Thursday, March 26, 2015

Bill Slayback (1948-2015)

I was saddened to read today of the passing of former Detroit Tigers pitcher Bill Slayback.

William Grover Slayback was born on February 21, 1948, in Hollywood, California.

As a Tigers fan growing up in the early 1970s, I remember going to Tiger Stadium with my Uncle Bob to see Slayback pitch his rookie year of 1972.

Bill was terrific his rookie year, nearly tossing a no-hitter in his big league debut on June 26, 1972.

I ddon't know if I was at Slayback's debut, or one of his games after that, but I remember him pitching a terrific game and being so excited afterwards to go home and watch the sports report on TV for the highlights.

Bill didn't  know he was throwing a no-hitter that night until Al Kaline told him after Kaline tried throwing out the Yankees Johnny Callison on a single to right in the 8th inning.

Here's  a nice piece on Bill from SABR.

As a Tigers fan, and a baseball fan, I also knew that Bill, along with Tigers Hall of Fame announcer Ernie Harwell co-wrote, and Bill sang "Move over Babe, Here comes  Henry!"  as future Atlanta Braves OF Henry Aaron was about to surpass Yankees great Babe Ruth as big league  baseball's all-time home run champion.

Bill Slayback pitched in just 42 games for the Tigers from 1972-74, as arm injuries led to his early departure from baseball after a meteoric rise.

In some ways Bill Slayback's short tenure with would re-appear again just two short years later in a young  fireballing right handed pitcher  named Mark Fidrych.

Rest in Peace Bill Slayback.

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