John Bruce Swango
- Bats Left, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 200 lbs.
- High School Welch High School
Bruce Swango was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in May 1955 for a bonus of $36,000 (to be paid over three years). The 18-year-old high-schooler jumped immediately to the major-league roster because of the bonus rule in effect at the time, but a little over two months later, the Orioles released him. He never pitched in a big-league game. He was reportedly intimidated by the size of the crowds, although he dismissed that as a fabrication. He was in fact extremely wild, so wild that he could not even be used to pitch batting practice; facing the prospect of carrying a totally useless player on the major league roster for two years, the Orioles decided to swallow their pride and cut their losses by getting rid of Bruce.
But he could still throw hard, so the New York Yankees signed Swango in 1956, with no bonus this time, and he remained in their organization for several years. In adition to pitching, he hit .224 with 7 home runs, taking the field regularly. He was 1-0 with a 5.88 ERA for the 1956 McAlester Rockets, walking 29 in 26 IP. In 1957, he went 8-9 with a 5.05 ERA, walking 119 in 130 IP for the Greenville Majors. He was 4th in the Sooner State League in walks. He had a 10-4, 3.84 record for the 1958 Fargo-Moorhead Twins. He no-hit the Minot Mallards on September 1st. He split 1959 between the Greensboro Yankees (2-4, 5.89 in 16 G) and Binghamton Triplets (4-3, 3.91 in 9 G), with 84 BB in 130 IP.
In 1960, he toiled for Binghamton (2-3, 6.30 in 23 G) and the Amarillo Gold Sox (0-2, 7.36 in 10 G), with a 2.02 WHIP overall. He opened 1961 0-1 for Amarillo then was loaned to the Nashville Volunteers, a Minnesota Twins affiliate, for the remainder of 1961, where he went 6-5 with a 2.79 ERA. The Twins evidently liked him enough to pick him up in the 1961 Rule V Draft after the season, but he was as wild as ever in spring training in 1962 and was sent down to the minors. He was 4-1 with a 4.57 ERA in 37 games for the Triple-A Vancouver Mounties that year. Swango's career ended after 1963, which he split between the Charlotte Hornets (4-7, 2.32 in 35 G) and Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers (2-2, 9 R in 6 IP). He had gone 43-41 as a pro and hit .231 with 12 dingers.