Sunday, February 28, 2010

1976 Topps #368 - Wilbur Wood

  • Wilbur Wood had a long and successful career that spanned from 1961-1978. Wood was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960. He bounced between the Red Sox and the minors from 1961-1964. Wood had records like 15-11, 2.84 in 1962, 5-2, 1.12 in 1963, and 15-8, 2.30 in 1964 but he couldn't stick in the majors.

  • In 1961 Wilbur made his debut and had a 5.54 ERA in six games. He started one game for the Red Sox in 1962 and had no decision. Wood pitched in 25 games (including six starts) in 1963 and was 0-5 with a 3.76 ERA. In 1964 Wilbur started the season with the Red Sox. After posting a 17.47 ERA in four games he was sold to the Pittsburgh Pirates where he pitched in 3 games (2 starts) and was 0-2 with a 3.63 ERA.

  • Wilbur spent the entire 1965 season with the Pirates. He was 1-1 with a 3.16 ERA in 34 games in '65. Wood was in the minors for the whole season in 1966 and after the season he was traded to the Chicago White Sox for Juan Pizarro.

  • Wood's career finally got going once he went to the White Sox. In 1967 he was in 51 games (8 starts) and was 4-2 with 4 saves and a 2.45 ERA. Wilbur led the AL in appearances in three straight seasons from 1968-1970. He was 13-12 with 16 saves and a 1.87 ERA in 1968. Wood made 88 appearances that year which at the time was a major league record. In 1969 Wood had a 10-11 record with 15 saves and a 3.01 ERA. Wilbur was 9-13 with 21 saves and a 2.81 ERA in 1970.

  • In 1971 the White Sox made Wood a starter. The knuckleball he pitched didn't put as much strain on his arm and he was able to make 40 or more starts in the next five straight seasons. In 1971 Wilbur made the AL All Star team (he wasn't used in the game) and finished 3rd in Cy Young Award voting. Wood was 22-13 with a 1.91 ERA in 42 starts.

  • Wood led the AL in several categories in 1972. He led in wins (24), starts (49), and innings (376.2). Wilbur ended up 24-17 and finished 2nd in Cy Young Award voting. He pitched two innings in the All Star game and got "credit" for a blown save after allowing one run. Wilbur Wood: A Fluttering Success Story - November 1972 Baseball Digest.

  • Wood's last big season was 1975. The White Sox were awful that year, but Wilbur still managed to win 16 games. He was 16-20 in 43 starts. Wood was off to a good start in 1976 when his kneecap was shattered by a Ron LeFlore line drive on May 9. He had to miss the remainder of the season. Before the injury Wood was 4-3 with a 2.24 ERA in seven starts.

  • After extensive rehabilitation Wood came back to pitch in 1977, but he wasn't the same pitcher. Wilbur was 7-8 with a 4.99 ERA in 1977 and was 10-10 with a 5.20 ERA in 1978. Wood retired after the 1978 season. Knuckleballer Wilbur Wood Recalls How It Was in the 1970s - July 1993 Baseball Digest

  • After his playing career Wood moved back to Massachusetts and worked in pharmaceutical sales. Here is an interview with Wilbur done in 2005.

  • Liked to face: Jerry Moses (.043 in 21 AB); Rusty Staub (.045 in 22 AB); Aurelio Rodriguez (.133 in 83 AB)
  • Hated to face: Frank White (.591 in 22 AB); Ron LeFlore (.444 in 36 AB); Don Baylor (.422 in 45 AB)

No comments:

Post a Comment