December 26, 2009 - Arthur Bobby Lee Darwin, a 6’2” right handed pitcher was signed by the Los Angeles Angels as a free agent prior to the 1962 season. He started his career in 1962 in San Jose, playing “C” ball where he was 11-6 with a 4.12 ERA in 153 innings giving up only 123 hits, but control was not Bobby’s strong suit as he also walked 149 batters in those 153 innings. Never the less, the Angels called up Darwin to start a game late in 1962 against the Cleveland Indians. With only 26 games of minor league ball under his belt, Darwin started the second game of a double header at Cleveland stadium. It was a tough start for Bobby, he lasted just 3.1 innings giving up 8 hits, 4 walks, and 6 runs, 4 of them earned and he ended up taking the loss. Little did Darwin know at the time, but he would not step foot in another major league game for a long time. In 1963 Darwin was waived by the Angels and picked up by the Baltimore Orioles where he toiled in the minors from 1963 through 1968. In 1966 Darwin also had elbow surgery and he was never quite the same pitcher after that. The Los Angeles Dodgers however; still saw something they liked in Darwin and drafted him in the Rule 5 draft in December of 1968. Darwin started the 1969 season with the Dodgers but was ineffective and appeared in only 3 games before being sent back down to the minors. Ready to give baseball, Darwin was asked by a former manager to give up on pitching and to try his luck as a position player. So in 1970 at the age of 27 it was back to single “A” ball and Darwin was working to fight his way back to the major leagues, this time as a hitter. In 1971 the Dodgers called Darwin up for a month or so but he only appeared in 11 games getting 20 at bats while hitting .250 with one home run but the real problem was his 9 strikeouts so he was shipped back to the minors.
It was after the 1971 season that things looked up for Bobby, he found out that he had been traded by the Dodgers to the Minnesota Twins who just happened to be managed at that time by Bill Rigney who was also the Angels manager when Darwin got his first taste of the big leagues, only back then, he was a pitcher. In his first year in Minnesota in 1972, Darwin wins a starting outfield job, hits 22 home runs, (second only to Harmon Killebrew) and he knocks in a team leading 80 RBI’s while hitting .267 but he strikes out a league leading 145 times. In 1973 Darwin hits 18 home runs, knocks in 90, while hitting .252 and again leading the league in strikeouts with 137. In 1974 he hits a career high 25 home runs and knocks in 94 more with an average of .264 but once again he leads the league in strikeouts with 127.The following season, 1975, Darwin struggles along with a .219 average with just 5 home runs in almost 200 at bats and the Twins decide that they have seen enough and they trade Darwin to the Milwaukee Brewers for Johnny Briggs. Darwin’s stay in Milwaukee lasts less than one year before they send him on his way to the Boston Red Sox. Bobby’s stay in Boston is less than a year before they too send him packing, this time to the Chicago Cubs. Darwin gets only a dozen at bats in Chicago before they release him and end Bobby Darwin’s big league career. During his 9 seasons in the majors, Darwin had a 0-1 record with a 10.29 ERA in 7 innings with 6 strikeouts. As a hitter, in 2,224 at bats, Darwin had 83 home runs, 328 RBI’s, 15 steals and a .241 batting average. Not Hall of Fame numbers to be sure but still some decent numbers for a player with an interesting career that started out as a pitcher and turned position player at the age of 27. The man could hit the ball a mile when he connected, but those dang pitchers kept throwing him that danged curve ball.