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Bob Wickman used to throw up to make weight with the Yankees

Feb 20, 2012, 12:16 PM EDT

bob wickman yankees

Before becoming as successful closer in his thirties Bob Wickman was a starter and then a middle reliever for the Yankees, debuting at age 23 in 1992.

Later in his career Wickman’s gut expanded significantly, but with the Yankees he was merely chubby (or perhaps even in The Best Shape Of His Life) and general manager Brian Cashman shared a story about how the right-hander used to throw up to meet the weight clause in his contract:

He had weight clauses. My recollection would be is, say, it was on the first and 15th or every five days he had to be a certain weight on a day, in season, when he is trying to pitch out of the bullpen he’s drinking water, sitting in saunas, dieting, doing everything he can to lose weight, maybe even sticking his finger down his throat to make the weight.

Then, all of a sudden, our manager might be asking him that day to pitch the seventh inning. You are not getting the real player at that point. You are getting a worn out, drawn out [player], trying to make a $30,000 bonus or whatever it was at the time. So I believe those things are counter-productive.

Cashman relayed that story in order to explain why the Yankees no longer enforce weight clauses for guys like CC Sabathia or Michael Pineda, but I’m pretty sure the image of a young Bob Wickman throwing up in the bullpen is what most people will remember. Seriously, try not to think about that. Just try.

  1. kiwicricket - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Craig….Treadmill…..weight clause by nbc??

    • jimbo1949 - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:00 PM

      Just gettin’ in shape for free agency.

  2. brewcrewfan54 - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    I’m sure he isn’t the only one who’s done it and wouldn’t be the only guy doing it if he was still playing.

  3. Old Gator - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:51 PM

    Steamin’ Beaman returneth….

  4. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 20, 2012 at 12:52 PM

    Oh good, now I’m imagining bulemic relief pitchers. Thank goodness that clause is dead. Can you imagine if guys like Fernando Valenzuela, Rod Beck or David Wells had such clauses?

  5. randygnyc - Feb 20, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    As a former world class wrestler, I know about how weight loss can ravage the body of strength and stamina. Most 6 minute wrestling matches are fuelded by adrenalin. Cutting serious weight and then pitching for 20-30 minutes would be nearly impossible because the legs are the first to go. Add in the heat of summer, wow. At the very least, we were allowed to rehydrate after weigh-ins and before competition.

    • cleverbob - Feb 20, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      Totally different scenario between trying to cut pounds so that you can compete below your natural, healthy weight class, and asking a ~300 lbs behemoth like Sabathia to take it easy on the pizza…

  6. rob0527 - Feb 20, 2012 at 4:11 PM

    This is why they shouldn’t put weight clauses in contracts. These guys will do anything for money, teams should figure out where certain people pitch at certain weight and go from there.

  7. randygnyc - Feb 20, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Clever, I don’t disagree that overweight baseball players should manage their weight better over long periods of time. But, as it seems, these players failed to do so, so in the end they forced themselves to reduce weight in unnatural ways. Kind of like cramming for a test, the night before.

  8. uscthom78 - Feb 20, 2012 at 7:53 PM

    So one of the most tyrannical organizations (sports or otherwise) forcing their players to the sauna and throw up afterwards to make weight. How SHOCKING!

  9. losangelasbasketball - Feb 20, 2012 at 8:47 PM

    Guessing the weight clause wasnt in effect during babe ruths era?

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