Bob Shaw: 1960's Bronx Born Mets Pitcher (1966-1967)

Robert John Shaw was born on June 29, 1933 in the Bronx, New York. The six foot two right hander, attended high school in Garden City Long Island perusing a football career.

He went to St. Lawrence University way upstate in Canton, New York, 50 miles southwest of Montreal. There he changed his mind & decided to play baseball. He was signed as an amateur free agent in 1953 by the Detroit Tigers.

He came up in August 1957 with Detroit allowing a HR to the Chicago White Sox's Walt Droppo in his first appearance. After going 1-2 he was traded to the White Sox the next year. 

White Sox Career: He enjoyed his finest season in 1959 as part of the A.L. Champion "Go Go Sox".

He had the best winning percentage in the league at .750%. He anchored a staff in the middle of Early Wynn (22 -10) & Billy Pierce (14-15) going 18-12 with 2.69 ERA (both third best in the A.L.). He pitched 230 innings with three shutouts & eight complete games.

Shaw learned how to pitch better by watching Hall of Famer Early Wynn. He took Wynn's advice by not using a rosin bag, finding out that he had more control without it. 

In Chicago, he began to dress more fashionable, shopping at better clothing stores where Wynn shopped. More importantly, he also learned how to invest outside of baseball. He bought a commercial property that he would rented out to a doctor.

1959 World Series: In the 1959 World Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Shaw got the start for Game #2 in Chicago. He served up two HRs to Charlie Neam & another to Chuck Essegian, taking the loss. 

He returned to have his finest moment in Game #5. Shaw got the call to pitch with the "Go Go" Sox down three games to one. That night, a record crowd of 92,706 came to L.A. Coliseum to watch a young Sandy Koufax pitch against Bob Shaw. Sandy Koufax still hadn’t developed into being the great pitcher he was to become.

Shaw shut out the Dodgers into the 8th inning & although he only struck out one batter he didn't allow any runs. Shaw got the win beating Koufax 1-0 . The Dodger took the Series win the next night.

Trivia: Shaw had a promotional photo of he & Koufax taken together before the game hanging in
his living room for 47 years, before he finally listened to his wife and asked Koufax to sign it in 2009.

After the World Series: He returned to go 13-13 the next year with a 4.06 ERA as the Sox fell to third place. Shaw would get traded to the Kansas City A’s in an eight player deal midway through 1961.

The next year he went on to the Milwaukee Braves, winning 15 games there posting a 2.80 ERA with 124 strike outs in 38 games (29 starts) making the 1962 All Star team.  

1962 All Star Game: In the All-Star game he earned the save closing out the last two innings, getting his former teammate Luis Aparicio to fly out to end the game.

In 1963 he fell to 7-11 but still posted a 2.66 ERA for the sixth place Braves. On December 1963, He was traded along with Del Crandall & Bob Hendley to the San Francisco Giants for Felipe Alou, Ed Bailey & Billy Hoeft. 

S.F. Giants Career: In 1965 he was 16-9 with a 2.64 ERA, striking out a career high 148 batters for the second place Giants who won 90 games & finished just two games behind the Los Angeles Dodgers. His .640-win loss % was 9th best in the NL. He was second to Juan Marichal on the staff that featured Gaylord Perry & Jack Sanford.

 In 1966 Marichal & Perry were both twenty game winners & Bobby Bolin was the number three man. Shaw was 1-4 with an ERA over six, when on June 10th, 1966, his contract was purchased by the New York Mets.

Mets Career: Shaw was a breath of fresh air for the Mets staff. On June 13th he debuted as a Met at Shea Stadium, beating the St. Louis Cardinals in a complete game two run, five hit effort. 

He went on the road and got a win against the Cincinnati Reds even though he allowed five earned runs. On June 21st, he pitched a four hit, one run complete game in St. Louis against a good Cardinal team, striking out nine batters beating Tracy Stallard.

Four days later in Chicago he pitched another complete game win in a Mets 11-3 victory at Wrigley Field. This was usually unheard of for a Mets pitcher in the mid-sixties. 

Shaw would win his first four Mets starts & five of his first six games.  In July he took three straight losses, then allowed just one earned run in seven innings to the Houston Astros in a July 18th double header. 

On July 31st he out dueled Bill Hands at Wrigley Field for a 2-1 victory, where he allowed just five hits & struck out five. On August he took two losses then had two no decisions in games where he allowed just one & then two earned runs. On August 29th he beat Claude Osteen & the NL Champion Dodgers at Shea Stadium in a complete game 5-3 win.

On September 19th, Shaw threw a four hit, ten inning shutout in Houston to beat the Astros. After He then had a no decision in Cincinnati although he pitched well, allowing just two runs over seven innings. On September 28th, he tossed another shut out, a six hitter at Shea Stadium once again defeating Bill Hands & the Chicago Cubs.

He would finish the season tied for the team lead in wins with Jack Fisher, going 11-10 also tying for the lead in shutouts (2). He posted a 3.92 ERA pitching in 167 innings striking out 104 batters with 42 walks & throwing 11 wild pitches (6th most in the NL). 

He never struck out many batters in his career but did throw a lot of innings.

1967 Season: He started the fourth game of the season and took the loss after getting knocked out in the 5th inning by the Philadelphia Phillies. The season started out terrible as Shaw lost his first three starts and was summoned to the bullpen. He took two more losses in May, falling to 0-5 while running his ERA up to near six before finally getting his first win in June.

On June 3rd, he got a start & beat the Giants at Candlestick Park, allowing just one run on three hits, over 11 innings of work. The next week, two starts later, he threw another shut out, a six hitter against the Reds at Shea Stadium. 

But Shaw would lose four of his next five decisions and had his contract purchased by the Chicago Cubs that July.

Post Mets Career: He ended his career that season after going 0-2 in nine games with the Cubs. 

Career Stats: In an 11 year career, he was 108-98 lifetime with 32 saves, 14 shut outs, 55 complete games, 880 strikeouts, 511 walks and a 3.52 ERA.

Retirement: In the early seventies he was a pitching coach for the Milwaukee Brewers but resigned in 1973 after a difference with upper management.

Shaw had helped Jim Colborn turn into a 13 game winner but GM Jim Wilson blamed Shaw for changing Bill Parsons delivery. Parsons fell from a 13 game winner in 1972 to having only three wins through late July 1973.

After baseball Shaw moved to Jupiter, Florida and became a long time real estate developer for Shaw Soden Realty & Management Properties. He also coached American Legion baseball there in the seventies & eighties.

Passing: Shaw passed away on September 23rd, 2010, in Tequesta, Florida he was 77 years old.


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