Bill Tuttle was born on Thursday, July 4, 1929, in Elmwood, Illinois. Tuttle was 23 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 10, 1952, with the Detroit Tigers. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Bill Tuttle baseball stats page.
Bill Tuttle Autograph on a 1961 Topps Baseball Card (#536 | Checklist )
Bill Tuttle Pitching Stats
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Bill Tuttle Hitting Stats
Bill Tuttle Fielding Stats
Bill Tuttle Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Bill Tuttle Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1952 Detroit Tigers||19||Undetermined||-||-|
|1954 Detroit Tigers||17||Undetermined||-||-|
|1955 Detroit Tigers||5||Undetermined||-||-|
|1956 Detroit Tigers||5 , 13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1957 Detroit Tigers||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1958 Kansas City Athletics||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1959 Kansas City Athletics||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1960 Kansas City Athletics||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1961 Kansas City Athletics||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1961 Minnesota Twins||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1962 Minnesota Twins||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|1963 Minnesota Twins||13||Undetermined||-||-|
|Bill Tuttle Stats by Baseball Almanac|
William Robert Tuttle was a Major League Baseball player with the Detroit Tigers (1952, 1954-1957), Kansas City Athletics (1958-1961), and Minnesota Twins (1961-1963). Bill, his nickname, was widely considered one of the top defensive center fielders in the game , leading the American League in putouts in 1955, 1960, assists in 1955, 1956, 1958, 1959, 1960, and double plays turned in 1958 and 1960!
Bill Tuttle Rookie Card | 1963 Topps Traded Baseball Card (#127 | Checklist )
Baseball Almanac Collection
Did you know that Bill Tuttle, pictured above with chewing tobacco in his cheek, developed oral cancer prior to his death, helped raise awareness to the issue after his playing career, and is partly responsible for The Topps Company not using images on their cards that include tobacco products? A USA Today Baseball Weekly article (Bill Koenig, A painful portrait , 06/06/1996) shared the following details:
Former player preachers evils of cancer-causing chewing tobacco
It was so quiet in the Toronto Blue Jays' clubhouse, you could have heard a resin bag drop.
Erik Hanson sat at his locker, staring straight ahead.
A few others were sprawled out on the carpeted floor.
The players were mesmerized by a guest whose talk had nothing to do with scouting reports or news from the labor front.
He was former major league outfielder Bill Tuttle. His face was slightly discolored. His right cheekbone seemed curiously higher than normal. His jaw slacked a bit - but he wasn't complaining.
In fact, he could have been a GQ cover subject compared with the way he looked a year earlier.
Tuttle, 66, has had five major operations and has gone through two years of therapy in his fight against oral cancer. He says he brought on the disease himself by four decades of chewing tobacco.
It cost him his cheekbone, his appearance, his teeth, his tastebuds, his appetite and part of his hearing, but not his dignity nor his desire to help others.
He has become a crusader for the National Spit Tobacco Education Program (NSTEP), making the rounds to warn current players of the consequences. He is usually accompanied by his wife, Gloria, and longtime friend, Joe Garagiola , NSTEP national chairman.Last year, Tuttle received the U.S. surgeon general's highest award, the Exemplary Service Medallion, for his work.
''I chewed for 40 years and I didn't know anything about what could happen,'' he said. ''I'm blessed. I just saw the doctor, and he told me I'm clean. This is the best I've looked and felt in two years. I guess I was destined to come down here and talk to you. But I could get it again tomorrow.''
Tuttle, who played with Detroit, Kansas City and Minnesota from 1952 to 1963, admits he used to chew 10-12 hours a day.
''It's a powerful addiction,'' he said. ''I miss it right now. If they assured me I had a 100% chance of not getting cancer again, I'd have some chew in my mouth tomorrow.''
Tuttle never had a problem until the fall of 1993, when he developed a sore in his mouth. His doctor took a biopsy and it came back positive.
