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#26 | Closer | Cleveland Indians
Drafted: CWS #2 - June, 1990  Acquired: Trade, 7/28/2000  Home: Abrams, WI.

 

 

PLAYOFF APPEARANCES

Date

Opponent

Result

IP

H

R

BB

K

GrdB

FlyB

Pitch

BF

ERA

10/9/01

at Seattle

Win 5-0

1.0

0

0

0

2

0

1

15

3

0.00

Bobby throws a sinker, slider and two- and four-seam fastballs. His fastball is between 90 and 94 MPH.  His best pitch is a funky four and a half finger sinker. Remember how pumped Dude was after gunning down Martinez, Boone, and Olerud in the ninth in the first division playoff game in Seattle? What a total animal!

Bob Wickman: 'Cheesehead' closer  

 

I guess it isn't surprising that one of the things I like to do during the offseason is watch football. I was born in Green Bay, which almost automatically makes a person a Packers fan. It's practically a birthright. They're having a difficult season so far but I'll always be a fan.

Growing up, I followed the Packers every Sunday and sometimes I was able to snag a ticket for a game at Lambeau Field. That was the best. Going to a game there is a real celebration in Green Bay. It's a wonderful ritual.   

My favorite memories of the Packers include a lot of Brett Favre moments. One in particular came last season when he threw five touchdown passes against Oakland the weekend after his father passed away. To me, that was unbelievable.

I also recall vividly Don Majkowski's "magical" touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe with time running out against the Bears in November 1989. Everyone including the referees thought he had crossed the line of scrimmage after a wild scramble, but the call was reversed by instant replay. It was a huge upset because the Bears were real tough back then.

One day, when I was playing for Milwaukee, Packers center Frank Winters came into the Brewers clubhouse. We sat and talked for about an hour. I had gone into their clubhouse once and he was the first guy to come over and say "Hi" and make me feel comfortable. He was a real nice guy.

When I was playing for the Brewers, it was a big thrill for me. I was a little disappointed when I got traded, but that's the way things go sometimes. I loved playing in my home state and representing it. I had watched guys like Paul Molitor, Robin Yount and Gorman Thomas when they played there when I was a kid. I was a huge fan of the team.

Going back to offseason pursuits, ice fishing might be my favorite activity during the offseason. We always hope we get cold weather right away so the lakes freeze over. The last couple of years, we haven't had good ice, but I enjoy taking the whole family out there. Each kid gets at it, and my 2-year-old boy is probably just waiting to pull his first fish through the ice.

Hunting is another favorite. My wife's family will look after the kids and she and I spend a couple of days in the woods. It's a great chance for us to get away and do things out in the woods together. I also like to snowmobile. The scenery is great on a winter ride through the woods.

I enjoy the outdoors and feel very fortunate to live in the country. Yeah, we live a ways from the school and the grocery store, but you learn to adjust to it.

A veteran of 13 seasons, Indians closer Bob Wickman earned his second All-Star Game berth in 2005 and went on to an AL and career-high 45 saves in 55 opportunities while posting a 2.47 ERA. The 6-foot-1, 240-pound sinkerball specialist missed the entire 2003 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery.

Player Profile: Bob Wickman  6/29/2001
Name:
Robert Joe Wickman
  Birthdate: 2-6-69

What are your favorite hobbies? Hunting and Ice Fishing
Who inspired you to become a professional baseball player?
My father said play all the sports you can and it just worked out that I became a baseball player.
What would you tell someone who wanted to become a professional baseball player?
For pitchers, donít throw breaking balls in Little League because your arm is not developed yet to handle the stress.
What do you like to do when your not playing baseball?
Play with my kids.
Do you play any other sports besides baseball?
No.
Name one thing you love about Cleveland.
I like that the suburb I live in is family-oriented. It is very quiet and the kids can run around and have fun. And it really seems like the Midwest where I came from in Northern Wisconsin.
Whereís your favorite place to go in Cleveland? Favorite thing to do?
I like to go to Westlake Park because I always go there with my kids.
What is your favorite food?
Just look at the size of me, so just about anything.
 Are you a good cook?
No.
What type of music do you enjoy?
Country.
What was the last good movie you saw?
Hannibal.
Do you have any pets?
No pets.
What is your favorite car?
Ford F 250 Pick-up Truck.
If you hadnít become a baseball player, what would you be?
A Carpenter.
What do you like to do during the off-season?
I spend a lot of time with my kids. I snowmobile in the winter and do a little hunting and ice fishing.
Which is your favorite team to play against?
All of them.
What is the hardest thing about your profession?
Listening to all the criticism by the media and the announcers, when you know that you are giving it your best, but most likely they are going to criticize you when something goes wrong.
Who do you think is the greatest all-time baseball player and why?
I donít know but Don Mattingly helped me out a lot when I was with the Yankees. The way he handled himself on and off the field and in the clubhouse. He was such a team leader it was unbelievable. Don Mattingly is the guy that I probably have the most respect for in baseball.

