card and thinking, "Who is this old guy?" Kind of scary that Hilgendorf was 33 when this picture was taken. And we all know 33 is a young age!

  3. Looks like he should be a ranch hand on Bonanza!