Glancing Back, and Remembering Tommie Sisk
Tommie Sisk signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960. He won 14 games in the Pirates’ minor league system in 1961, and won 10 in 1962 when he was called up to the Pirates. After being rocked by the lowly New York Mets in his major league debut, Sisk settled down as a rookie reliever in 1963, going 1-3 with a 2.92 ERA in 57 appearances.
Sisk struggled in 1964, going 1-4 with a 6.16 earned run average, but rebounded in 1965 with a 7-3 record and a 3.40 ERA.
By 1966, Sisk was being used more as a starter than as a reliever. He thrived in that role. He was 10-5 in 1966 and in 1967 he was 13-13, second on the team in wins (to Bob Veale) and the team leader in innings pitched (207.2), shutouts (two) and complete games (11). His 3.34 ERA was best among the Pirates’ starters.
In 1968 the Pirates added Jim Bunning and moved Al McBean out of the bullpen and into the starting rotation, pushing Sisk back into the relief corps (though he did manage to get 11 spot starts). He responded by going 5-5 with a 3.28 ERA.
In March of 1969, Sisk was traded with Chris Cannizzaro to the San Diego Padres for Ron Davis and Bobby Klaus. He was 2-13 for the Padres with a 4.78 ERA, and after one season was dealt to the Chicago White Sox. He appeared in 17 games for Chicago, going 1-1 with a 5.40 ERA, before retiring at age 28. One day after retiring, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians, but never played for the Tribe.
Sisk was 40-49 in his nine-year major league career with a 3.92 ERA.