Sunday, November 10, 2013

Bill Singer (#249)

Here’s Bill Singer’s first solo card.  He previously appeared on Dodgers Rookies cards in 1966 (with Don Sutton) and 1967.

Singer was a hard-throwing right-hander who, as a rookie in 1967, filled the starting rotation slot vacated by the retired Sandy Koufax.  He joined veteran starters Don Drysdale and Claude Osteen, and 2nd-year man Don Sutton.

Singer was signed by the Dodgers in late 1961, and pitched in their farm system from 1962 through 1966, the last 3 seasons at triple-A Spokane.  In his final minor-league season (’66) he was 13-11, but most impressively, struck out 217 batters.  Bill made a few appearances with the Dodgers during September call-ups in ’64, ’65, and ’66.

As a rookie in 1967, he posted a 12-8 record and a 2.64 ERA, with 169 strikeouts and only 61 walks in 204 innings. The next year, his record slipped to 13-17, but his strikeout total soared to 227.

1969 was his best season with the Dodgers, as he posted a 20-12 record, along with a 2.34 ERA and 247 strikeouts.  He also made his first of two all-star teams. Singer only pitched 16 games in an injury-filled 1970 season, but one of them was a no-hitter against the Phillies on July 20th.

Although he was the Dodgers’ opening-day starter in 1971, he had sub-par seasons in ’71 and ’72, then was part of a 5-for-2 trade with the Angels after the ’72 season. Singer, outfielder Frank Robinson, infielders Billy Grabarkiewitz and Bobby Valentine, and pitcher Mike Strahler went to the Angels in exchange for pitcher Andy Messersmith and 3rd baseman Ken McMullen. (McMullen started his career with the Dodgers, but went to the Senators in the Frank Howard trade.)

In 1973 he had his best season since 1969, compiling a 20-14 record, with 241 strikeouts, and a 3.22 ERA.  He also made his 2nd all-star team.

Injuries cropped up again, and he won only 7 games in each of the next 2 seasons.  After the 1975 season, he was traded to the Rangers for 1st baseman Jim Spencer.  The following June, he moved on to the Twins in exchange for pitcher Bert Blyleven.

Singer was selected by the Toronto Blue Jays in the expansion draft following the 1976 season, and was the Jays’ opening day starter in their inaugural 1977 season.  His performance that year was limited by injuries, and he also missed the entire 1978 season. Toronto released him in December 1978.

After his playing career, he worked as a scout for the Marlins, Pirates, and Dodgers.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

One of the great "one that got away" moments in Jays history involved Singer. The Yankees wanted a veteran arm and offered up a prospect for Singer. The Jays, lacking any real name recognition other than Bill, declined. Singer barely pitched before arm troubles took him out.

The kid the Yankees offered? A young lefty named Ron Guidry.