Robert Andrew Witt (born May 11, 1964 in Arlington, Virginia) is a former professional baseball pitcher. He played all or part of sixteen seasons in Major League Baseball for the Texas Rangers, Oakland Athletics, Florida Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Cleveland Indians, and Arizona Diamondbacks.
May 11, 1964 |
|April 10, 1986, for the Texas Rangers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 7, 2001, for the Arizona Diamondbacks|
|Earned run average||4.83|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Representing United States|
|1984 Los Angeles||Team|
Witt was drafted out of the University of Oklahoma with the third pick of the first round by the Texas Rangers in 1985. His first professional win came in 1986 with the Texas Rangers as he had failed to win a game in the minor leagues. He was known as a hard-throwing right-hander with control problems throughout his career and many in Arlington began to call him "Witt 'n Wild" as a play on the waterpark Wet 'n Wild, which was located next to Arlington Stadium.
Witt made his major league debut in 1986 and made 31 starts for the Rangers, finishing the season with an 11-9 record. Known for his control problems, he led the league with 143 walks in 157.2 innings pitched. The following season he led the league again in walks, this time with 140 in 143 innings.
On August 2, 1987, Witt struck out 4 batters in one inning. He set the Texas Rangers club record set in 1990 with his 7th consecutive road win of the season, a feat that was not matched by a Rangers pitcher until Scott Feldman did it in 2009.
In 1990, he had the best season of his career, going 17-10 with a 3.36 ERA, the lowest of his career. He also established dominance, striking out over 220 batters in 222 innings. He would continue on pitching for the Rangers till 1992 season, when he was traded to division rival Oakland.
From 1992–1994, Witt compiled a 23-24 record with the A's.
On June 23, 1994, as a member of the Oakland A's, he lost his bid for a perfect game when first base umpire Gary Cederstrom called the Kansas City Royals' Greg Gagne safe in the 6th inning  on a close play at first base on a bunt. Replays showed that Gagne was out. Witt went on to complete the game with only that one hit allowed and no walks.
During the 1995 season, Witt pitched half a season with the Marlins before being traded to Texas. He finished his tenure with Florida with a 2-7 record despite having an ERA of 3.90 and a WHIP of under 1.40.
Back to TexasEdit
From 1995–1998, Witt had a 36-32 record with Texas. His best season during this timeframe was in 1996, when he finished with a 16-12 record despite having an ERA of 5.41.
On June 30, 1997, he became the first American League pitcher to hit a home run since Roric Harrison on October 3, 1972. His blast was against off Ismael Valdes of the Los Angeles Dodgers in an interleague contest in the top of the sixth inning. The bat with which he hit this home run is now in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
St. Louis CardinalsEdit
During the 1998 season, Witt was traded to St.Louis. He pitched with the Cardinals in 17 games, only 5 as a starter.
Tampa Bay Devil RaysEdit
Witt had one of his worst seasons of his career, going 7-15 with a 5.82 ERA in 32 starts for the Devil Rays.
Due to injury, Witt was limited to just 7 appearances with the Indians, having pitched only 15 innings for the Tribe.
In his last season in the Majors, Witt pitched in 14 games for the D'Backs, 7 as a starter and finished with a 4-1 record for the World Series champion Diamondbacks. His last pitching appearance came in Game 6 of the 2001 World Series. After the season, Witt retired from baseball.
Witt led the league in walks three times and wild pitches twice. Witt retired in 2001 after winning a World Series ring with the Arizona Diamondbacks. His career record is 142–157 with an ERA of 4.83.
- Palmer, Matt, "Rangers roll, trim Wild Card deficit to two: Feldman stifles Orioles for 11th road victory, 15th overall", MLB.com, 9/4/09, accessed 9/4/09
- Ginzburg, David, "Feldman, Cruz lead Rangers over Orioles 5-1", Associated Press, 9/4/09, accessed 9/4/09
- "A's Bobby, Nearly Perfect, Says It's Ump Who Wasn't", Associated Press, 6/24/94, accessed 6/3/10
- 3 Archived February 2, 2007, at the Wayback Machine.