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1963 Dodgers Week 10: Nick Willhite’s sparkling debut

Dodgers left-hander Nick Willhite pitched a shutout in his major league debut, on June 16, 1963 against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Here is his 1966 Topps baseball card.
Dodgers left-hander Nick Willhite pitched a shutout in his major league debut, on June 16, 1963 against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium. Here is his 1966 Topps baseball card.

Sixty years ago this week, the 1963 Dodgers split their eight games at home to fall out of first place in the tightly-packed National League.

The offense was led by a few injury-plagued players hitting their stride, and the pitching staff got a shot in the arm from a new face.

Batter of the week

1963 NL average leaders

Player Team Avg
Player Team Avg
Tommy Davis Dodgers .339
Maury Wills Dodgers .337
Dick Groat Pirates .333
Bill White Cardinals .330
through June 16, 1963

After missing 11 games with a toe injury, Maury Wills came back like a house afire the previous week, then was even better once the Dodgers returned home. Wills had five multi-hit games, extended his hitting streak to 13 games, and during the week had 18 hits in 33 at-bats.

When he returned from injury, Wills was hitting .252 on the season. Two weeks later, he’s hitting .337.

Honorable mention goes to Tommy Davis, who had five multi-hit games of his own, hitting .387 with a .910 OPS. Davis is hitting .339 on the season, first in the National League in batting average, with Wills second.

Pitcher of the week

The Dodgers called up 22-year-old left-hander Nick Willhite from Triple-A Spokane on Wednesday, and he debuted in the second game of Sunday’s doubleheader by blanking the Cubs at Dodger Stadium, allowing only five hits and a walk with six strikeouts. Willhite was the fourth Dodgers pitcher with a shutout in his major league debut.

Willhite was the second Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher to start and win his major league debut, a list that grew to 13 pitchers in 2023 on May 23 when Bobby Miller beat the Braves.

The back of Nick Willhite’s 1966 Topps baseball card denotes his shutout in his major league debut, on June 16, 1963 against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium.
The back of Nick Willhite’s 1966 Topps baseball card denotes his shutout in his major league debut, on June 16, 1963 against the Cubs at Dodger Stadium.

Week 10 results

4-4 record
25 runs scored (3.13 per game)
24 runs allowed (3.00 per game)
.519 pythagorean win percentage

Year to date

36-27-1 record
256 runs scored (4.00 per game)
226 runs allowed (3.53 per game)
.557 pythagorean win percentage (35-28)

Miscellany

Roster move: To make room for Willhite, the Dodgers optioned Pete Richert to Spokane. The second-year left-hander had a 6.84 ERA in a swingman role, allowing 20 runs on 31 hits and 12 walks in 25 innings, with 17 strikeouts, in four starts and five relief appearances.

Home cooking: Sandy Koufax stymied the Colt .45s on Thursday at home, striking out 10, pitching his fifth shutout in 14 starts this season. Four of those shutouts have come at Dodger Stadium, where in six starts this season the left-hander has allowed two runs in 54⅔ innings, a 0.33 ERA with 50 strikeouts.

Game results

1963 Week 10 batting

Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Player AB R H 2B HR RBI SB BB PA BA OBP SLG OPS
Wills 33 5 18 1 0 2 1 1 34 0.545 0.559 0.576 1.135
T.Davis 31 5 12 1 1 5 0 1 33 0.387 0.394 0.516 0.910
Moon 25 3 9 2 0 3 0 2 29 0.360 0.393 0.440 0.833
Tracewski 19 3 4 0 1 2 0 1 20 0.211 0.250 0.474 0.724
W.Davis 27 2 8 0 0 4 0 0 27 0.296 0.296 0.296 0.593
Fairly 29 4 7 1 0 3 1 3 33 0.241 0.303 0.276 0.579
Roseboro 24 1 5 0 0 2 0 2 27 0.208 0.259 0.208 0.468
Gilliam 23 1 2 0 0 0 2 2 26 0.087 0.160 0.087 0.247
Starters 211 24 65 5 2 21 4 12 229 0.308 0.339 0.370 0.709
Oliver 8 1 3 0 0 0 0 0 8 0.375 0.375 0.375 0.750
Skowron 6 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 6 0.333 0.333 0.333 0.667
Walls 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 4 0.000 0.250 0.000 0.250
Howard 9 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 9 0.111 0.111 0.111 0.222
Camilli 3 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 3 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Zimmer 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 0.000 0.000
Bench 30 1 6 0 0 2 0 1 31 0.200 0.226 0.200 0.426
Pitchers 18 0 2 0 0 1 0 0 20 0.111 0.111 0.111 0.222
Offense 259 25 73 5 2 24 4 13 280 0.282 0.312 0.332 0.644

1963 Week 10 pitching

Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Pitcher G Record IP H R ER BB SO ERA WHIP FIP
Willhite 1 1-0 9.0 5 0 0 1 6 0.00 0.667 1.63
Koufax 1 1-0 9.0 3 0 0 2 10 0.00 0.556 1.41
Drysdale 2 1-1 17.0 14 4 4 0 11 2.12 0.824 2.10
Miller 2 0-1 12.7 14 6 6 5 11 4.26 1.500 3.89
Podres 2 1-1 9.7 14 6 6 1 9 5.59 1.552 2.42
Starters 8 4-3 57.3 50 16 16 9 47 2.51 1.029 2.37
Scott 1 0-0 1.0 0 0 0 0 2 0.00 0.000 -1.37
Roebuck 2 0-0 5.0 6 1 1 0 4 1.80 1.200 1.63
Perranoski 3 0-1 3.3 3 1 1 5 2 2.70 2.400 8.03
Sherry 1 0-0 2.0 2 1 1 0 1 4.50 1.000 8.13
Calmus 1 0-0 3.0 4 2 2 2 1 6.00 2.000 3.96
Richert 1 0-0 0.3 2 3 3 2 0 81.00 12.000 59.63
Bullpen 9 0-1 14.7 17 8 8 9 10 4.91 1.773 5.56
Totals 17 4-4 72.0 67 24 24 18 57 3.00 1.181 3.02

Previous 1963 reviews: Snider to Mets | Nate Oliver | Week 1 | Week 2 | Week 3 | Week 4 | Week 5 | Week 6 | Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9

The week ahead

The Dodgers are back on the road this week, running the Bob Nieman gauntlet through San Francisco and St. Louis. The Dodgers begin the week in third place in the National League, but just one game back of the Giants, with the Cardinals in between them both only a half-game out.