#245 Dick Stigman
In the convoluted world of grading baseball cards, “very good” actually means “mostly crappy,” and my version of Dick Stigman’s ’64 Topps card is quite possibly the perfect VG card: worn corners, a signifcant crease, and a rubbed-off trivia question. Yet the overall appeal of the card isn’t compromised. As a common from the low series, SMR is $8 for a NM example.
The trivia question on the back asks who has hit the most homers in a World Series game, and, for a change, Topps got it right. At the time, Babe Ruth was the only player to ever go deep three times in a Series game, which he did in both 1926 and 1928. Reggie Jackson became the only other player to achieve this feat when he famously hit three homers in the clinching Game 6 of the “Bronx is Burning” 1977 Series.
Dick Stigman is the pride of Nimrod, Minnesota, so it’s appropriate that he played most of his short career with the Twins. Nimrod is such a small town (current population: 75) that the town’s city park is named “Stigman’s Mound” in his honor. It doesn’t say a whole lot for Nimrod, as Stigman was a rather unremarkable pitcher who last played in the Majors when he was 30.
Stigman had an interesting rookie season in 1960, when he started 18 games for the Indians but also finished 16 others. He got off to a nice start early in the season and had racked up a number of good starts and key saves, which earned him a nod to the AL All-Star team. Dick faded in the second half of the season, though, and his full-season line of 5-11, 4.51 ERA, 1.534 WHIP, and whopping 5.9 BB/9 makes him look like one of the poorest All-Star selections ever (he didn’t appear in either of that season’s two All-Star games).
He only got into 22 games in 1961, then was traded to the Twins for the 1962 season. He had his best two seasons in ’62 and ’63. He led the AL in winning % with a 12-5 record in 1962 with a respectable 3.66 ERA, 1.304 WHIP, and 7.3 K/9. In 1963 he threw a career-high 241 innings with 15 complete games and three shutouts. His 3.25 ERA was also the best of his career, and he ranked third in the AL with 193 strikeouts. His record was just 15-15, which was a bit unlucky given that the Twins won 91 games.
Things would go south for Stigman in 1964, when his ERA climbed to 4.03 (which was worse than average for the time) and he went just 6-15. He still had a great 7.6 hit rate and good 1.211 WHIP, but he allowed 31 homers in 190 innings. The Twins won the AL in 1965, but Stigman was again prone to walks and the long ball. He was injured in September and didn’t appear in the World Series, which Minnesota lost 4-3 to the Yankees.
Just prior to the 1966 season, Stigman was traded to Boston, where he posted a dismal 5.44 ERA in 81 innings. The Sox sent him to the Reds after the season, but after toiling in the minors in 1967 Dick quit baseball.
Stigman is currently 73 years old.