Card-by-Yankees Card: The 1977 Topps Set, Cards #472, Patterson and Wehrmeister (Article 87)
by Paul Semendinger
(Continuing a series…)
He might have been the first prospect that I remember coming up with the Yankees.
He also might have been the first prospect that I remember getting hurt.
I remember feeling very badly for Gil Patterson. I was a nine-year-old kid and I was sad for this guy who was going to be a great pitcher and who blew out his arm.
None of it make sense to me. That wasn’t the way it was supposed to work.
I probably remember Gil Patterson in part because of his name. Paterson, New Jersey isn’t far from where I grew up in Midland Park. As a kid, I liked to make connections like that. I think we all do. Finding and creating relationships between things is a building block of learning.
Some of those connections, though, don’t make any sense.
My dad was a teacher in Oakland, New Jersey. The first game I attended in Yankees Stadium was the Yankees against the A’s. I didn’t know about an Oakland, California. I wondered about this baseball team that played near my dad’s school, but that I had never seen before.
None of it made any sense.
Gil Patterson appeared in ten big league games. He made six starts. He won one game.
On May 25, 1977, Gil Patterson pitched against the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium. It was the first game of a double header. The opposing pitcher was Bert Blyleven, a future Hall-of-Famer.
Patterson pitched 6.2 innings. He allowed seven hits. He struck out five. He allowed two runs. On the Yankees side, they scored three times. Roy White hit a homer. Thurman Munson and Bucky Dent had the other two runs batted in. It was just enough.
What wasn’t enough, I am sure, was what came next. Two more starts… and then two relief appearances months later.
And a career over, really before it started.
I remember Gil Patterson trying to make a comeback as a left-handed pitcher. He had some success that way in the low minors.
Patterson did become a coach in the minors and the big leagues serving as the Blue Jays pitching coach from 2002-04. He also coached in the Yankees’ minor leagues.
Dave Wehrmeister became a Yankee in 1981. He pitched in all of five games for the Yankees.
The Yankees originally acquired Wehrmeister from the Padres in a trade for Jay Johnstone in 1979. That was in 1979. Wehrmeister had made 30 appearances for the Padres in the 1977 season.
In 1980, the Royals took Wehrmeister in the Rule 5 Draft, but eventually returned him to the Yankees. He’d pitch in five games for the Yankees in 1981, all in relief. In seven total innings of work, Wehrmeister allowed six hits and four runs. He did strikeout seven batters.
Dave Wehrmeister also pitched for the Padres (before becoming a Yankee), and for the Phillies and the White Sox after. All told, he appeared in 76 big league games. Not bad. His lifetime record was 4-9, 5.65.
The four big league teams, Wehrmeister earned wins against were the San Francisco Giants (1977), Atlanta Braves (1978), the the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners both in 1985. Think about that, this was a guy who hung around for a long time. His win against the Braves came on April 23, 1978. He wouldn’t earn another Major League win until August 8, 1985 (pitching in relief). My quick math has him waiting 2,664 days between Major League wins. That is amazing! Over seven years and through two Presidential Election cycles.
There is something special and the forgotten big leaguers, the players that toil and struggle, and fight…and who wind ways to keep their dreams alive.
In many ways, these are the players that truly make-up the backbone of the sport I love.
I can wish to be one of the greats, but I relate more to these guys…
still wishing and hoping and striving to be a big leaguer myself.