Leavitt “Bud” Daley overcame some pretty incredible odds to become an All Star pitcher in the big leagues. When Daley was born on October 7, 1932 in Orange, CA. his right hand was permanently injured during a difficult delivery. Daley grew up hiding it well, especially on a baseball field. The only sign of problems with the hand was that he was forced to wear his baseball glove at an odd angle.
The Cleveland Indians signed Daley in 1951, when he was 19-years-old. After several trials with the Indians, Daley was traded to the Baltimore Orioles on April Fool’s Day in 1958 along with Gene Woodling and Dick Williams for Larry Doby. Two weeks later, Baltimore dealt Daley to Kansas City. The A’s gave him a spot in their 1959 starting rotation and he responded by winning 16 games in each of the next two seasons and becoming a two-time All Star. The Yankees traded for the southpaw two years later and he became a starter-reliever for the legendary 1961 Bronx Bomber team. Even though he finished that year with a lackluster 8-9 record, Yankee Manager Ralph Houk claimed Daley was a valuable, unsung hero of that great squad.
Perhaps his most important contribution during that season came during the September 1st opener of a three-game series against second-place Detroit. At the time, the Tigers were just two-and-a-half games in back of New York and could have taken over first place with a sweep of the three-game set. Houk put Daley in the scoreless game when starter Whitey Ford tired. He pitched three plus innings of scoreless relief before handing the ball to closer Luis Arroryo and the Yankees prevailed 1-0 and went on to sweep the three games. Daley then came on in relief of the Ralph Terry in the third inning of that year’s fifth and final World Series game against Cincinnati and pitched the final six innings to earn the win. Daley went on to win seven games and save four more for the 1962 Yankees, his best year in pinstripes. He injured his arm during the 1964 season and his big league career was over at the age of 31.
|NYY (4 yrs)||18||16||.529||3.89||80||26||19||7||0||6||271.0||271||129||117||28||97||154||1.358|
|KCA (4 yrs)||39||39||.500||3.93||118||79||13||28||3||2||581.2||597||294||254||62||199||326||1.368|
|CLE (3 yrs)||3||9||.250||4.87||50||11||16||1||0||2||114.2||130||79||62||9||55||69||1.613|