Bob Wickman: Pride of the Warhawks

By Jim Miller/Head Baseball Coach

It is rare in sports to find a player that went to a lower division college and later succeeded at a high level in professional sports. Thatís what makes this story so special for Bob Wickman and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Wickman attended this NCAA Division III University from 1987 to 1990, playing baseball for the Warhawks. Pitching was his strong suit and his arm caught the attention of the Chicago White Sox who drafted him in 1990. After a trade to the New York Yankees, he made his first major league start late in the 1992 season for baseballís most storied franchise. He became the first UW- Whitewater baseball product to make it all the way to the major league level, a mark that still stands today. Twelve former Warhawks have signed pro contracts but only Wickman has major league experience.

Over the course of his first two seasons he also made MLB history by starting his career with a 14-1 record, tying legendary Yankee pitcher Whitey Ford for the best start since 1950.

Wickmanís dream of making it to the ďBigsĒ got even better the day he was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers in 1996. The Abrams, Wisconsin native was back home doing what he loved most, playing baseball.

Warhawks baseball coach Jim Miller remembers going to see Wickman pitch for the first time in Milwaukee. ďIím at old County Stadium and I just couldnít believe I was here watching one of our own kids at this level!Ē

Wickman made the transition from a set-up man to closer in Milwaukee. He flourished out of the bullpen with a team record 37 saves in 1999.

Wickmanís stint with the Brewers was sweet but also short. The struggling club did not need an elite closer out of the bullpen so they traded him to the pennant-contending Cleveland Indians in 2000, only weeks after he was named to his first MLB All-Star team.

At UW-Whitewater, Wickman had single season personal bests of: A 6-4 win/loss record in 1989, 67 innings pitched in 1989 and 63 strikeouts in 1990. He also earned all-conference in 1990.

In Wickmanís final season at UW-Whitewater, his receiver at catcher was current Warhawk assistant John Vodenlich. Wickman also makes special mention in his MLB bio with the Indians that the person he most respects outside of baseball is his brother Bill, who was an All-American in 1989 while the two were Warhawk teammates.

UW-Whitewater will honor Bob Wickman this spring by retiring his jersey #20.

Bob Wickman: An All-Star and Beyond?
By Nichlos Ewoldt

The dream of every baseball player growing up is to play in the Majors. For a very select few, this dream comes true. Bob Wickman was a dreamer like any other, but he is also part of that very select few.

Bob Wickman was born in Green Bay and later played football, basketball and baseball for Oconto Falls High School . His older brother, Bill, also starred at Oconto Falls and after graduation Bill moved onto play baseball for the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater . Being an All-State baseball player, Bob Wickman drew the attention of several universities before he chose UW-Whitewater.

"Enough schools showed interest in me," said Wickman, "but if I was going to play in-state I wanted to play with my brother and not against him."

Wickman played three seasons with the UW-Whitewater baseball team, while he and his brother restructured the Warhawk record books. UW-Whitewater compiled a 71-45 record during his tenure, and in 1989 Wickman led the Warhawks to a fifth-place finish in the NCAA College World Series. Throughout his three phenomenal seasons, he was shadowed by several curious Major League scouts.

Wickman noted that his greatest influence at UW-Whitewater was his brother, but his greatest memory of Whitewater was meeting his wife, Susan. Wickman started dating Susan after meeting her in a children's literature class.

Wickman enjoys coming back to Wisconsin every off-season to his home in northern Wisconsin . He enjoys hunting and relaxing, but stays in shape by training at his home's own facility. He has a daughter, Kaylee, and a son, Ryan.

The Chicago White Sox selected Wickman in the second round of the 1990 free-agent draft, following his third season at UW-Whitewater. Wickman played with the White Sox organization before he was traded to the New York Yankees. From 1992-1996, Wickman moved from a successful starting pitcher into the bullpen. A mid-season trade in 1996 moved Wickman back home to play with the Milwaukee Brewers. With the Brewers, Wickman became one of the league's best relief pitchers.

