Bob Wiesler signed with the Yankees as an 18-year old before the 1949 season. Just two years later, he made his major league debut at Yankees Stadium against the St. Louis Browns on August 3, 1951. It was still 10 days before his 21st birthday.
Wiesler started the game but lasted just 3.1 innings after allowing eight runs on six hits and four walks. That would be the beginning of a strange career in pinstripes.
He made four appearances in 1951. Nine days after his debut, he got another start but lasted just 2.2 innings that time. The following day, he pitched a scoreless inning out of the bullpen. He made one last appearance in 1951, getting a start on August 19th. Again, he got knocked out of the game early after just 2.1 innings. He allowed just one hit but walked five batters.
In 1951, Wiesler finished with a 13.50 ERA. He pitched just nine innings in his debut season and finished with a 2.571 WHIP. That would be a large part of the story during his major league career.
Wiesler missed the 1952 season due to military duty and played the entire 1953 season in the minors before returning to New York in 1954. Wiesler played in six games that year and continued to put runners on base at a remarkable rate. Over the length of the season, he somehow managed to walk 30 batters. On July 21, he only walked one but stilled allowed five runs on four hits after only collecting two outs.
Despite allowing all those runners, Wiesler somehow finished with just a 4.15 ERA. Even while having a 1.912 WHIP, he finished the season with 25 strikeouts in 30.1 innings.
Wiesler was used mostly out of the bullpen in 1955 and would have the best season in his career. He put up a 3.91 ERA in 53 innings. However, he continued to issue walks at an impressively high rate. On May 26, Wiesler got the start and allowed just one hit. However, he walked eight batters and lasted just 4.2 innings. He actually faced seven batters in the fifth inning and walked five of them.
After the 1955 season, Wiesler was part of a trade that sent him to the Washington Senators. He finished his three seasons with the Yankees with a 4.95 ERA and a 1.835 WHIP in 92.2 innings. That ERA obviously isn’t great, but when you consider he essentially put on 17 runners every nine innings, it’s amazing that it’s that low.
Wiesler played three seasons with the Senators, making 21 starts and pitching 123 innings in 1956. The trouble with baserunners followed him to Washington DC, and he gave up 10.3 hits per nine innings that year. In the next two seasons, Wiesler pitched a combined 25.2 innings.
Even with all the baserunners in New York, he still managed a lower ERA than expected. It helped that he allowed just one home run in 92 innings with the Yankees. In Washington, though, he allowed 15 homers in three seasons.
Wiesler wouldn’t play in the major leagues again after the 1958 season. He had a couple more years in the minor leagues before retiring and returning to his native St. Louis.
In the years Wiesler played, no one in baseball had a higher WHIP with at least 200 innings pitched. Any one with a worse WHIP pitched in only half the innings or fewer. Bob Wiesler may not have had the best baseball career, but props to him for sticking around that long.
All data courtesy of the Baseball Reference Play Index