Vito Tamulis

From BR Bullpen

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Vitautis Casimirus Tamulis

  • Bats Left, Throws Left
  • Height 5' 9", Weight 170 lb.

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Biographical Information[edit]

Vito Tamulis was born in Cambridge, MA in 1911. He was a prep sensation at Boston English High School, pitching the baseball team to the city championship in 1930. Vito turned down several college scholarship offers and New York Yankees scout Gene McCann signed him shortly before his 19th birthday. He started his way up in the Yankee chain with the Chambersburg Young Yanks of the class D Blue Ridge League, going 6-2 right out of high school in 1930.

In 1931, his second year in professional ball, Vito moved up to the Cumberland Colts of the class C Middle Atlantic League, making the All-Star team with a 15-4 record and a league-leading 1.92 ERA. In the following year, 1932, in a three-team split-season with the Albany Senators of the Eastern League, the Binghamton Triplets of the New York-Pennsylvania League and the Newark Bears of the International League, Vito came up with a combined 20-7 record and a 2.41 ERA (not counting his Newark ERA, presently unavailable).

After another three-team season with Binghampton, Albany and Newark in 1933, going 10-8 with a 5.08 ERA, Vito would spend the 1934 season with the Newark Bears. He would win 13 while losing 7 with a 2.74 ERA and get his first chance at major league hitters when the Yankees would bring him up for a late season debut on September 25, 1934. Vito pitched a seven-hit shutout at Philadelphia against the Athletics. Tamulis would spend the 1935 season with the big league Yankees, winning 10, that included three shutouts, and losing 5 with a 4.09 ERA. He also hit .246/.317/.351. He tied Ted Lyons, Wes Ferrell, Willis Hudlin and Whitey Wilshere for fourth in the 1935 AL in shutouts.

During the following winter, Vito was stricken with pleurisy and missed half the 1936 season. Not fully recovered, he would spend the balance of the season with Newark and still managed a 7-5 record in 96 innings. He would remain with the Newark team in 1937, winning 18 times and losing but 6 with a 3.98 ERA in 190 innings. Those '37 Newark Bears are considered one of the greatest minor league teams ever.

For whatever the reason, Tamulis was then traded by the Yankees to the St. Louis Browns for Harry Davis on December 4, 1937. He immediately went 0-3 for the Browns and on May 20, 1938 he was selected off waivers by the Brooklyn Dodgers from the Browns.

Vito would have three good seasons (1938-1940) with the Ebbets Field team, going 29-19 with a 3.77 ERA. He occasionally surfaced among the league leaders during this time, including a 9th-place finish in the 1939 NL with a 3.09 ERA. On November 11, 1940, he was traded by the Dodgers along with Bill Crouch, Mickey Livingston and $100,000 to the Philadelphia Phillies for Kirby Higbe. Tamulis appeared in 18 games for the Phillies, went 0-1 and on May 6, 1941 the Phillies traded him back to the Dodgers for Lee Grissom. Vito appeared in just 12 games for the 1941 Dodgers with no decisions and was traded to the Southern Association Nashville Vols for Tom Drake and Tommy Tatum to complete his whirlwind year.

Vito finished up the 1941 year with Nashville, going 4-2 with a 4.17 ERA and returned in 1942 to win 20 and lose 8 with a 4.28 ERA, helping his team to the Southern Association and Dixie Series Championships. Vito was also selected to the All-Star team. He would enter the service after the 1942 season, serving three years as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army Air Corps, during World War II. Returning to Nashville after the war, Vito would spend 1946 appearing in 27 games and winning 7 while losing 6 and seemingly left baseball after ten seasons in the game.

After a year off, Vito resurfaced in 1948 at the age of 38 and spent the season as player-manager with the Hopkinsville Hoppers of the class D Kitty League and went 17-3 with a 2.32 ERA while pitching 163 innings. The Hoppers won the league title with an 85-41 record and Vito's ERA would lead the league. He would disappear again for two seasons and return in 1951 as the second of two managers for the Hopkinsville club that finished last in the league with a 41-78 record.

At age 39, Vito finally decided to hang up his spikes. His record shows he spent 12 seasons in pro baseball with six of those years, or parts thereof, in the major leagues where he established a 40-28 record and a 3.97 ERA (101 ERA+) while appearing in 170 games. In the minors, Vito would post an outstanding 142-61 record, appearing in 291 games and pitching 1,764 innings.

Managerical Record
Year Team League F W-L Pct GB Manager
1948 Hopkinsville Kitty 1 85-41 .675 - Vito Tamulis
1951 Hopkinsville Kitty 8 41-78 .345 32 Steve Carter / Vito Tamulis

After baseball, Vitautris Casimirus Tamulis worked for a beer distributor in Nashville, TN until his death at the age of 63, on May 5, 1974, at the Veteran's Hospital in Nashville, TN.

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