Posts Tagged ‘Floyd Wooldridge’

Buff Biographies: Floyd Wooldridge

July 23, 2013

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Floyd Wooldridge 1955

Floyd Wooldridge

Pitcher Floyd Wooldridge (6’1″, 185 lb.) (BR/TR) was born on August 25, 1928 in a little place called Jerico Springs, Missouri and, like a lot of the baseball-talented kids in that state in those times, he signed as a young man to play ball in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. At age 21, he broke in with Class D Albany, Georgia in 1950, posting an excellent starting mark of 14-12 with a 3.36 ERA.  He kept improving, going 12-6 with a 3,81 ERA the next year for the 1951 Class A Columbus, Georgia club – and that was good enough to earn Floyd a promotion to AA Houston for the following season.

Wooldridge found some resistance to he effort and ability on the pitching staff of the 1952 Houston Buffs. His 7-18, 2.34 ERA was a reflection of a pitcher getting better while playing for a bad team that didn’t hit well in support of him. The ’52 Buffs would finish last in the 8-club Texas League with a 66-95 record. Wooldridge would remain a Buff in 1953.

1953 was a turnaround year for Floyd. He went 15-13 with a 2.20 ERA for a Buffs club that improved only to 6th place with a 72-82 season win-loss record. The Cardinals now saw Wooldridge as a guy who might be able to jump AAA and go straight to the big league staff.

Then, as life often brings it, tragedy struck. In late 1953, Floyd Wooldridge was injured in a car wreck that could have killed him. He escaped with a broken leg, but thought that he might fully recover by the early regular season. The Cardinals took him to  camp, but it soon became obvious that Wooldridge might be in danger of hurting himself by compensating for how the injured leg caused him to throw. And, even in those still days of low concern, the Cardinals had learned something from the loss of Dizzy Dean to compensatory motion injury in the late 1930s. It’s doubtful they saw Floyd Wooldridge as the second coming of Dizzy Dean, but they valued him, nonetheless.

Floyd Wooldridge was shutdown from pitching anywhere in 1954. It was time to heal all the way.

Floyd got his shot with the Cardinals in 1955. In 18 games that split almost evenly between starting and relieving, Wooldridge went 2-4 with a 4.84 ERA for the ’55 Cards.

Wooldridge was never the same, even though his 2-4, 2.70 mark with the ’55 Buffs was briefly deceiving. His 0-2 mark that same year at AAA Rochester offered fairer warning that his psychological or physical injuries from the car wreck had done a greater damage to his prospects as a pitcher – and, by the end of year, he’s now 27 – and falling off the prospect list.

The Cardinals dealt him away to the Kansas City Athletics and they assigned him to AAA Columbus, Ohio for the 1956 year. He went 6-9 with a 4.80 ERA in his last serious season of ball. The A’s sent him to AAA Buffalo in 1957 where he got into 4 games before retiring from baseball with no W/L record for the 1957 season.

When you’re done, you’re done. Floyd may not have made it, anyway, but the car wreck injury had put the cap on any chances he might have had. Wooldridge retired with a career 57-62, 3.00 ERA minor league record. That’s life.

Floyd Wooldridge passed away in Springfield, Missouri on May 25, 2008 at the age of 79.

Thanks for the time you gave us in Houston, Floyd! – When you took the mound during the terrible seasons you were here, you at least gave us the hope that winning was possible. And that’s important because it’s the one thing no real baseball fan can live without – and that’s hope. Hope in somebody. And hope in things getting better. – You brought both items to the table.