Dick Stigman (click for SABR Bio), born and raised in Nimrod, Minnesota, forged his career as a rookie in 1960 pitching for the Cleveland Indians. Dick was 6’3″ tall, a southpaw featuring a fastball and a devastating curve. Dick pitched 1 more season for Cleveland in 1961, and surrendered HR #55 to Roger Maris, during Maris’ pursuit of Babe Ruth.
Dick’s career brought him to his home state, in 1962, as the Twins made their first serious run at a pennant. In 1962, Dick was 12-5 with a 3.66 ERA in 15 starts and 40 appearances.
By 1963, Dick was now a regular starting pitcher for the contending Minnesota Twins, making 33 starts, going 15-15 with a career low, 3.25 ERA. Dick twirled 15 complete games, pitched 241 innings, earning 3 shut-outs and striking out a career high, 193 batters in 1963.
After 2nd place finishes in 1962 and 1963, the Twins fell back in 1964 as did Dick Stigman and the rest of the Twins rotation. Dick made another 29 starts in 1964, going 6-15 with a 4.03 ERA.
The Twins would finally win the AL Pennant, in 1965, where Dick took on the role of reliever. Dick made 33 appearances in 1965, making 8 starts. He finished with a 4-2 record, a 4.37 ERA and K’d 70 batters in 70 IP. However, for Dick, the season was bittersweet as he did not get the call to the mound vs the Dodgers in the ’65 World Series.
Dick pitched for the last time in the Majors in 1966, pitching for the Boston Red Sox. Dick would finish with a career record of 46-54 with a 4.03 ERA, amassing 755 strike-outs across 922.2 IP.
Check on Dick Stigman’s career stats here:
(Me on left, meeting former Indians/Twins/Red Sox hurler, Dick Stigman on right)
It was truly a pleasure to meet Dick Stigman. My encounter went like this … my daughter played Club soccer with one of Dick’s granddaughters for 3 years in high school, as well as post high school years during their summers home from college. One of their teammates and friends married June 24th, 2017. So my family as well as Dick’s family were invited to the wedding. Dick’s daughter (the mother of the granddaughter) knew I was a baseball fan, having had a conversation with her about a year ago about her dad pitching for the Twins in the 1960’s. She made sure she had her dad stop at my table at the reception, and introduce himself, knowing I would appreciate the encounter. I have met former Major League players in the past, and all have been very nice meetings, including Hall of Famer, Harmon Killebrew. It is hard for me to not place this encounter at the top of that list, for Dick could not have been a nicer, more genuine person than he was that night. I asked him about pitching to such greats as Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. He quickly countered with the fact that he gave up HR #55 to Maris during Maris’ chase of Ruth in 1961. Dick showed me a recent text exchange with his oldest son, who forwarded a picture from a diary of his playing days, where Dick had documented a CG, 3-hit shutout, from 1963. The diary showed he had thrown 142 pitches, even though nobody cared about pitches thrown back in those days. Dick mentioned he is still in regular contact with several former Twins and teammates. Dick has 9 children, all raised in Burnsville, Minnesota since the 1960’s, and I am guessing the number of grandchildren is close to 20.
May 3rd, 1967, Dick Stigman struck-out 13 batters with a young Johnny Bench as his catcher for the Buffalo Bisons, a AAA Minor League team for the Cincinnati Reds.