In 2000, Wickman was named a National League All-Star with the Brewers just before his trade to the Cleveland Indians. Wickman played a major role in the Indian's playoff run and is very excited about the Indians chances in the 2001 season.

" New York was a great organization to play for with all the legacy and the dynasties in the past, but it was nice to be traded to Milwaukee ," said Wickman. "In Milwaukee I developed into the team's closer (a pitcher who ends or saves games) which is what every reliever would like to get. With the years I have left I feel that the Indians have a chance to win it every year, while the Brewers seem a couple years away."

Wickman has enjoyed all of his stops in the majors, but as his career continues he has become increasingly concerned with playing in the World Series.

"I definitely want to make it to the post-season again. I made it in 1995, but I'd like to take it one step further and go to the World Series," said Wickman.

Bob Wickman was once a kid dreaming. But where most kids dream of just playing in the Majors, those who reach that goal look to even bigger things. Wickman has played in the post-season and has been named an all-star, but until he stands on the mound in a World Series game his dreaming continues. 

Reasons for a Wickmanís Warriors website:

1. BECAUSE BOB DESERVES IT

The 2001 season tested Bobís mettle as a player and a person.

Bob Wickman came to the Tribe an All-Star in July of 2000 having established himself as a solid relief pitcher with the Yankees and the Brewers. His efforts the second half of that season were key to solidifying the bullpen and redirecting the Indians towards a wild card spot in the playoffs, of which they fell one game short. He converted 30 of 37 save opportunities, going 14 for 17 with the Tribe and 16 for 20 with the Brewers.

He began the 2001 season with his usual stellar work, saving 15 of 16 games before a trade with Atlanta (for business reasons, I believe)  blindsided him and caused his demotion from closer to set-up man.

Instead of hiding in a corner, crying to be traded, or waiting for free agency at the end of the year, Bob went from being mad to bad in a very short time, turning in some of the finest pitching performances of his career. He let his arm do the talking as he re-secured his position as closer and helped carry his team to the playoffs, converting 32 of 35 saves, posting 5 wins and 0 losses with a 2.39 ERA in the process. I know that if the team could have gotten the 1- 0 lead to him in the game 4 playoff against Seattle that Bob would have converted the save and the Indians would have played the Yankees for the pennant.

Despite his tremendous work, Bobís season went largely unnoticed by Cleveland fans and he was definitely overlooked by the media across the league. Iím sure thatís fine as far as Bobís concerned given his aversion to fanfare and unwillingness to self promote, but his supporters feel he deserves better.

In spite of his tribulations during last season, Bob went against the wishes of his long time agent Dick Moss and took less money to stay with the town that often treated him with indifference; even as far as insisting on a no trade clause. I think Larry Dolan said it best when he said "You donít let a guy like that get away.íí

Bob Wickman never once let his team or his town down.

2. IT'S A WORTHY CAUSE

The membership fee to become an official member of Wickmanís Warriors and have your name placed on the roster is a donation to Cleveland Indians Charities in Bobís name or Wickmanís Warriors, whichever you prefer. 100% of your donation goes directly to Cleveland Indians Charities, and in return you will receive an authentic Wickmanís Warriors tee shirt to wear to the games and cheer on Bob and the team.

Itís a positive way to participate in not only supporting our guys on the field but also the many worthwhile efforts of Cleveland Indians Charities.  

3. TO PROVIDE A UNIQUE PERSPECTIVE

This site is dedicated exclusively to baseball and all the things that make it such a great sport. There will be none of the off the field gossip, rumors, negativity or dirty laundry that is found in the rest of the local media on this site. The fans of Cleveland need to remember that baseball is supposed to be fun.

4. BOB'S ONE BAD DUDE

Heís a down-to-earth player for a blue-collar town. Heís always a pro, always in control and has the cold- blooded efficiency needed to be a successful closer.

Bob had to overcome physical hardship to make the big leagues. He lost the tip of his right index finger in a farming accident as a child, but uses it to his advantage to put extra sink on his pitches. A batter's best chance against him is to beat the ball into the ground and hope it finds a hole.

Heís got a great routine, heís always pumped for a save and he spits tobacco snot like Josey Wales after gunniní down the enemy.