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Ted Wills

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Theodore Carl Wills

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[edit] Biographical Information

Ted Willis pitched parts of five seasons in the majors, seeing more action and success as a reliever.

After attending Fresno State, Wills was signed by Boston Red Sox scout Tom Downey in 1955. He made his pro debut that summer, going 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA for the San Jose Red Sox. After starting 1956 4-0 with an 8.04 ERA for the Albany Senators, he spent the remainder of the summer with the Greensboro Patriots, posting an 11-4 record and a much-better 3.20 earned run average. He won 15 games for the Chattanooga Lookouts in 1958 and earned an invitation to Spring Training with the Red Sox in 1959.

Wills began 1959 with the Minneapolis Millers before being called up by Boston in May. In his big league debut on May 24th against the Washington Senators, he allowed three earned runs in three innings of relief but struck out future Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew. He soon joined the Red Sox rotation, earning a complete game win against the Baltimore Orioles in his first start, but after going 2-6 in 8 starts, he was sent back down to Minneapolis in July. Overall that year, he went 9-10 with a 3.15 ERA in 21 appearances for the Millers and was 2-6 with a 5.27 ERA in 9 outings for the Red Sox.

After going 7-2 for Minneapolis to start the 1960 campaign, Wills was again recalled by Boston in late June of that year. Pitching exclusively out of the pen, he went 1-1 with a 7.42 ERA in 15 outings in the bigs. He made the Red Sox Opening Day roster in 1961. However, after posting a 3-2 record and 5.95 ERA in 17 games, he was sent down to the minors near the end of June, spending the remainder of the season with the Seattle Rainiers.

Wills began the 1962 season back with the Red Sox but made just one appearance before being sold to the Cincinnati Reds in May. In 26 outings (including 5 starts) for Cincinnati that summer, he went 0-2 with 3 saves and a 5.31 ERA. He played for the San Diego Padres in the Reds chain the following two years, winning 15 games in 1963 and 12 in 1964.

Wills was purchased by the Chicago White Sox prior to the 1965 season and posted his best big league numbers for the club that year, going 2-0 with a 2.84 ERA and a save in 15 game. However, the Sox sent him down to the minors by June, and he split the rest of the summer between the Jacksonville Suns and the Portland Beavers. Now 31 years of age, he retired after that season.

Wills wore multiple numbers in his big league career: 28 in 1959; 25 from 1960 to 1962; 39 with the Reds in 1962; and 26 in 1965.

Following his playing days, Wills worked in the insurance business for many years. As of 2009, he resided in Clovis, California.

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