''I always chewed on the left side of my mouth,'' Tuttle said. ''I asked the doc how I got cancer on my right side. He told me the saliva swishes the nicotine around.''
Surgeons at the University of Minnesota Medical Center, near Tuttle's hometown of Anoka, Minn., told him the operation probably would take 2 hours to cut out ``a little piece'' of his mouth.
''That little piece turned into the biggest tumor the doctor said he ever took out of someone's mouth,'' Tuttle said.
The reconstructive surgery, on Nov. 11, 1993, lasted 13 hours. Skin from his neck was used to replace his cheek, which was riddled with cancer. Then, two slabs of skin were transplanted from his chest up to his neck. Arm nerves had to be severed, and today Tuttle can't raise his right arm straight up or open a bottle of ketchup.
That operation was just a warmup. Six weeks later, the cancer returned.
In an operation a year later, surgeons rotated part of his skull 180 degrees, creating an ersatz cheekbone. Then they transplanted muscles from his leg to hold the thing up like a rubber band.
Tuttle was so disfigured, some of his seven grandchildren didn't want to go into his room to look at him.
Last year, they found more cancer in the back of Tuttle's mouth. More radiation. More chemotherapy.
For four months, he couldn't swallow. A tube-like siphon had to be inserted into his nose.
''I'd try to drink water,'' he explained, ``and it all ran back out my nose. And I had to sleep in a chair because I couldn't breathe if I laid down flat.''
One night he tried it anyway. An hour later, he awoke gasping for breath. He pounded on a wall, to awaken his wife who was sleeping in another room. They called 911 and help came - with not a minute to spare.
All this pain and suffering because of a big wad of tobacco in his cheek. Remember your baseball cards from the '50s? They all looked like that then. Tuttle, Nellie Fox - and Harvey Kuenn , the teammate in Detroit who inadvertently gave Tuttle his first chew.
''We're certainly not blaming Harvey Kuenn ,'' Gloria Tuttle said, ''but if Bill hadn't taken that first chew, we wouldn't be here today.''
The Scared Straight approach seems to be working.
''It was a very powerful message,'' said Nixon , who chewed for years until he stopped cold-turkey in 1991.
No Blue Jays player was more affected than pitcher Bill Risley .
One of the heaviest users of smokeless tobacco on the team, he even had a dip of Copenhagen in his mouth when Tuttle began to speak.
''I took it out about halfway through,'' Risley said. ``Luckily, I was in the back of the room. I didn't want anybody to see me.''
Risley , who vowed to get help, said he goes through a can and a half of Copenhagen each day.
''I'm up at 7:15 in the morning, take a shower, then put some dip in,'' he admitted. ''I don't even eat breakfast. That is my breakfast.
''I quit drinking six years ago. This stuff is much tougher (to quit) than alcohol. I get very cranky if I go two hours without it. I've tried to stop. The longest I've gone is a week.''
Garagiola said baseball has to eliminate tobacco use, but it can't be legislated or ordered out. It must be each player's personal choice.
"I've yet to have a player give me a good reason why he chews or dips,'' said Garagiola , who chewed leaf tobacco when he caught for the Cardinals and Pirates in the 1950s.
''It's either a macho thing or peer pressure. People have made tobacco a part of baseball, but tobacco isn't a baseball tradition. Cancer isn't a baseball tradition.''
Garagiola said he has a friend, a dentist, who counted 43 baseball cards either with the player chewing tobacco or a can of dip clearly showing in the players' pant pockets. The friend sent an angry letter to the card companies to complain.
And at least one card company, Topps, is now trying to avoid depicting players with chewing tobacco.
''Our first priority is to find photos where no tobacco appears,'' Topps spokesman Marty Appel said. ''Failing that, we will make an attempt to airbrush it out or masquerade it. Like it or not, these players are role models.''
Topps already has begun its new policy.
''No tobacco appears on Lenny Dykstra's card this year,'' Appel said.
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Last-Modified: November 27, 2019 5:27 AM EST