All-Time Indians: Bob Wickman

 

Name: Robert Joe Wickman   Position: Closer      
                Number: 26      
Tribe Time: 2000-2002, 2003-2006     DOB: 02/06/1969  
Accolades: 2005 All-Star, Top 26 MVP (2005)      
Stats W L W% ERA G SV SVO IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP K/9 BAA
Best Season (2001) 5 0 1.000 2.41 70 32 35 67.2 61 18 18 4 14 66 1.12 8.8 .232
Career 8 16 0.333 3.23 255 139 156 248.1 249 98 89 21 78 197 1.32 7.1 .251

Bob Wickman was an unlikely man to be considered the greatest closer in Indians history, but he is the man who holds the record for most saves in team history. He was never a dominant pitcher (he had a WHIP of 1.32 for his career), but he always got the job done. It seemed that every time entered a game he would allow at least one baserunner, but he ended his time with the Tribe with the second best save completion percent in team history. In 2005 he had one of the best closing seasons ever, saving 45 games in 50 chances, just one away from the single season record.

Wickman's career began a decade before he joined the Indians when he was drafted in 1990 by the White Sox. He didn't become a closer, however, until 1998 after he had joined the Brewers (the Yankees traded him away during the rookie season of a different closer, Mariano Rivera). He came to Cleveland in 2000 in a blockbuster trade that saw future All-Star Richie Sexson and Marco Scutaro going to Milwaukee for Wickman, Steve Woodard and Jason Bere. The Brewers got the better of the deal as Sexson changed from back-up first baseman to a 40 home run hitter with more than 100 RBI every year. Wickman did pull his part of the deal and at the time it looked like Jim Thome would be around forever, so the deal made sense.

Wickman stayed the closer for a longer period than any other Indians pitcher, but after just five seasons, the Indians tired of his rosy cheeks and carefree disposition. He was traded in a deadline deal to the Braves for a catcher named Maximiliano Ramirez (who was later dealt to Texas for Kenny Lofton). 

Despite pitching for 15 years (five of those with the Yankees), Wickman only made the postseason twice and never made it out of the first round. He was a part of the 2001 Central Division Champion Indians and was the only Indians representative to the 2005 All-Star team. The Indians didn't know how much they would miss him until they brought in the next group of closers who were far less effective than Wickman. He retired after just eight games with Arizona in 2007.

About Joseph Coblitz

Joseph is the primary writer and editor of BurningRiverBaseball.com and has been since it's inception in 2011. He is a graduate of the University of Akron and currently resides in Goodyear, Arizona.

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