Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Wight set new "ohfer" record in 1950

Uncommon commons: In more than 30 years in sportscards publishing I have thrown hundreds of notes into files about the players – usually non-star players – who made up the majority of the baseball and football cards I collected as a kid. Today, I keep adding to those files as I peruse microfilms of The Sporting News from the 1880s through the 1960s. I found these tidbits brought some life to the player pictures on those cards. I figure that if I enjoyed them, you might too.

In 1950 Chicago White Sox pitcher Bill Wight set a new major league record for batting futility in a single season. He was 0-for-61 at the plate. Wight took that record from Karl Drews, who had been 0-for-46 the previous year. (Drews was featured in my blog on May 2, 2012.)

Wight's hitless string had not continued from the 1949 season. He had batted a respectable (for a pitcher) .220 that season, including two hits in his last game of the year. He extended his hitless streak through his first half-dozen at bats in 1951, by which time he had been traded to the Boston Red Sox. 

Scattered among his 61 futile at-bats in 1950, Wight had drawn four walks and made 10 sacrifice bunts, driving in two runs.

Wight held the record for at-bats in a season without a hit until 1962, when Bob Buhl of the Braves and Cubs went 0-for-70. I believe that still stands as a single-season record.

For his 12-year major league career, Wight accumulated a .115 lifetime batting average.

From the time he made his baseball card debut in 1950 Bowman (he wasn't on any cards while with the Yankees in 1946-47 or his first two years with the White Sox), Wight seemed to appear with a different team of each year's baseball cards. 

His 1951 (Bowman) and 1952 (Bowman and Topps) cards show him with the Red Sox. In 1953 he's a Detroit Tiger on his Bowman card, and in the regional Glendale hot dog set. Wight wasn't on any major card issues in 1954 (when he was with San Diego in the Pacific Coast League) or 1955, though he did appear in the 1955 Cleveland Indians Golden Stamp book.

In 1956-57 Topps, Wight is pictured with the Baltimore Orioles. In 1958 he's shown with the Cincinnati Reds. He ended his big league days with the Cardinals in '58. 

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