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Remembering the day when a Yankees pitcher walked 11 batters and the team still won

Bill Zuber was a bit wild on September 14, 1943.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to the 1943 season, the Yankees traded Milo Candidi and Jerry Priddy for Bill Zuber of the Washington Senators. Zuber had six less than stellar seasons with the Senators and Cleveland Indians mostly out of the bullpen, making 17 career starts.

In the 1943 season, Zuber would appear in 20 games, 13 of them as a starter. By far his most interesting appearance came on September 14, 1943.

The Yankees were far ahead in first place in the American League heading into September 14. They came into the day 11.5 games ahead of the second place Indians. Their opponent that day was the last place Philadelphia Athletics. Philadelphia were 40 games back of the Yankees, and 16 back of the 7th place Red Sox. They were not very good.

Despite facing not-great competition, Zuber struggled. In the first inning, he walked two with a run eventually coming around to score. However, the Yankees got that run right back in the bottom of the first. In the next couple innings, Zuber put at least one batter on in every inning. Each time, he managed to get out of it. That was, until the fifth inning.

After retiring the lead-off hitter, Zuber walked George Staller. That was followed by another walk to Bobby Estalella, whose grandson (catcher Bobby Estalella) had a cameo with the 2001 Yankees. Zuber then walked the bases loaded by putting on Dick Siebert. Irv Hall was the next batter, and he too walked, scoring a run. Next up was Hal Wagner, who also drew a walk, scoring another run. Bill Zuber walked five straight batters, giving the Athletics two runs.

After the fifth walk, he was finally taken out. Reliever Jim Turner eventually cleaned up Zuber's mess, but not before another two runs scored. Zuber's final line was 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on three hits and 11 walks. He faced 25 batters in this game, and walked nearly half of them. He did all that while also striking out no one.

The Yankees were now down 5-1. But they were a first-place team and the A's were cellar dwellers who would lose 105 games. In the bottom of the fifth, they answered with four runs of their own and tied the game again. In the bottom of the seventh, the Yankees took the lead.

Turner would end up giving the Yankees 4.2 innings out of the bullpen. Other than the Zuber's inherited runners that scored, Turner did not allow any runs. In a game where their starting pitcher allowed 11 walks, and five in a row at one point, the Yankees won 6-5.

The 1943 New York Yankees went on to win the World Series. Surprisingly, Bill Zuber did not appear in any games in that series.

Sources

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NYA/NYA194309140.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/NYY/1943.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/PHA/1943.shtml

http://www.baseball-reference.com/games/standings.cgi?date=1943-09-13

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/z/zuberbi01.shtml