Open Thread: Bob Wickman

Second Roger Waters show added to Yankee Stadium summer schedule
Report: Yankees in serious talks with Raul Ibanez

It’s easy to remember Bob Wickman for his days as a hefty closer with the Indians and Braves, but once upon a time he was a skinny little setup man in the Bronx. The Yankees drafted Wickman in the second round of the 1990 draft acquired Wickman from the White Sox in the Steve Sax trade, and a few months later he was part of their second half rotation. He flopped as a starter in the first half of 1993, prompting a move to the bullpen.

Wickman never looked back after that, and in 1994 he was Buck Showalter’s workhorse setup man. He threw 70 innings in relief and led the league with 53 appearances (remember, they only played 113 games because of the strike), pitching to a 3.09 ERA. Wickman struggled a bit in 1996 — 4.67 ERA in 79 IP across 58 appearances — before being traded to the Brewers for Graeme Lloyd. Lloyd helped the Yankees to the World Series later that year while Wickman settled in and had a long, productive career as a late-inning reliever.

Today is Wickman’s 43rd birthday, and I’m going to use this as an opportunity to tell you about our plans for Old School Week. Joe kicked things off with his Charlie Hayes post this morning, and during the rest of the week we’re going to focus the majority of our content on the good ol’ days, meaning the 80’s and 90’s. Maybe the 70’s and early-2000’s as well, who knows. I figure we’ve sufficiently covered the pitching staff, the DH candidates, all the important stuff with the current team, so this was a good week to get nostalgic. Hope you enjoy.

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Here is tonight’s open thread. The Knicks and Nets are playing tonight, plus there’s a Caribbean Series game on ESPN Deportes/ Talk about whatever you like here.

Second Roger Waters show added to Yankee Stadium summer schedule
Report: Yankees in serious talks with Raul Ibanez
  • Chris

    My favorite Bob Wickman memory:

    Watching him pitch in a Sunday night game on ESPN as Joe Morgan repeatedly referred to him as Bob “Wickum”

  •!/czm26 Craig

    Speaking of DH candidates, Olney says that the decision of a Matsui, Damon, Ibanez is gonna be decided within a week.

    Gotta go with Damon; Outta the three, he’s the best “all-around” player, as odd as that sounds.

    • radnom

      He is also the best offensive player vs. RHP which is really all that matters. The defensive flexibility is minimal, and really just icing on the cake.

      • Needed Pitching

        Ibanez has been better than Damon vs. RHP the past 2 years

        2010-2011 vs. RHP:
        Ibanez – 267/337/448, .337 wOBA, 108 wRC+
        Damon – 262/333/405, .325, 103
        Matsui – 265/356/403, .334, 110

        • radnom

          That also doesn’t show the fact that Ibanez completely fell off a cliff in 2011 and OPB’d 20 points worse than Damon. At his age, there is no reason to expect a bounceback.

          • Needed Pitching

            no bounce back needed
            the role is basically to face RHP, not sure falling off a cliff against LHP makes much of a difference

            2011 vs. RHP
            Damon 262/314/401, 313, 99
            Ibanez 256/307/440, 322, 101

            both are old, its unlikely either improves much on those numbers
            Even with Ibanez falling off a cliff (as you say), he still outperformed Damon in the role in which they would play, LH DH vs. RHP

  • Eirias

    Boy did that Charlie Hayes article bring back childhood memories of “Major League.” It was one of the first R-rated movies I’d seen, though it was a classic by that point.

    “I’m Willie Mays Hayes. I hit like Mays and I run like Hayes.”

    “Well, you may run like Mays, but you hit like shit.”

  • CJ

    Olney reports Yanks may sign a lefty bat soon. That’s great reporting.
    Nats signed ankiel and teahen Texas signed Conor Jackson to m or league deals. I thought all 3 would be good for Yanks on minor league deals.

  • Sheepmeister

    Ken Rosenthal @Ken_Rosenthal Reply Retweet Favorite · Open
    Sources: #Yankees in serious discussions with Ibanez. He is willing to take less to play for them than he could get elsewhere. #MLB.

    Oddly enough, I think I wouldn’t mind Ibanez as long as he never ever ever ever ever ever ever saw an out in the outfield.

    •!/czm26 Craig

      He’ll get the Randy Winn treatment; DFA’d by May 30th.

      • Thomas Cassidy


        WHY? Damon is much better. slakgjasdoijhksadkl;hska jh

    • CJ

      I hope it’s a minor league deal. With a trade still coming. Colorado would taken Freddy off yanks hands instead of the expensive Guthrie. Don’t know if Freddy would’ve given consent if traded to Colorado though.

  • Paul VuvuZuvella

    I could have sworn they got Wickman in a trade (with the wSox, I thought.)

  • Tipsie

    anyone remember that Wickman played with part of a finger on his pitching hand missing?

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      Indeed. After they made the trade with the wSox, Baseball America said that gave his FB more movement, I remember reading it in the magazine (before the internet was even a twinkle in Al Gore’s eyes ;)

      • radnom

        Actually, at that point Gore had already passed the High Performance Computing and Communication Act – which is what that horribly misquoted comment about him “inventing the internet” was actually referring to.

