Here is the final card for Yankees’ starting pitcher Bill Stafford (#281). Stafford was one of the top 10 Yankees pitchers during the 1960s, in terms of playing time. For the others, see here.
Stafford was signed by the Yankees in 1957, and pitched from 1957-60 in their farm system. He made his debut with the Yankees in August 1960 and went 3-1 in 11 games in his rookie season, joining the rotation of Whitey Ford, Art Ditmar, Ralph Terry, and Bob Turley. He also pitched 6 innings in relief in the World Series vs. the Pirates.
In ’61 and ’62, Bill was among the team’s top 3 starting pitchers (with Ford and Terry), finishing with a 14-9 record in both seasons. He also compiled a 1-0 record in the World Series each year.
Stafford began the ’63 season as a starter, but by mid-season he moved to the bullpen, as Jim Bouton (21-7), rookie Al Downing (13-5), and Stan Williams (9-8) joined the rotation that year.
In 1964 he only made 1 start, as he spent the season in the Yankees’ crowded bullpen.
In 1965 Bill was back in the rotation, as the #5 starter behind Mel Stottlemyre, Ford, Downing, and Bouton. He finished up with a poor 3-8 record, and that would be his last season in pinstripes.
Stafford found himself back in the minors to start the 1966 season, and in mid-June was traded (with pitcher Gil Blanco and outfielder Roger Repoz) to the Kansas City Athletics (where else?) for pitcher Fred Talbot and catcher Bill Bryan. He started 8 games for the A’s in June and July, but did not play in August or September.
After beginning the ’67 season in the minors, he relieved in 14 games for the Athletics in August and September. That was the end of his MLB career.
Stafford continued in the minors for 2 more seasons, playing for Oakland’s and the Angels’ AAA teams in 1968, and for the Giants’ and White Sox’ AAA teams in 1969. The addition of 4 expansion teams could not get him back to the majors.
Bill Stafford passed away in 2001 at age 63.
RIP - Bob Cerv
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