Friday, September 08, 2006

September 8th, 1913

Slick Castleman Born

No, he wasn't one of the minor characters in Saturday Night Fever, "Slick" Castleman (born Clydell Castleman; I'd get a nickname too) was a pitcher in the 1930s for the Giants. Castleman debuted as a twenty year-old in 1934, appearing in seven games--one start--and finishing the year 1-0 albeit with a gruesome 5.40 ERA. The next year, at just age twenty-one, Castleman won fifteen game (good for third on the team) and with just six losses "Slick" was also third in the NL in winning percentage. His best year came in 1937, although Castleman won just eleven games he ranked in the NL top ten in WHIP, BB/9 and strikeout-to-walk ratio.

1937 also represented Castleman's last truly effective year, perhaps his high inning totals, more than four hundred and fifty before age twenty-four, did him in but he was out of baseball by 1940 and threw only one-hundred twenty-four and a third inning in '38 and '39 combined. A native of Tennessee, Castleman died in Nashville in 1998.

Finally, the nickname. As sometimes happens, this is a nickname where one can guess the origin. Castleman was known for being a tidy and clean guy in the clubhouse, and stylish dresser when not in uniform. From his--logically enough--"Slick" was born.

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