Dick Such’s Hard-Luck Season: Going 0-16 for the York (PA) White Roses

This article was written by Barry Sparks

This article was published in Fall 2023 Baseball Research Journal

Dick Such


When he stepped on the mound at Municipal Stadium to face the hometown Waterbury Giants on September 3, 1967, Dick Such of the York White Roses carried the burden of an 0–16 record. It was his last chance that season to snap his winless streak. The 6-foot-4 right-hander got off to a rocky start as Bobby Bonds crashed a two-run homer in the bottom of the first inning and Francis DeGold slammed a solo shot in the second.

Trailing 3–0 after two innings, a dejected Such walked off the mound and took a seat in the dugout. Completing his shortest stint of the season, he had no chance of earning a win. He received a no-decision because his teammates staged a rare late-inning rally and downed Waterbury, 6–3.

The dismal season and his 0–16 record, however, were hardly his fault. Such compiled a respectable 2.81 ERA and lost eight games when the White Roses, a Class AA affiliate of the Washington Senators, were shut out. As a whole, the team went 43–95. His season of futility is unmatched in the history of the Eastern League, which dates back to 1923.1 Looking at the severity of the streak, few might predict that Such would make the major leagues and serve nearly 20 years as a major league pitching coach.

Such—a Sanford, NC, native—was drafted by the Senators in the eighth-round of the January secondary draft in 1966, and went 6–8 in 14 starts for the Burlington Senators of the Carolina League (A). The following year he was moved up to York, and despite serving a two-week stint in the National Guard, he started a team-high 20 games. He registered eight complete games (tied for first on the team) and hurled 128 innings. A lack of control hurt him—he issued 70 walks and hit 10 batters while striking out but nearly every other pitching stat other than his won-loss record had improved from the previous season (Table 1).


Dick Such stats


Washington, perhaps recognizing Such’s record was deceiving, called him up after the Eastern League season ended. Although he never got into a game, he said it was a thrill to sit in the bullpen, warm up, and meet manager Gil Hodges, pitching coach Rube Walker, and slugger Frank Howard. “The call-up was a message from the Senators that they believed in me,” said the 79-year-old Such in a phone interview from his home in Sanford. “Mentally, it had been an excruciating year for me. The call-up boosted my confidence.”

Washington Post reporter William Gildea interviewed Such late in the 1967 season and described him as “good natured and not depressed. He’s not chain-smoking or staying awake at night. He’s a hard worker with a dogged resolution and no illusions.”3

A York sportswriter observed, “Such has a million-dollar arm, but his luck isn’t worth two cents.”4 Such was a victim of both bad luck and ineptness. The 1967 York White Roses were a minor league version of the infamous 1962 New York Mets. The club, which finished more than 30 games behind Elmira in the Western Division of the Eastern League, couldn’t hit or field. The infield was a porous mess. White Rose shortstops committed 43 errors, while the team muffed 188 chances for a .962 fielding average.

The club’s lack of offensive punch bordered on incredible. York was shut out 29 times, including being no-hit on four occasions. The team batting average was a puny .217. First baseman Joe Klein led the team with a .268 average and was one of only two position players to bat .250 or better. Dick Billings and Brant Alyea were the top RBI men with just 34 each. The club knocked more triples than home runs (30 to 27).

York’s cavernous Memorial Stadium definitely favored pitchers. Left field was 375 feet (with a 24-foot high fence), center field measured 440 feet, and right field was 335. The White Roses managed just five four-baggers at home, all to right field.

The club featured future Washington Senators outfielders Del Unser, Brant Alyea, and Barry Shetrone, catcher Dick Billings and pitcher Bill Gogolewski.

