Dick Stuart

From BR Bullpen

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Richard Lee Stuart
(Stu or Dr. Strangeglove)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

"Isn't it odd? A guy bats .301 and has 35 homers. Then everybody starts to tell him what a good fielder he has become." - Dick Stuart, after his 1961 year

How bad a fielder was Dick Stuart ? Well, he was nicknamed Dr. Strangeglove. He once had a license plate that read "E3." At Fenway Park the crowd gave him an ovation when he cleanly fielded a hot dog wrapper that blew onto the field on a windy day. Stuart led or tied for the league lead in errors his last year in the minors and his first 7 seasons in the majors.

In 1952, Stuart led the class C Pioneer League in homers (31) and RBI (121). He missed the 1953-1954 seasons due to military service, then came back and led the Pioneer League in homers again in 1955 with 32 (in only 366 AB).

Stuart hit 66 homers in the class A Western League in 1956. Despite hitting 17 more homers than anybody else in the league, Stuart failed to even lead the circuit in OPS, trailing minor-league veteran Art Cuitti. In addition, he made 30 errors as a 1B/OF, led the league in strikeouts and showed no speed. Stuart said that the Pittsburgh Pirates didn't give his season credit, but when you fail to lead a class A league in OPS when all you can do is hit, a promotion to the team's top minor league club the next season is certainly reasonable.

He played in Japan in 1967 and 1968. In 1967, he hit .280/.342/.551 with 33 homers and 100 RBI for the Taiyo Whales but slipped badly in 1968 to .217/.276/.443. When he signed with the California Angels in 1969, he became the one of the first players to return to the American major leagues after playing in Japan.

He is rated by Bill James as the worst "percentage player" in baseball history for his inability to draw walks, run the bases or field. To give credit where credit is due, however, he twice had an OPS+ of 140, which is pretty decent, and in a third year he led the league in total bases.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • NL All-Star (1961)
  • AL Total Bases Leader (1963)
  • AL RBI Leader (1963)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1959-1961 & 1963-1965)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1961, 1963 & 1964)
  • 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1963)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 3 (1961, 1963 & 1964)
  • Won a World Series with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jan Finkel: "Dick Stuart", in Clifton Blue Parker and Bill Nowlin, ed.: Sweet '60: The 1960 Pittsburgh Pirates, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2013, pp. 192-197. ISBN 978-1-93359-948-9
  • Bill Ryczek: Dr. Strangeglove: The Life and Times of All-Star Slugger Dick Stuart, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2021. ISBN 978-1-4766-8553-3

Related Sites[edit]