Willard Nixon

Willard Nixon
Nixon in 1953.
Pitcher
Born: (1928-07-17)July 17, 1928
Taylorsville, Georgia
Died: December 10, 2000(2000-12-10) (aged 72)
Rome, Georgia
Batted: Left Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 7, 1950 for the Boston Red Sox
Last MLB appearance
July 4, 1958 for the Boston Red Sox
Career statistics
Win–loss record 69-72
Earned run average 4.39
Strikeouts 616
Teams

Willard Lee Nixon (June 17, 1928 – December 10, 2000) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball who played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox between 1950 and 1958. Listed at 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m),195 lb., Nixon batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He is well-remembered as the "Yankees Killer" for his mastery of the New York Yankees in the 1950s.

A native of Taylorsville, Georgia, Nixon was signed by the Red Sox as a free agent out of the Auburn University. In a nine-season career, he posted a 69–72 record with a 4.39 ERA and 616 strikeouts in 225 appearances, including 177 starts, 51 complete games, nine shutouts, three saves, and 1234.0 innings pitched.

What brought attention to Nixon was his special ability to handle The Yankees. His most productive season came for the 1955 Red Sox, when he finished with a 12-10 mark. Four of those wins came at the expense of the New York team, who scored a combined five runs in the four games. From 1954 to 1955, Nixon beat the Yankees six straight times.

Following his pitching career, Nixon was a Red Sox scout in the early 1960s. Returning to his home in Floyd County, Georgia, he 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. In 1993, he gained induction to the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame.

Nixon died in Rome, Georgia, at age 72.

Sources

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
  • Baseball Almanac
  • Retrosheet
  • Historic Baseball
  • The Deadball Era
  • Georgia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum