Art Ditmar

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Arthur John Ditmar

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Biographical Information[edit]

Before the 1948 season Art Ditmar was signed by the Philadelphia Athletics as an amateur free agent. Art spent three seasons in the minors, with the Moline A's/Kewanee A's in 1948 and the Savannah Indians in 1949 and 1950, winning 29 and losing 22 with a 3.58 ERA for the three years.

The United States Military was Ditmar's home in 1951 and 1952, during the Korean War. Art arrived back at the ballpark in time for the 1953 season, splitting the year between the Ottawa A's and Savannah again, going 2-13 with Ottawa but finishing strong with a 7-0 record for Savannah and a 2.43 ERA.

Ditmar got his first look at the major leagues in 1954 when he opened the season with Philadelphia, which used him in 14 games during which he posted a 1-4 record. He also spent time in 1954 with Ottawa again, going 6-12 with a 3.56 ERA. One of Art's highlights in baseball came that year as he was the winning pitcher in the final game ever played by the Philadelphia A's before their franchise shift to Kansas City. "It was a game against the New York Yankees," recalled the rubber-armed right-hander. "Casey Stengel wanted to get every good hitter he could into the lineup. Yogi Berra played third base and Mickey Mantle played shortstop. I pitched six innings and Marion Fricano finished."

After a 12-12 year in 1955, the native of Winthrop, MA went 12-22 in 1956. "In 16 of my losses, the Athletics didn't score more than two runs," he said. "I was pitching well but I didn't have a quality team behind me." Ditmar did the following season after he was traded to the New York Yankees in an eleven-player swap that also sent Clete Boyer and Bobby Shantz to the Bronx Bombers. Art went 8-3 in 1957 with a 3.25 ERA. During his four-plus year cruise in pinstripes he went 47-32, leading the club in wins with 15 in 1960, and contributing a 9-8 record to the 1958 team that won the World Series over the Milwaukee Braves.

In the 1960 World Series against the Pittsburgh Pirates he lost the first and fifth games. Yankee manager Casey Stengel is still the target of criticism as to why he started Ditmar in the opening game instead of Whitey Ford. Ditmar defended his manager's decision: "Whitey had arm trouble. I think Casey figured he would be better off pitching the second game in Forbes Field rather than Yankee Stadium with the short right field. The controversy was that Ford could have pitched three games if necessary. The thing is he didn't even pitch the second game. Bob Turley started the second game and won 16-3."

Ditmar appeared in three World Series for the Yankees]], (1957, 1958 and 1960). He went 1-2 in five games with a 3.18 ERA. In the 1961 season he was 2-3 when on June 14th, the Yankees traded him along with Deron Johnson back to the Kansas City Athletics for Bud Daley. He played there the rest of 1961 and a few games in 1962, compiling a record of 0-7 and finished out his career with a 72-77 record and a 3.98 ERA.

Ditmar had spent 13 active seasons in pro baseball from 1948 through 1962. Along with his nine years in the major leagues he had spent considerable time in the minors. His years spent there show 44 wins and 47 losses in 146 appearances while pitching 854 innings and giving up 813 base hits and 413 base on balls for a 3.86 ERA.

A graduate of American International College in Springfield, MA, Art became the director of parks and recreation in Brook Park, Ohio. He coached the baseball and basketball teams at the school while working on his master's degree. He retired to Myrtle Beach, SC, and he will be the first to tell you that he wasn't the pitcher of record when Bill Mazeroski hit his epic shot in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1950)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 3 (1956, 1959 & 1960)
  • Won a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1958

Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

Related Sites[edit]