Random Retro Baseball Player: Bill Gullickson | Sharapova's Thigh

Next up in our "Random Retro Baseball Player" series, we look at pitcher Bill Gullickson, as requested long ago by FanIQ...

Years Played: 1979-1987, 1990-1994.

Teams Played For: Montreal Expos(79-85), Cincinnati Reds(86-87), New York Yankees(87), Houston Astros(90), Detroit Tigers(91-94).

Position: Pitcher(398 Games, 390 Games Started).

Bats/Throws: Right/Right.

Career Line: 162-136, 3.93 ERA, 1.282 WHIP, 98 ERA+, 1279 K, 54 CG, 11 SHO, 2560 IP.

Best Season: Very arguable, so I'll post three of them...

1983- 17-12, 3.75 ERA, 1.193 WHIP, 96 ERA+, 120 K, 10 CG, 34 G(All Started), 242.1 IP.

1986- 15-12, 3.38 ERA, 1.247 WHIP, 113 ERA+, 121 K, 6 CG, 37 G(All Started), 244.2 IP.

1991- 20-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.325 WHIP, 107 ERA+, 91 K, 4 CG, 35 G(All Started), 226.1 IP.

Awards/Leaderboard: Led AL In Wins In 1991(20).

Top 10 In AL Wins 3 Times(83, 86, 91).

Led AL In Fewest Walks/9 IP In 1984(1.469).

Top 10 In League Fewest Walks Per 9 Innings Pitched 9 Times (81, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 91, 92, 94).

Top 10 In League Strikeouts/Walks 4 Times (81, 84, 87, 94).

Fun Facts: Bill Gullickson was the second overall selection by the Montreal Expos in the 1977 draft. He would make his major league debut for the Expos in 1979 at the age of 20, and threw just one inning that year. However, that gave him rookie eligibility for the 1980 season, and he went 10-5 with a 3.00 ERA, finishing second in National League Rookie of the Year voting. Also that season, he struck out 18 batters in a game, setting a record for most strikeouts in a game by a rookie pitcher. Kerry Wood would break that record in 1998, when he struck out 20 batters in a game as a rookie.

In 1988, Gullickson went over to Japan to play for the Yomiuri Giants. He would stay there through 1989, and compile a 21-14 record. He was thought very highly of by the Japanese people. They were especially impressed by his ability to play through type 1 Diabetes, and even named an award in his honor called The "Gullickson Award". The award was named by the Japan Diabetes Mellitus Society and given to a person dealing with diabetes that does great things in society.

Not only did the Japanese respect Gullickson, but he very much respected them as well. He became great friends with Japanese pitcher Masumi Kuwata. He thought so highly of Kuwata, that he gave his son Craig the middle name of Kuwata. Kuwata actually made it to the majors in 2007, being a 39-year-old rookie on the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Gullickson has children that are also very impressive athletes. One of his daughters, Carly, is a profesional tennis player. Another daughter, Cassie, does track and field for Notre Dame. And the aforementioned Craig Gullickson received a scholarship offer to play baseball from Clemson.

My Take: Gullickson's one of the more underrated pitchers over the last 30 years in my opinion. Having a 3.93 ERA over 2,560 innings pitched, and putting up double-digit wins in 11 different seasons is quite impressive.

Certainly a part of the reason he's not quite as talked about as other pitchers of that era is because he wasn't flashy. He only struck out over 130 batters in a season once, gave up more hits(2,659) than innings pitched over his career, and gave up at least 20 homers in a season ten times. However, he was successful because he walked just 2.2 batters per nine innings pitched over his career. His efficiency was what also allowed him to make over 30 starts eight times, and throw over 200 innings seven times.

Gullickson may have never been an All-Star, but he had a much better career than many of the pitchers that did appear in an All-Star Game. Additionally, being "Random Retro'd" on the Thigh is a pretty big deal, right?

Link To Bill Gullickson's Baseball-Reference Page

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