When asked about his hard-luck season, Such said, “It’s gotten so bad it’s amusing. We hit, but right at people. When we get a couple runners on and need a timely hit, we never get it. I know the guys behind me aren’t trying to make errors. It’s amazing how a team can be so unlucky.”5

In a 1970 interview during spring training with the Senators, Such admitted he developed a losing attitude about midway through his season in York. “It took about a year or so to realize that the mental approach to baseball is as important as the physical,” he said.6

Warren Hamilton of York was one of the few die-hard White Roses fans in 1967. (Attendance totalled only 27,826, averaging 400 fans per game.) In 2004 he recalled, “Such was an excellent pitcher. He was one of the better pitchers on York’s staff. He was considered potentially as good as Dick Bosman or Joe Coleman, Jr., who went on to enjoy a fair amount of success with the Senators.”7

Despite the mounting losses, Hamilton never remembered Such getting upset on the mound or in the clubhouse. Hamilton became friends with several Senators during their stints in York, occasionally visiting them in the clubhouse at DC Stadium. Through his trips to Washington, he also got to know Senators manager Gil Hodges. “Hodges was following Such and I tried to keep him informed,” said Hamilton. “After one of Such’s late-season 1–0 losses, I called Hodges at his hotel in New York and told him that Such had lost again. Hodges was disappointed that he didn’t snap his losing streak. Everyone was rooting for Such.”8

How unlucky was Such?

The White Roses were shut out eight times in his 20 starts. He lost four 1–0 games and another game by a 2–1 score.

Here are some details of Such’s hard-luck season:

  • May 14 – Loses 1–0 at Waterbury as the Giants score a run in the bottom of the ninth inning on a single, stolen base, and a single. Such surrendered just three hits going into the ninth.
  • June 4 – Leaves the game against Pawtucket after 11.1 innings with two men on and two outs and the score tied, 2–2. Reliever Dick Bates uncorks a wild pitch, allowing the go-ahead run to score. A single plates an insurance run.
  • June 9 – Loses 1–0 against Elmira on back-to-back doubles in the sixth inning.
  • June 13 – Loses to Williamsport, 3–1. The game was tied 1–1 going into the top of the eighth. A single, sacrifice fly, and a single snapped the tie. The third run scored on two errors.
  • June 27 – Carries a three-hitter and a 1–0 lead into the eighth inning at Waterbury. Jose Morales, Waterbury’s 1966 home-run leader, clouts a solo shot to tie the game. Such leaves in the top of the ninth for a pinch-hitter. York goes on to lose 2–1 in 10 innings.
  • July 5 – Loses 1–0 against Pittsfield. Such gives up the lone run in the first inning on a walk, double, and single.
  • August 4 – Hooks up in a scoreless pitching duel with Williamsport’s Gary Gentry. Such pitches shutout ball for 8.1 innings, surrendering just three hits, before tiring and being relieved by Gene Baker. York scores the game’s only run in the top of the 11th inning on a walk and a two-out triple. Gentry goes the distance for Williamsport, allowing four hits, three walks and fanning 11.
  • August 10 – Gives up two runs in the second inning against Reading on a double, single, and two errors. Loses 2–1.
  • August 16 – Limits Waterbury to four hits in eight innings but three of them come in the seventh inning when the Giants score two runs. Such loses, 2–0.
  • August 28 – Loses 1–0 at Binghamton. The only run was a man he walked, who stole and then was singled home.
  • September 3 – Surrenders two home runs and leaves the game trailing 3–0 after two innings, his shortest stint of the season. Down 3–2 entering the ninth inning, York stages one of its rare late-inning rallies, plating four runs to secure a 6–3 win…for reliever Rube Toppin.

Such tried to convince himself he was a good athlete, despite his record. “I felt like I was a winner, and if I gave it my best every time out, eventually good things would happen. My record wasn’t good, but my numbers were okay, so you just find all the positives you can and move on. I had to learn that.”9

Washington called Such up to the major leagues in September, then after never getting into a game, he finished out the year in the Florida Instructional League, where he went 0–2.

Washington kept a close eye on Such in 1968 as he pitched for Class A Burlington in the Carolina League, posting a 10–17 mark with a 3.47 ERA. The following season, he pitched for Class AAA Buffalo in the International League, Class AA Savannah in the Southern League, and in the Florida Instructional League.

