Ted Abernathy (abernte02)

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Note: This page is for 1960s pitcher Ted Abernathy. For the pitcher of the same name from 1942-1944, click here.


Theodore Wade Abernathy
(Abby or Angleworm)

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

"[Ted] Abernathy was a dandy. A family man, minded his business, easygoing. We roomed together for a while and got along great. He threw underhanded and threw good but gave up a lot of hits and walks." - Pedro Ramos, from Danny Peary's 1994 book We Played the Game

"Although now and then an inglorious Milton unmutes his poetic urge in these names, labeling Ted Abernathy 'Angleworm' because he pitches underhand and his stuff seems to rise out of the ground..." - Tristram Coffin, from Baseball Nicknames

Ted Abernathy was a premier reliever and two-time Sporting News Fireman of the Year. He saved 149 games while pitching 681 times over parts of fourteen seasons.

Abernathy broke into pro ball in 1952, going 20-13, 1.69 with the Class D Roanoke Rapids Jays and leading the Coastal Plain League with 293 strikeouts in 255 innings. He missed much of 1953 and all of the 1954 season due to military service during the Korean War. When he returned it was as a big leaguer, joining the Washington Senators for Opening Day in 1955 with uninspiring results. Ted saw limited action in the next two years, 1956 and 1957, then after spending time in the minors, made a two-appearance, 12.00-ERA cameo back up in 1960. In between, in 1959, after undergoing shoulder surgery, he proceeded to change his throwing motion to a submarine delivery in an effort to keep the dream alive. Apart from the aforementioned two-game stint, he spent all of 1958 to 1962 in the minors before the Cleveland Indians took a chance on him, calling him up around Memorial Day in 1963.

Ted made good as a reliever, piecing together a 7-2, 2.88 record with 12 saves his first year before falling to 2-6, 4.33 and 11 saves in 1964. A sale to the Chicago Cubs early in 1965 proved most fortuitous indeed. Abernathy led the senior circuit with 84 appearances, 62 games finished and 31 saves, logging a career high 136 1/3 innings in a 4-6, 2.57 season. Following a 1966 season split between Chicago and the Atlanta Braves, Ted was the king of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen in the next two seasons. He made a combined 148 appearances in 1967 and 1968, leading the NL in appearances both years, and did his finest work in a 6-3, 1.27 season with a league high 28 saves in 1967. His ERA "ballooned" to 3.16 back at Wrigley Field in 1969, then he pitched to ERAs under 3 in each of his final three seasons, saving 42 games while primarily dealing for the expansion Kansas City Royals.

In his after-playing days, Abernathy worked for his son's landscaping business, among other ventures. He died in 2004 after suffering from Alzheimer's disease for several years.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 2-time NL Reliever of the Year Award Winner (1965 & 1967)
  • 3-time NL Games Pitched Leader (1965, 1967 & 1968)
  • 2-time NL Saves Leader (1965 & 1967)
  • 30 Saves Seasons: 1 (1965)

Related Sites[edit]