Willard Nixon always seemed a little sad. I’m not sure why. I mean, the guy was known as a – perhaps “the” – Yankee killer. In 1955, for example, a quarter of his 12 wins were against the Yankees. The Evil Empire only scored four runs in five games against him. If that’s not enough to make someone happy, I’m not sure what is. C’mon, Willard, you are one special guy!
Things seem to have started out just fine. This is Willard’s rookie card, a 1951 Bowman.
1952, another good year. Willard got 14 starts, won seven, and got that pesky ERA down under 5.00. Keep smilin', bud!
1953. I have no idea what happened. Something traumatic though. Something that obviously scarred him for life. There’ll be no more smiles for Willard Nixon from here on out.
1954. Still glum. Almost a little angry perhaps.
1955. Maybe he’s just glaring at the batter.
1956. Man, what happened to this guy four years ago? Did somebody shoot his dog?
Here we’ve got Willard’s best year yet. 12-10 record, respectable 4.07 ERA, and career bests in starts and innings. C’mon, dude, lighten up a little.
1957. Hopefully, he’s glaring at the batter again. A little fall-off, stats-wise, but still just fine.
1958. Probably his best year ever. 12-13, 3.69 ERA, just short of 200 innings and 100 strikeouts. You’d never know it from this sad-sack mug, though, would ya?
1959. Well, well. It looks like things are finally looking up for Willard Nixon.
Wouldn’t you know though. It’s his last year in the bigs. It’s also a year that would put a depressed look on anybody else’s face. I’m talking 1-7 record, 6.02 ERA, and a mere 15 strikeouts in 43 innings.
After a year like that, it’s back to
Floyd County, . There, according to Wikipedia, Nixon “worked as a purchasing agent for Pepperell Mills, was a county court investigator and the county chief of police, and also served as transportation director for the county school system.” Georgia
Now, there’s something to get excited about. Heck, maybe this guy just plain didn’t like baseball. Y'know what I mean? Sheesh!
* - author has this card