Warriors Fund Reaches Goal of $4,000 on 9-11

Wickman’s Warriors reached its goal of $4,000 for this baseball season a few weeks early. New member Peggy Drew put the club over the milestone when she ordered shirts for herself and her fellow employees on 9-11-04, giving her donation to CIC an even deeper meaning.

It’s been 3 years since that awful day. I was in the midst of forming Wickman’s Warriors right around the time of the attacks, and the outpouring of generosity we all participated in back then to try and ease the pain and suffering gave me the idea to make the club’s membership a donation to Cleveland Indians Charities. Bob Wickman agreed that it was a great idea, and to this day he has been the clubs’ most generous member.

With all that he’s gone through with the ups and downs of the injury, his grueling rehab and the mental stress of his uncertain future, Bob always had time for Wickman’s Warriors. When he re-injured the elbow in spring training and it looked as if his surgery and 18 months of rehab were all wasted, he refused to quit. He ordered 2004 WW tee shirts for his teammates when he returned from Florida and vowed to pitch again this year. Since his return on July 6th, he has saved 9 of 10 games in 23 relief appearances.

That’s why we’re the greatest nation on earth. We Americans don’t let trials and adversity defeat us. We use them to make us stronger. J. Ladd 9-18-04

7-6-2004

After nearly two agonizing years, Cleveland’s beloved closer Bob Wickman returned to the mound on a glorious summer night at the Jake.

Activated earlier in the day, the match up between the Indians and the Rangers proved the perfect stage for our hero’s return.

Starter Cliff Lee (8-1) pitched a fabulous six and two-thirds innings against the red hot Texas team, turning over the 4-1 lead to reliever Matt Miller, who held the Rangers scoreless to the eighth.

Enter the Dragon.

The applause from the crowd built gradually as Wick made his way to the mound, and he got a standing ovation as his name was officially announced. 

Just like he never missed a beat, Bob shattered Eric Young’s bat as the popper fell harmlessly into Omar Vizquel’s glove for the first out. After Michael Young ripped a line-drive single to right field, Bobzilla got down to business by striking out Alfonzo Soriano on three straight pitches. The inning ended on a high fly ball by Mark Teixeira to center, which Coco Crisp (Wickman’s Warriors player of the month-June) smartly put away.

After David Riske recorded the final out of the game, it was a joy to watch Bob go through the post-game congratulation line, getting hugs and high-fives from his teammates. It was finally here: The day that he worked so hard for. It was the day that he deserved, and it seemed everyone there was close to tearing up a little. But then he never would have gotten the reaction from the crowd that he did if we all weren’t aware of what he’s been going through for the last two years.

“The toughest thing has been coming to the ballpark for two years knowing that you’re not going to play,” said Wick. “The team is going out there at 7 p.m. and you’re going home.”

 That’s all over now. Bob says he won’t hold back. “If she goes, she goes. I’m throwing every pitch I can. Either it’s healed or it’s not.”

Whatever happens, Bob Wickman took the high, hard road and never quit. I’m going to enjoy watching a great ballplayer honor the last 3 months of his contract, and take whatever lessons I can learn from his example.

Update: 7-12-04  

Loyal Bob Wickman fans everywhere are being rewarded for their faithfulness by the stellar performance of our comeback kid.

The popularity of Wickman’s Warriors is beginning to return to the pre-elbow injury days of 2002, when Bobby was saving games at an alarming rate. The website lit up like a Christmas tree the week of Wick’s return, and emails of congratulations have been steady (you guys in Wisconsin are awesome homeboy supporters). Tee shirt orders are going up as well as requests for yours-truly to do some interviews. We all deserve a pat on the back for our unwavering confidence in Bob’s perseverance.

Our success at the club, however, has always depended on Wick’s performance on the field. He came through with flying colors.

 In his 3 appearances leading up to the All-Star Break, Bob’s numbers looked like this:

IP-3      HITS-4     BB-2      SO-2     ERA- 0.00

As usual, our hero gets into some tight squeezes, but usually knows how to get out safely. Bob looks strong as a bulldog so far, and his pitches still have that wicked sinking action our boy is known for. Bob states his main goal as “finishing off the year strong.” We have no reason to doubt it- remember-

“IN BOB WE TRUST!”   J. Ladd

P.S. Why wasn’t Bob Wickman on the All-Star team? He hasn’t given up a run in almost 2 years!

Update 8-8-04

Wick Goes Back-To-Back-To-Back

Bob Wickman saved his third game in as many days with a 1-2-3 ninth in August 7th’s 6-5 victory over the White Sox. No Indians closer this season has saved more than 2 consecutive games until Saturday’s game. That brings Bob’s save total to 4 since his return and gives him 160 for his career.

 “Wicky has a presence about him and you have to have a presence in that role to handle everything that goes on,” said manager Eric Wedge.

“When Wicky’s on the mound, there’s a different feeling,” said Matt Lawton. “ When he came back just before the break, I felt all the pieces where in place for us to win this thing.” Lawton was the hero of the 6-5 victory with his 3 run homer in the ninth off of Chicago’s closer Shingo Takatsu.

Just as predicted, the Indians have found their closer in a healthy Bob Wickman. The proof is in the numbers- The Tribe is 12-0 in games Bobby Wick has appeared in since his return on July 6. J. Ladd 8-8-04