On this day in 1952, Pete Vuckovich was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. He's the only major leaguer ever to go to college at Clarion University of Pennsylvania, which he attended for three years before the White Sox took him in the third round of the 1974 draft. He climbed the ladder quickly and made his major league debut in 1975.
Vuckovich wasn't really given an opportunity to start full time in the major leagues until 1978, his first season with the Cardinals. He pitched in 111 games for them over three seasons with a 3.21 ERA before being involved in one of the biggest trades in Brewer franchise history: He, Ted Simmons and Rollie Fingers came to Milwaukee together as part of a seven player deal.
Vuckovich's only two full seasons in Milwaukee both led to playoff appearances: In the strike-shortened 1981 season he led the American League with 14 wins and finished fourth in the league's Cy Young Award voting. The next year he won the award, posting a 3.34 ERA over 223.2 innings as the Brewers won the AL East and advanced to the World Series.
Unfortunately, the 1982 season was Vuckovich's last as a productive major leaguer. Injuries derailed him in 1983 and he made just 29 more appearances as a Brewer over his final four major league seasons. He was only 33 in 1986 when the Brewers released him, ending his career.
Vuckovich turns 59 today. With help from the B-Ref Play Index, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- Eau Claire, Wisconsin native Brad Radke, who turns 39. Radke spent 12 seasons as a member of the Twins from 1995-2006.
- 1974-80 Brewer Bill Travers, who turns 59.
- 1975-76 Brewer Rick Austin, who turns 65.