        • Genghis

          Don’t confuse people with facts.

        • Paul VuvuZuvella

          Technically I dont think he was misquoted because he said it. What he meant is another story. If he said what he meant, he wouldn’t have been misquoted.

          • radnom

            I think you’re confused. The direct quote was “I took the initiative in creating the Internet”. The (very common) misquote is that he claimed to have “invented the internet”. If you’ll notice, these are different words and so fit the definition of “misquote”. Not sure what you’re arguing to be honest.

            And FWIW, the original quote is universally considered to be accurate by the major computer scientists involved in the early days of the internet. That bill being passed directly led to the first popular web browser for the world wide web.

            • Paul VuvuZuvella

              I think I mis-remembered. Thanks for clarifying.

    • STONE COLD Austin Romine

      So tomorrow’s open thread should feature Antonio Alfonseca to make up for the lost finger.

  • Alfredo

    who will be the better pitcher next year
    Yu Darvish or Michael Pineda?

    • STONE COLD Austin Romine

      Well considering the fact that Darvish finished a historical run of dominance in 4AAAA+ (Npb) While Pineda’s stuff and command/control has improved every year since 2008 while debuting with a 87 xFIP- and 3.4 WAR in 171.0 innings…

      Your better off flipping a coin breh.

  • JGS

    Bob Wickman: more than six years younger than Jamie Moyer.

    • Robinson Tilapia

      And I feel like I haven’t seen Bob Wickman on a mound since Reagan was president.

    • RetroRob

      White Ford, more than two years younger than Jamie Moyer.

      Okay, I lied. It’s close.

  • Yankee68

    I still have nightmares about Bob Wickman. My family still make Wickman jokes when a pitcher gets in trouble. Right after we ask if Kenny Holtzman is in the bullpen. Kenny was banished there after he got Billy Martin upset. Let us not forget Bob Shirley who was used in every situation one can think of. Please, please never mention Bob Bleeping Wickman again, I need my rest and therapy is way out of my budget!

  • Darren

    didn’t Wickman win his first ten decisions? best of all time for a yankee?

    i wanna throw in whitey, and i knpw aaron small was 10-0, but i believe wickman’s were his first ten career decisions. i will go check.

    • Yankee68

      Accidents happen! The man was horriable!

    • Paul VuvuZuvella

      Ron Davis? “the Vulture” and Ike’s dad.

    • Darren

      Ok I was sort of wrong. Wickman went 6-1 in 95 (struck out the side in ALDS Game 1 9th inning including Edgar) and then 8-0 to start 96, best start In all MLB since Whitey (16-1).

      Yes even at the time it was considered flukey and no one thought he was amazing but it’s still PRETTY GOOD TO BE MENTIONED WITH WHITEY AND TO GO 14-1, EVEN IF YOUR PERIPHERALS ARENT AWESOME.

      At some point, there may be more to getting wins than only luck. A killer instinct. The team playing loose behind you. Whatever. Wins are now underrated after being overrated for so long.

      Small was one of only 4 MLbers since 1950 to go 10-0. The ultimate lightning in a bottle. Every one of his starts Syzyynn and Sterling would say that phrase at least 5 times.

  • J. Scott

    I’ve always had a warm spot in my heart for Wickman. Not for anything he did with the Yankees, but for something he said after being traded to the Brewers. He was interviewed by some Brewer’s media type and, since he was from Wisconsin, the interviewer assumed Wickman was happy to be coming “home”. He was not. Apparently Wickman grew up as far from Milwaukee as possible while still being within state boundaries. He had no particular attachment to things Milwaukee while growing up. Wickman told the interviewer he loved his time with the Yankees and was sorry to go. Well, the guy asked him, isn’t there a lot of pressure to win in New York? Wickman’s reply, which I still remember all these years later, was:

    “Considering what they pay us, there SHOULD be pressure on us to win.”

    Bob Wickman got “it”.

    • Jeremy

      Great story/comment j. Scott

  • Clu Haywood

    How about a little Andy Stankiewicz thread?

  • jay h

    haha, Jeremy guthrie tweeted today that the winners of his trade were the Yankees training staff and the loser was swisher’s batting average. Swisher was almost .500 for his career against him.

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Posts I would love to see in this series:

    Hensley Meulens-he did not live up to the hype but he didn’t seem to get a very long shot and then I think he went to Japan. Was there any indication that he wouldn’t e able to succeed in the majors other than his short Yankee stint?

    Roberto Kelly: One of my favorite players, had good seasons with power and hits and steals, (just never all at once with the Yankees) and seemed to fall off a cliff after the trade to the reds.

    Tim Leary: He looked good with the Dodgers but lost 19 with the Yankees, even though his peripherals were not that bad as I recall.

    Jimmy Key: he gets forgotten, but he signed with the Yanks after Maddux turned them down and was a legit ace that helped the team get to a world series title as his career wound down.

    Ken Phelps: initially he hit well, but in his first full season with the Yanks he was a poor mans Wilson Betemit.

    Neon Deion

    Melido Perez: he had that one year as an “ace” where he consistently pitched well but never really repeated that success

  • Dale Mohorcic

    Wickman became an all star closer with the indians and braves, though it appears he kept having to eat the teams previous closers to get the job.