Nelson Chittum

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Nelson Boyd Chittum

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Biographical Information[edit]

“The batters, the umpires and yourself... Control yourself and you can control the ball... I just wish it was as simple as I tell it.” - Nelson Chittum, to the Boston Traveler, September 1, 1959

Before the 1956 season, the St. Louis Cardinals signed Nelson Chittum , a 23-year-old right-handed pitcher, out of Elizabethtown College. He had served in the United States Army from 1953 to 1955 during the Korean War. Nelson was assigned to the Fresno Cardinals of the Class C California League and finished with a 23-7 record and a 3.62 ERA. This fine performance earned him the league's Rookie of the Year Award. Nelson had another good season in 1957, going 16-12 with a 3.38 ERA for the Houston Buffaloes of the Class AA Texas League. He kept his momentum in 1958, going 12-8 with a 2.84 ERA for the Omaha Cardinals of the AAA American Association. This earned him a late-season look with the major league Cardinals and this is what he had to say: "I started a game against the Dodgers at the Los Angeles Coliseum. The first guy I faced was Jim Gilliam, and he bunted towards first, Stan Musial picked up the ball and when he went to throw it to me I was still standing on the mound. He told me, 'don't worry about it kid,' I pitched four innings with no decision."

He finished up the season with the Cardinals, going 0-1 in 13 appearances. Before the 1959 season, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for Dean Stone. That year, he had a record of 11-5 for the Minneapolis Millers of the American Association and was called up to the Red Sox. He pitched effectively in 21 relief appearances, going 3-0, allowing only four runs in 30 innings for a 1.19 ERA. After another six games out of the Boston bullpen in 1960, he was gone from the majors with a career mark of 3-1 and a 3.84 ERA in 40 games. Chittum would spend four more seasons in the minors at the AAA level without much success. He retired after the 1964 season, after nine seasons, with a 106-82 minor league record and a 3.75 ERA.

After leaving baseball, Chittum managed a clothing store in Elizabethtown, PA before working for the postal service. He was an inspector in the area of internal theft for twenty years before retiring in 1990 to Henderson, TN. He had married Shirley Faye Stahl while still in the Army in 1954, and the couple had a son named Nelson Bruce Chittum, generally known as Bruce.

Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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