David Clifford Wickersham (born September 27, 1935 in Erie, Pennsylvania) is a former starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. From 1960 through 1969, he played for the Kansas City Athletics (1960–63), Detroit Tigers (1964–67), Pittsburgh Pirates (1968) and Kansas City Royals (1969). Wickersham batted and threw right-handed. He debuted on September 18, 1960 and played his final game on July 26, 1969.
Wickersham while playing college ball at Ohio University was scouted by Branch Rickey and George Sisler. The Pittsburgh Pirates signed him in 1955. He was later acquired by the Kansas City Athletics in the 1959 minor league draft. He pitched for the Athletics in part of two seasons from 1960-61. In 1962 he had an 11-4 mark and led American League pitchers with a .733 winning percentage, and went 12-15 and 3.78 in 1963. At the end of that season, he was sent to the Detroit Tigers in the same trade that brought slugger Rocky Colavito to the Athletics.
Wickersham enjoyed his most productive season for Detroit in 1964, when he went 19-12 with a 3.44 ERA and posted career-numbers in strikeouts (164), starts (36), complete games (11), appearances (40) and innings pitched (254.0), being considered in the American League MVP vote. His 19 victories also was a career-mark, missing a 20-win season due to an ejection in his last start from a ballgame which was tied 1–1 in the 7th inning. Mickey Lolich relieved him and earned a 4–2 win. Wickersham was ejected after calling time out three times to try to keep a base runner from advancing as Norm Cash argued with the call by Bill Valentine. Wickersham, a born-again Christian, had never been ejected from any game all his life up to the time this took place. Valentine apparently deeply regretted the call for years, saying he had been "too impulsive" in his ejection; however, Wickersham wrote him a letter in 2004, reassuring the ump that he made the right call, in an attempt to relieve him of his burden .
Dave Wickersham signed his autograph with a Bible verse, Colossians 3:17: "And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him."
Wickersham also pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kansas City Royals. He is currently the oldest living former Royal.
In a 10-season career, Wickersham posted a 68-57 record with 638 strikeouts and a 3.66 ERA in 1123 innings, including 29 complete games, five shutouts and 18 saves.
Notably, Wickersham has been one of four players (fellow pitchers Aurelio Monteagudo, Moe Drabowsky and Ken Sanders being the other three) to play for both Kansas City-based major league teams, the Athletics and Royals.
- ^ "Tigers deal Rocky Colavito to Kansas City for Lumpe". The Tuscaloosa News (AP). 19 November 1963. p. 9. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
By Dean Hanley
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