Harold Joseph Woodeshick
- Bats Right, Throws Left
- Height 6' 3", Weight 200 lb.
- High School Monaca High School
- Debut September 14, 1956
- Final Game August 28, 1967
- Born August 24, 1932 in Wilkes-Barre, PA USA
- Died June 14, 2009 in Houston, TX USA
Seventeen-year-old Hal Woodeschick was signed as an amateur free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies before the 1950 season. The 6' 3" Woodeshick spent nine up-and-down seasons in the minors between 1950 and 1961 and built a handsome record of 62 wins and 40 losses with a matching 3.67 ERA. The young left-hander spent his first two years (1950-1951) with three different teams, going 0-3 with a 5.06 ERA. In 1952 he landed with the Kingsport Cherokees of the class D Appalachian League and won 13 games while losing 6 with a 4.54 ERA. He was just getting adjusted when the military called him up for duty. Hal spent the next two years (1953-1954) in the United States Army during the Korean War.
On his return, he produced two good seasons, going 14-8 with the Danville Leafs in 1955. This showing got Hal drafted by the Detroit Tigers from the New York Giants farm system in the 1955 minor league draft. He then went 12-5 with the Charleston Senators of the American Association in 1956, making it to Briggs Stadium in time for two starts late that season, losing both while pitching only five innings.
After a rough year in 1957 with the Augusta Tigers and the Charleston Senators, winning only 8 and losing 14, the Tigers traded Hal early in 1958 to the Cleveland Indians. He went 6-6 for the Indians that year. Woodeshick was traded again, to the Washington Senators, after the season. He worked primarily out of the bullpen in 1959 and 1960 before being dealt back to the Tigers during the 1961 season. He was with the Senators in both 1960 and early 1961, but those were two different teams: the original senators had become the Minnesota Twins in 1961, and Hal was with the new expansion Senators after being selected in the expansion draft.
He finally found a home in Houston in 1962 as part of another expansion team, the Houston Colt .45's. He was a member of their starting rotation and had a record of 5-16 for the first-year team. The following year, 1963, he moved back to the bullpen and had an outstanding campaign, going 11-9 plus 10 saves with a 1.97 ERA in 55 appearances. A member of the National League All-Star team, he worked two scoreless innings in relief in the NL's 5-3 victory.
Hal, who followed up with a league-leading 23 saves in 1964, was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals during the 1965 season. He made his last appearance in Game 6 of the 1967 World Series against the Boston Red Sox, working a scoreless 8th inning in an 8-4 Boston victory in which he was the Series' record-tying eighth pitcher used in the game by the Cardinals. He was released a week after the Cardinals won the World Series title in seven games. The left-hander, now 34 years of age, ended his eleven-year major league run with a 44-62 record with 61 saves and a 3.56 ERA.