Sunday, May 8, 2016

Dave Baldwin (#673)

Here is relief pitcher Dave Baldwin, ostensibly with the Seattle Pilots. Baldwin never played with the Pilots, having spent the entire 1969 season with the Washington Senators. The Pilots became the Milwaukee Brewers during spring training 1970 – too late for Topps to make any changes.

Like the recently-posted Dave Bristol card, we see Baldwin in what I refer to as their “dress uniform”, complete with scrambled eggs and extra gold braid on the cap (something we didn’t see on the late-1969 Pilot cards), and his pilot’s wings on his chest. These were worn during spring training, which is the only time we would have seen Baldwin or Bristol in a Seattle uniform.

Dave pitched for the University of Arizona for 3 seasons, and played in the 1959 College World Series (tossing a 2-hitter). He was signed by the Phillies in 1959, and played his first two seasons with class-A Williamsport, where some of his teammates were Art Mahaffey, Bobby Wine, and Ted Savage (on their way up) and Curt Simmons (on his way down).

After 3 more seasons in the Phillies’ chain, Dave was sold to the Mets in January 1964. Released by New York on May 30th, he was picked up by the Houston Colt .45s two days later, but they only kept him for one month before also releasing him. Two weeks later Baldwin signed with the Senators.

He labored in the minors for 2+ more seasons until making his major-league debut in September 1966. Although Baldwin was a starter and reliever in the minors, he only worked from the bullpen in the majors. Dave was a fixture in the Nats’ bullpen for the next 3 seasons. It appears that he was the right-handed short man, as he averaged just over 1 inning per game. He picked up 12 saves as a rookie in 1967 (2 less than lefty Darold Knowles) and led the staff with a 1.70 ERA in 68 innings over 58 games.

In 1968 Dave went 0-2 with a 4.07 ERA in 40 games, also spending some time in the minors. Back in the majors for all of 1969, he was the #5 reliever in terms of appearances and innings pitched. He also had a similarly poor ERA and won/lost record as in the previous season.

After the 1969 season, Dave was traded to the Pilots for well-traveled starting pitcher George Brunet. Baldwin split the 1970 season between the Brewers and their AAA team in Portland, Oregon.

The following spring, he was purchased outright by the Padres’ AAA team in Hawaii. After 2 full seasons in the minors, the White Sox purchased him in March 1973. He played 3 games for Chicago in late-July/early-August 1973, but otherwise spent most on ’73 and all of ’74 in the minors, before calling it a career.

After his playing career, he earned a Ph. D. and became something of a renaissance man in the fields of science, art, and literature.