As Tough as They Come

 

Oh, What a Relief: Hal Woodeshick

Few players had as many “miles” on them as Hal Woodeshick piled up during first half of his career. He played for seven different teams in his 11-year major league career, and spent nine years in the minor leagues with 11 different teams … with years in the Army.

Hal Woodeshick definitely had to earn his way to a big league career. He spent nine years in the minor leagues – pitching for 11 different teams.

Hal Woodeshick definitely had to earn his way to a big league career. He spent nine years in the minor leagues – pitching for 11 different teams.

When he did finally arrive in the big leagues to stay, Woodeshick established himself as a “lights out” closer with a wicked slider and a bulldog temperament that was made for pitching his way out of crises.

Woodeshick signed with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1950 when he was 18 years old. He bounced around the minors for most of the next decade, arriving in Detroit in 1955 and making his major league debut in 1956 in two appearances with the Tigers. In 1958, he was traded with Jay Porter to the Cleveland Indians for Hank Aguirre and Jim Hegan. He was 6-6 for Cleveland as a spot starter in 1958, posting a 3.64 ERA. He was then acquired by the Washington Senators and won six games over the next two seasons, with intermittent returns to the minors.

When the Senators moved to Minnesota to become the Twins, Woodeshick stayed in Washington, drafted by the expansion Senators. He was 3-2 with a 4.02 ERA when he was traded to Detroit for Chuck Cottier. After going 1-1 in 12 appearances with the Tigers, Woodeshick was purchased by the Houston Colt .45s.

As part of the team’s first starting rotation (that included Turk Farrell, Ken Johnson, Bob Bruce and George Brunet), Woodeshick went 5-16 with a 4.39 ERA. In 1963, he moved to the Houston bullpen and became the team’s closer, going 11-9 with a 1.97 ERA and 10 saves. He would be a reliever for the rest of his career.

Hal Woodeshick’s best season came in 1963, when he made 61 relief appearances with the Houston Colt .45s and led the National League with 23 saves. His ERA that season was 2.76.

Hal Woodeshick’s best season came in 1963, when he made 61 relief appearances with the Houston Colt .45s and led the National League with 23 saves. His ERA that season was 2.76.

In 1963, Woodeshick emerged as one of the National League’s best closers. He appeared in 61 games and finished 48 with a league-leading 23 saves and a 2.76 ERA. In June of 1965, he was traded by the Astros with Chuck Taylor to the St. Louis Cardinals for Mike Cuellar and Ron Taylor. Appearing in 78 games combined, he went 6-6 with a 2.25 ERA and 18 saves. His 1965 earned run average with the Cardinals was 1.81 in 51 appearances.

In 1966, he appeared in 59 games for the Cardinals, but lost his closer position to Joe Hoerner. Yet Woodeshick had another solid year coming out of the Cardinals’ bullpen, going 2-1 with a 1.92 ERA and four saves. In 1967, he went 2-1 with a 5.18 ERA, and retired after being released by the Cardinals after the end of the season.

Woodeshick was 44-62 in 11 major league seasons with a career earned run average of 3.56. He racked up 61 saves and was a member of the National League All-Star team in 1963.

 

Top_10_Pitchers_Cover

 

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download