Bill Gullickson
Pitcher
Born: (1959-02-20) February 20, 1959 (age 63)
Marshall, Minnesota
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
Professional debut
MLB: September 26, 1979, for the Montreal Expos
NPB: April 9, 1988, for the Yomiuri Giants
Last appearance
NPB: August 13, 1989, for the Yomiuri Giants
MLB: August 7, 1994, for the Detroit Tigers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record162–136
Earned run average3.93
Strikeouts1,279
NPB statistics
Win–loss record21–14
Earned run average3.29
Strikeouts231
Teams
Career highlights and awards

William Lee Gullickson (born February 20, 1959) is an American former Major League Baseball pitcher who played professionally in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, during an 18-year professional career, of which 14 seasons were spent in MLB.

MLB career (1979–1987)

Minor Leagues

Gullickson was selected as the second player to be drafted in the first round of the June 1977 Major League Baseball draft by the Montreal Expos, out of Joliet Catholic Academy in Joliet, Illinois.

Montreal Expos

He finished second behind Steve Howe in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1980, after a season in which he went 10–5 with an earned run average (ERA) of 3.00, and set a major-league record for most strikeouts in a game by a rookie, with 18. Gullickson held that record for 18 years, until Kerry Wood broke it with 20 strikeouts in 1998. Gullickson held the Montreal Expos-Washington Nationals all-time strikeout record for a single game with 18 strikeouts until Max Scherzer broke the record in 2016.

In 1981, he helped the Expos to their only division title with a 7–9, 2.81 record. The Expos lost the National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. Except for the 1981 strike season, Gullickson was in double figures in wins for every year onward.

Cincinnati Reds

On December 12, 1985, Gullickson was acquired by the Reds, along with catcher Sal Butera; the Reds sent pitchers Andy McGaffigan and John Stuper and catcher Dann Bilardello to the Expos. Gullickson was 15-12 for the Reds with an ERA of 3.38 [1] Gullickson was 10-11 when he was traded mid-season to the New York Yankees in 1987 .

New York Yankees

On August 26, 1987, Gullickson was acquired by the New York Yankees who sent Dennis Rasmussen to the Reds.[1] for their 1987 pennant drive. He recorded 4 wins and 2 losses with the Yankees but he was unhappy there. Tommy John thought the intense media coverage and high expectations of the New York fans proved difficult for Gullickson to adjust to.[2] In 1988, he accepted a $2 million offer to pitch in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants after being granted free agency on November 9, 1987

NPB career (1988–1989)

Gullickson stayed with the Giants for two seasons, with a record of 21–14. Kazushige Nagashima, the son of Japanese baseball legend Shigeo Nagashima, got the first hit in his professional career, a home run, off Gullickson. When asked about his time in Japan, Gullickson said it was strange; the only English words that he saw were "Sony and Mitsubishi."[citation needed]

Overcomes diabetes to excel

Although only in Japan for a short time, Gullickson left behind a positive legacy. When he was in Japan, it was considered a miracle that Gullickson, a patient with type 1 diabetes mellitus, played a professional sport. Since 1998, the Japan Diabetes Mellitus Society (JADMC) has awarded the "Gullickson Award" for the patient who is deemed a superior influence on society.

While in Japan, Gullickson also developed a close friendship with a young Japanese pitcher, Masumi Kuwata, and even named his son "Craig Kuwata Gullickson" in his honor. Kuwata learned many things from Gullickson and grew to be one of the best players in Japan. Meanwhile, Kuwata had always wished to play in MLB, and at last, this dream was realized in 2007, as he became a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nearly 20 years after meeting Gullickson, Kuwata became an MLB rookie, at the age of 39.

At the age of 12, Sam Fuld, an aspiring baseball player who also had diabetes, met Gullickson, and talked to him for two minutes. "That was enough to inspire me", Fuld said.[3] "Any time I can talk to young diabetic kids, I look forward to that opportunity", said Gullickson.[4] Fuld went on to play eight seasons in the Major Leagues.

Back to MLB (1990–1994)

Houston Astros

Gullickson signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros after the 1989 season, and had a mediocre 1990 season (10–14, 3.82 ERA) before being released.

Detroit Tigers

Late in 1990, Gullickson signed a multimillion-dollar contract with the Detroit Tigers, for whom he pitched for four seasons. While with the Tigers he met a young boy, who was then 12, who also had diabetes, and talked to him for two minutes. It was future major-leaguer Sam Fuld, who battled to make the Cubs' 2008 team. "That was enough to inspire me", Fuld said. "Any time I can talk to young diabetic kids, I look forward to that opportunity."[5]

In 1991, Gullickson had a career-high 20 wins against 9 losses, leading the American League in wins and placing eighth in the AL Cy Young Award voting. The Tigers would not have another 20-game winner until Justin Verlander in 2011.[6] Gullickson tallied another 14 wins in 1992, and had 13 wins in 1993. In 1994, the 35-year old Gullickson was forced to retire due to injuries after posting a 4–5 record in 19 starts.

Family

Gullickson is married to Sandy Gullickson. Their six children are all involved in sports or other physically intensive endeavors:

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Bill Gullickson Stats".
  2. ^ John, Tommy; Valenti, Dan (1991). TJ: My Twenty-Six Years in Baseball. New York: Bantam. p. 274. ISBN 0-553-07184-X.
  3. ^ Carrie Muskat (March 17, 2010). "Fuld running down big league dream; Diabetes can't stop Cubs outfielder from competing for job". mlb.com. Archived from the original on 19 March 2010. Retrieved March 31, 2010.
  4. ^ [1] Chicago Sun-Times. Archived February 8, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ "The SouthtownStar :: Sports". Archived from the original on 2008-02-08. Retrieved 2008-02-12.
  6. ^ "Justin Verlander Wins AL Cy Young". MLBTradeRumors. November 15, 2011. Retrieved September 9, 2021.
  7. ^ "Cassie Gullickson". The Official Athletic Site. The University of Notre Dame. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  8. ^ "Chelsey Gullickson: Junior Spotlight of the Week". United States Tennis Association. 2005-02-24. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  9. ^ "Georgia's Gullickson Captures Women's Singles Title; Stanford Pairing Wins Doubles - NCAA.com – the Official Website of NCAA Championships". www.ncaa.com. Archived from the original on 6 August 2010. Retrieved 13 January 2022.
  10. ^ "Craig Gullickson". Profile. Clemson Athletics. Archived from the original on 2008-05-17. Retrieved 2008-08-21.
  11. ^ a b One-air comments by announcers on ESPN2 during live coverage of the US Open first-round match between Chelsey Gullickson and Caroline Wozniacki