Bill Edgerton

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William Albert Edgerton

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Biographical Information[edit]

Bill Edgerton pitched three seasons in the majors. He was with the Kansas City Athletics during their last two years in Kansas City, MO before they moved to Oakland in 1968, and returned to the big leagues in 1969 with the Seattle Pilots during their only year in Seattle, WA before moving to Milwaukee in 1970.

Signed by the New York Mets to a conditional contract, Bill pitched for half a season in the minors and then was released, as the Mets would have been required to pay him a bonus after that point.[1] The Mets then attempted to re-sign him, but Edgerton chose to sign with Kansas City, in whose organization he spent the rest of 1963 and 1964 to 1967. He was briefly a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1965, after being claimed on waivers in February, but the Athletics re-acquired him before the start of the season when he failed to make the Indians out of spring training. He went 13-11 for Lewiston in 1964 (and hit three homers for the team) and 17-4 for Mobile in 1966. He might have won 20 games for Mobile, but the Athletics ordered manager John McNamara to stop pitching him, choosing to rest Edgerton before his planned September call-up, in which he went 0-1, 3.24 in 6 games.

In 1967, he pitched 7 times in relief for Kansas City, earning his only career win against no losses and posting a solid 2.16 ERA. That win came in the second game of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers on June 17th; he had already pitched briefly in the first game, but the nitecap became a marathon, and he was called to the mound to spell Diego Segui with two outs in the 18th inning and the potential winning run on second base; he retired Jim Northrup on a groundout to end the inning, then Dave Duncan hit a solo homer to lead off the top of the 19th inning, and he pitched a scoreless frame to seal the 6-5 win. He was sent down after making one more appearance and spent the remainder of the season with the Vancouver Mounties of the Pacific Coast League, going only 5-9, 4.03. After the season, he was selected by the California Angels in the minor league draft.

He became primarily a reliever in 1968, having worked as a starter in the minor leagues before that. He pitched that season in the organizations of the Angels and Philadelphia Phillies, with whom he ended up in mid-season. Altogether he went 1-5, 3.98, for two PCL teams. He was then back with Vancouver in 1969, which was now the shared AAA affiliate of two expansion teams, the Pilots and Montreal Expos, having been acquired by the Pilots before the start of the year. He pitched four times with Seattle in April, his last major league appearances, picking up a loss and posting a 13.50 ERA. With Vancouver, he was 2-3, 3.00 in 30 games, and he finished the year on loan to the Rochester Red Wings, in the Baltimore Orioles' organization, going 3-2, 4.50 in 10 games.

With the Pilots having become the Brewers in 1970, he spent the season with the team's AAA affiliate, the Portland Beavers, where he went 3-3, 3.76 in 37 games. The Brewers were not bursting with talent, but they did not seem to have room in the major leagues for the veteran AAA reliever. In 1971, the Brewers moved their AAA team closer to home, and Edgerton went along, starting the year with the Evansville Triplets in the American Association. Any thoughts of returning to the big leagues disappeared when he went 2-0 but with a 7.33 ERA over his first 12 appearances. He was released and gave it a last shot back in AAA with the Spokane Indians, in the Los Angeles Dodgers system, but was 0-2, 5.85, and retired, having clearly reached the end of the line. For his big league career, he had gone 1-2, 4.79 in 17 appearances over three seasons, making only one start and pitching 20 2/3 innings.

After baseball he worked at a manufacturing plant in his hometown of South Bend, IN.

Although Edgerton would not qualify for a major league pension according to the rules of his time, which required four years' worth of service time, a 1979 revision lowered the requirement for the lowest amount of payment ($625/month, which is $10,000/year) to 43 days on the roster and at least one game appearance. Yet Edgerton remains one of over 900 former players active between 1947 and 1979 who do not receive benefits, which Major League Baseball has chosen not to make retroactive. Others familiar names in that group include former #1 overall pick David Clyde; Pat Darcy, who gave up Carlton Fisk's famous home run in the 1975 World Series; and Jimmy Qualls, who spoiled Tom Seaver's 1969 bid for a perfect game. Although MLB now pays partial annuities to most of the players in this class - similar to what they pay to certain players from before the 1947 establishment of the pension -, the use of a sliding scale ensures that none of them make even the $10,000/year minimum (as a point of comparison, the current average pension is over $30,000/year) and the annuities do not come with the health insurance or survivor benefits that the pension plan includes.[2]

But Edgerton is not even receiving the annuity. In 2012, he told the South Bend Tribune, "I have not received a cent. I was told I didn't have my paperwork in. That's a lie. It was in plenty of time (according to the parameters of the contract). I just can't get an answer."

Edgerton currently resides in Foley, AL.


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