On this day in 1938 Robert Awtry "Bob" Locker was born in George, Iowa. He went to college at Iowa State before the White Sox signed him as an amateur free agent in 1960, and made his major league debut for the Pale Hose in 1965.
Locker was a veteran of 271 major league relief appearances when he was traded to the Seattle Pilots in June of 1969, and went on to arguably become their best pitcher. He posted a 2.18 ERA over 78.1 innings for Seattle, allowing just three home runs.
Like many, if not most, of the 1969 Pilots, Locker is frequently featured in Jim Bouton's Ball Four. His most notable appearance might be this moment:
That's not the funniest. The funniest is what happened to Ray Oyler. He was warming up Locker and caught a sinker right on the cup. It didn't even hit the ground first. Ding-dong! He went down on all fours and crawled around that way for a while. Then he limped into the dugout and vomited.
The boys were hysterical. We were getting beat a ballgame and we were laughing. Joe Schultz laughed so hard he had to take off his glasses, dry his eyes and hide his head in a warm-up jacket.
Locker brought his sinker to Milwaukee and was an original Brewer, pitching in relief in the team's second game after the move. He made 28 appearances for the 1970 Brewers before being sold to the A's.
All told Locker pitched 576 relief appearances over ten major league seasons as a member of four teams.
Thanks to the B-Ref Play Index for reminding me that Locker turns 75 today. With help from Brewerfan.net, we'd also like to wish a happy birthday to:
- 2012 Brevard County Manatee Alan Williams, who turns 23.
- Harold Baines, 2003 inductee into the Appleton Baseball Hall of Fame, who turns 54.
- 1984-85 Brewer Jim Kern, who turns 64.
Today is also the 37th anniversary of the 1976 trade that brought longtime Brewer pitcher Bob McClure to Milwaukee. We covered that event in this space last year.