A blog about baseball cards... and the Padres

Monday, May 13, 2013

Hey Whitey - AKA Mr. Indespensable

No, this isn't a post on Edward Charles "Whitey" Ford.  This is on another professional ballplayer with a colorful nickname (BTW, according to wikipedia.com, Whitey Ford got his nickname for his "light blonde hair").  I think it's safe to say that the days of having players with the nickname of "Whitey" are behind us - although there was a guy I played against in high school who's last name was Wightman and people called him Whitey.

Here is my latest addition to my vintage Pacific Coast League Padres collection, my third such card from the Mother's Cookies releases during the '50s.  Whereas the previous two have been from the '53 set, this is my first from the '52 set.

William Frederick Wietelmann played for the Boston Bees in the National League for two years (1939-'40) before they became the Boston Braves.  He stayed there until 1947, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates, where he played his final year in the big leagues.  He finished a nine year career with a .232 batting average, six homers, and 122 RBI.  

Baseball-reference.com shows that he was predominantly a middle infielder, though he spent a few games at third and even one at first.  More interesting, however, is that he also pitched in four games as a Brave, from '45-'46.  Combined, he threw 7.2 innings, giving up 12 earned runs on 15 hits, with a wild pitch, a hit batter, and two strikeouts.  Total it up, he had a 14.09 ERA.

Not always great when your ERA resembles the start time of an afternoon game - in military time.

I'm sure that his team was behind at the time anyways, so it's not like they were counting on him to keep them in the game.

Wietelmann (pronounced WEE-tul-man) played for the PCL Padres from 1949-1952.  His first two years there, they were the AAA affiliate for the Indians, but his last year, they had no affiliation.  This was the year that this card was released.  Whitey's best season, numbers wise, was in 1951, when he hit .262 with 8 homers and 44 RBI.

Also worth noting is the "Treasure Hunt' feature for stamps.  "Individually, these stamps could cost about $2.00", but this "thrilling introductory assortment" could be yours for ten cents and a couple of Mother's Cookies labels.  Gotta love the idea of the chase, even in the 50s.

Anyways, welcome to the binders Whitey.  Hopefully I'll stumble across some cheap vintage Mother's Cookies cards soon, I'm beginning to think that now, all the ones I still need have been graded and cost a ton of money.

Okay, just before I hit "publish", I came across this article.  I usually always get all of my stats from baseball-reference.com, but typing in "Whitey Wietelmann baseball reference" into Google brought me this result as well.  Instead of paraphrasing, I'll just quote it all here, since I thought it was interesting enough to pass along.  You could do much worse than get your nickname from Casey Stengel, and I had no idea that he threw out the first pitch at the first Padres home playoff game in '84.  Even though I had no idea who he was before I got this card, Whitey was definitely a Padre.

Shortstop Whitey Wietelmann made his big league debut in 1939 with the Boston Bees, where he earned the nickname "Whitey" from manager Casey Stengel. After his major league career ended, he joined the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League in 1949 and began a longtime association with San Diego baseball. He played for the Padres for four seasons (1949-1952). He went down to the Wichita Falls Spudders in 1953 as player/manager where he also started pitching. By 1955, he led the Arizona-Mexico League in games pitched and hits allowed while going 21-13 as player manager of the Yuma Sun Sox. He retired as a player and manager after the 1956 season in Yuma.
Wietelman was a coach for the Sacramento Solons in 1959 and the Padres from 1959 to 1965. After spending two years as a Cincinnati Reds coach, Wietelmann returned to Southern California as coach of the last minor league Padre team in 1968 and coach of the expansion San Diego Padres when they began play in 1969. He remained with the team in that capacity for eleven seasons and then spent the next fourteen serving the club in a variety of roles that included scouting, fixing equipment, and even cooking the team's meals and helping with the laundry. Over his years with the Padres, Wietelmann earned the nickname "Mr. Indispensable", and he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at the Padres first-ever home playoff game in 1984.
From http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Whitey_Wietelmann


  1. He wore #19 in his days with the PCL Padres, as did Ted Williams. When he was equipment manager for the MLB Padres he issued Tony Gwynn his number because he liked him and figured he'd stick around for a while.