February 20, 1959 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 26, 1979 for the Montreal Expos|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 7, 1994 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Earned run average||3.93|
William Lee Gullickson (born February 20, 1959 in Marshall, Minnesota) is a former major league baseball pitcher who played for six different major-league teams, in Canada, the U.S. and Japan, during an 18-year professional career, of which 14 seasons were spent in MLB.
Gullickson was selected in the June 1977 Major League Baseball Draft by the Montreal Expos, the second player to be drafted. He finished second behind Steve Howe in the National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1980, after a season in which he went 10–5 with an earned run average (ERA) of 3.00, and set a major-league record for most strikeouts in a game by a rookie, with 18. Gullickson held that record for 18 years, until Kerry Wood broke it with 20 strikeouts in 1998. Gullickson currently holds the Montreal Expos-Washington Nationals all-time strikeout record for a single game with 18 strikeouts.
In 1981, he helped the Expos to their only division title with a 7–9, 2.81 record. The Expos lost the National League Championship Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games; the Dodgers went on to defeat the New York Yankees for the 1981 World Series title in six games. Except for the 1981 strike season, Gullickson was in double figures in wins for every year onward.
On December 12, 1985, Gullickson was acquired by the Reds, along with catcher Sal Butera; the Reds sent pitchers Andy McGaffigan and John Stuper and catcher Dann Bilardello to the Expos. The next year Gullickson was acquired by the New York Yankees for their 1987 pennant drive, but he was unhappy there, and in 1988 accepted a two-million-dollar offer to pitch in Japan for the Yomiuri Giants.
Gullickson stayed with the Giants for two seasons, with a record of 21–14. Kazushige Nagashima, the son of Japanese baseball legend Shigeo Nagashima, got the first hit in his professional career, a home run, off Gullickson. When asked about his time in Japan, Gullickson said it was strange; the only English words that he saw were "Sony and Mitsubishi."
Although only in Japan for a short time, Gullickson left behind a positive legacy. When he was in Japan, it was considered a miracle that Gullickson, a patient of type 1 Diabetes Mellitus, played a professional sport. Since 1998, the Japan Diabetes Mellitus Society (JADMC) has placed the "Gullickson Award" for the patient who is deemed a superior influence on society.
While in Japan, Gullickson had also developed a close friendship with a young Japanese pitcher, Masumi Kuwata, and even named his son "Craig Kuwata Gullickson" in his honor. On the flip side, Kuwata learned many things from Gullickson, and grew to be one of the best players in Japan. Meanwhile, Kuwata had always wished to play in MLB, and at last, this dream was realized in 2007, as he became a member of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Nearly 20 years after meeting Gullickson, Kuwata became an MLB rookie, at the age of 39.
At the age of 12, Sam Fuld, an aspiring baseball player who also had diabetes, met Gullickson, and talked to him for two minutes. "That was enough to inspire me," Fuld said. "Any time I can talk to young diabetic kids, I look forward to that opportunity," said Gullickson. Fuld is now a major league outfielder with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Gullickson signed as a free agent with the Houston Astros after the 1989 season, and had a mediocre 1990 season before being released. He then signed a multi-million dollar contract with the Detroit Tigers, with whom he pitched for four seasons. While with the Tigers he met a young boy, who was then 12, who also had diabetes, and talked to him for two minutes. It was future major leaguer Sam Fuld, who battled to make the Cubs' 2008 team. "That was enough to inspire me," Fuld said. "Any time I can talk to young diabetic kids, I look forward to that opportunity."
Gullickson is married to Sandy Gullickson. Their six children are all involved in sports or other physically intensive endeavors:
|American League Wins Champion
(with Scott Erickson)
Kevin Brown & Jack Morris
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