415 – 1987 Topps – Bobby Witt

415 – 1987 Topps – Bobby Witt

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The Cincinnati Reds drafted Bobby Witt out of Canton (Massachusetts) High School in the 7th round of the 1982 free-agent draft. Witt instead opted to attend the University of Oklahoma. In 1985, the Texas Rangers drafted the college junior in the 1st round with the 3rd overall pick. He debuted the following year, drawing the start at Arlington Stadium against the Toronto Blue Jays on April 10, 1986. He pitched 3.1 innings, allowing 6 runs on 5 hits and 6 walks. He also threw 1 wild pitch in his d├ębut.

Bobby Witt Career

Bobby Witt spent 16 years on a major league roster as a fireballing relief pitcher. He appeared in 430 games, striking out 1,955 batters and walking 1,375. However, much like Nolan Ryan, when he was on, he was nearly unhittable. Unfortunately, he was not on as much as Ryan. In his final year in baseball, he won the World Series with the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, capping off a solid 16 year career.

Near Perfection

On June 23, 1994, Bobby Witt did have an attempt at a perfect game, which wound up being a one-hitter. Pitching at the Oakland Coliseum, Witt drew a start against the visiting Kansas City Royals. Through five and one-third innings, he threw great stuff, with a shot at a perfect game. Then, Gary Gagne, shortstop for the Royals, laid down a bunt for a base-hit. Athletics first baseman, Troy Neel, fielded the bunt cleanly, and flipped the ball to Witt. Witt’s foot touched down on first with the ball seconds before Gagne hit the bag. However, umpire Gary Cederstrom called Gagne safe. According to the New York Times, the replay showed Gagne out. Unfortunately for Bobby Witt, this happened before replay existed that could overturn calls.

Trades and Transfers

1987 Topps card number 415 signed by Bobby Witt
1987 Topps card number 415 signed by Bobby Witt

He spent seven years pitching for the Texas Rangers. Then on August 21, 1992, they packaged him with Ruben Sierra, Jeff Russell and cash considerations, in exchange for Jose Canseco from the Oakland Athletics. At the end of the 1994 season, the A’s granted him free agency.

In April 1995, he signed with the Miami Marlins (then the Florida Marlins). In August of that year, the Marlins traded him to the Texas Rangers in exchange for 2 players to be named later (Wilson Heredia and Scott Podsednic finished out the trade). In June 1998, he joined the St. Louis Cardinals, in exchange for future considerations for the Rangers.

Free Agency followed, and in January 1999, he found himself a Tampa Bay Ray, playing alongside Wade Boggs. 2000 saw him with the Cleveland Indians for a short time, before being released on May 8th of that year. In April 2001, he signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, and wound up winning a World Series Ring.

Signed Card

Featured on card number 415, Witt is shown in a Rangers Road jersey. It is a pretty typical head shot with shirt and cap logo featured. He signed in blue sharpie across the blue of the Ranger’s jersey. It looks better in person than it does in the scan.

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