Thursday, November 20, 2014

#325 Bill Gullickson

About the Front: Bill Gullickson's expression says, "Cecil Fielder just let a ground ball scoot through his legs, and I need to turn around and stare off into space before my eyes roll out of my head."

About the Back: Gullickson led the Giants in wins in 1988, with a sharp 3.10 ERA in 203.1 innings. He made only 15 starts in 1989, dropping to 7-5 with a 3.65 ERA. His manager with Yomiuri in 1988 was Japanese home run king Sadaharu Oh.

Triple Play:

1. He was drafted second overall in 1977, right behind top pick Harold Baines. (We'll visit with Harold later.)

2. On September 10, 1980, Bill set a big league rookie record by striking out 18 Cubs in a four-hit, two-run complete game victory. He allowed only two walks, and his record stood until Kerry Wood whiffed 20 Astros in 1998.

3. Gullickson and his wife Sandy have six children, all of whom became involved in athletics. Most notably, daughter Carly is a former professional tennis player. She was active from 2003-2013, peaking with a #123 world ranking in singles and #52 in doubles. Carly and partner Travis Parrott were mixed doubles champions at the 2009 US Open.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: Another card from my modest early childhood (pre-fandom) collection that still sticks with me years later is Bill's 1988 Topps card, featuring a tight closeup on his grimacing face, cloaked in shadow from the underbill of his Yankees cap.

Bill James Said: "Opened the season on the disabled list following off-season surgery to both his knee and his shoulder, and struggled most of the year." Gullickson had the worst season yet in his career, with a run support-inflated 13-9 record offset by his 5.37 ERA and 28 homers allowed in 159.1 innings. The 1994 season (4-5, 5.93 ERA, 24 HR in 115.1 IP) would be his last.

On This Date in 1993: November 20. LPGA golfer Heather Farr dies at age 28 after a four-year battle with breast cancer.

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