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Midwest League Profile

Rookie of the Year

The Midwest League game I most wish I'd seen:

On August 18, 1960, Bob Sprout of the Decatur Commodores pitched a no hitter against the Waterloo Hawks. In that game, Sprout struck out 22 hitters; that stands as the MWL single-game strikeout record. The Commies won by a 3-0 score.


Robert Samuel Sprout signed a Detroit Tigers contract after high school. His first minor league season was spent with Decatur. 1960 was a very fine year for Mr. Sprout:

   G GS  IP   H  R ER  SO  BB Sv  W L  ERA
  28 24 190 113 75 55 264 120  0 15 7 2.61

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The strikeout total led the league, as you'd expect. Bob was selected to the post-season All-Star team and appointed Rookie of the Year. Those 15 victories were nearly 30% of Decatur's 51 wins that summer.


The expansion Los Angeles Angels acquired Sprout as their fourth selection in the 1961 expansion draft, and assigned him to Dallas-Fort Worth in the American Association. He pitched all right as a 20-year-old in Triple-A: 36 games, 5 wins, 4.75 ERA.

On September 27, 1961, Bob started for the Angels; he pitched 4 innings, allowed 4 hits and 2 runs, and had no role in the decision. This game was his entire major league career.

Sprout was injured the next spring, and never recovered his health. He played four more years in the minors. After the '62 season, he wasn't pitching well, and was used only occasionally in his last three seasons.


Notes:

As usual, the stats were supplied by Pat Doyle (Old Time Data). Some details are courtesy of Bob Timmermann of SABR; others are taken from an article by David C. Thomas in Volume 2, Issue 1 of SABR's Minor League History Journal.

One of my website's pleasures is my email. Sprout dropped me a line early in the 2000 season to tell me he'd found his name on the site, and that my efforts brought back fond memories of old friends and youthful hopes. Made my day.


This profile originated as the September 30, 2000, Midwest League Tidbit on the Midwest League Mailing List.

Cepeda
Fisk
Hill
Marichal
Martinez
McCord
Meyer
Molitor
Morman
Mull
Repulski
Ripken
Rodriguez
Simmons
Sprout
Torchia
Tracy
Wilson
Wolff
Wren
Zapp


The Midwest League plays Single-A, professional baseball in America's agricultural and industrial heartland. 16 teams play a 140 game schedule which begins in early April and ends Labor Day weekend.

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