The Senators invited Such to spring training in 1970. The tall right-hander admitted he had spent the previous two seasons trying to shake off the negative effects of his 0–16 season at York. During that spring training, Such demonstrated the potential to help the Senators’ pitching staff and made the opening day roster. Manager Ted Williams wasted little time using him. Such hurled the eighth and ninth innings against the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day, April 6, in Washington. The rookie didn’t allow a hit while surrendering three walks and fanning three.

Such recorded his only major league win in a four-inning relief stint against the Milwaukee Brewers on April 28. He pitched the best game of his major league career on May 21 against the New York Yankees in Yankee Stadium. He started the game, pitched six innings and surrendered just two hits, one of them Danny Cater’s two-run homer. The Senators lost, 2–0.

Such was 1–5 with a 7.56 ERA when the Senators shipped the 25-year-old to Class AAA Denver in late July. Recalling the 1970 season with the Senators, Such said, “I enjoyed my short time in Washington. I got to meet President Nixon, who said he had been reading about me during spring training, and Ted Williams was my manager. I have a lot of good memories.”10

While on the mound in Denver, he heard something pop in his elbow and his pitching arm was never the same. He hurled three more disappointing seasons before he ended his career in 1974 after three pinch-hitting appearances for the Class AA Pittsfield Rangers in the Eastern League.

Table 2


York’s five-year affiliation with Washington, from 1963 through 1967, was marked by a lot of bad baseball and fan apathy. The York White Roses compiled an overall Eastern League record of 29–406 (.417 winning average), never posting a .500 season. Their best mark was 67–72 in 1965 when they finished third. In five seasons, the White Roses finished an average of 24 games out of first place.

Here are the team’s records, finish, games out of first place, and attendance:

York Senators annual records

Consider that a sold-out game at Nationals Park (capacity 41,546) would exceed the number of fans the York White Roses drew in two of their five seasons affiliated with the Washington Senators. Here’s an indication of how minor league baseball’s popularity has changed. In 1967, the eight-team Eastern League drew a total of 429,381 fans. In 2016, a single team in the Eastern League, the Reading Phillies, attracted more: 445,023.

Despite his hard-luck season at York and lack of major league experience, Such enjoyed a long and productive career instructing others. From 1975 through 1982, Such served in various capacities for the Texas Rangers, including as a roving pitching instructor in the Rangers’ farm system. He joined the major league club as pitching coach in 1983 and served until early May 1985. The Minnesota Twins named him their pitching coach in September 1985. He held that position until 2001. His stint included World Series championships in 1987 and 1991.

The Florida Marlins hired Such in 2002 to coach the AAA Calgary Cannons pitchers. After one season, he was out of baseball until 2006, when he joined the Long Island Ducks in the independent Atlantic League. He later served as pitching coach for the Atlantic League Camden Riversharks. In 2009, he accepted an offer to be a pitching coach in the Boston Red Sox minor league system. He worked with the organization until his retirement in 2021.

“In retrospect,” Such said of his struggles, “it helped me as far as becoming a coach and figuring out that everyone has to deal with failure in the game of baseball. I certainly did that and got through it somehow or another.”11 In 2012, Bleacher Report named him the 16th best pitching coach of all-time.12 

BARRY SPARKS, a York, Pennsylvania, freelance writer, has been writing about baseball for more than 50 years. His first article appeared in the July 1970 issue of Baseball Digest. He is the author of four books, including The Search for the Next Mickey Mantle: From Tom Tresh to Bryce Harper (Sunbury Press, 2022).



1 The Eastern League was previously known as the New York-Pennsylvania League, then was renamed in 1938 when New Jersey joined the league. Joe Trezza, “Then and Now: The Eastern League” MiLB.com, March 21, 2022; https://www.milb.com/news/eastern-league-overview, accessed September 6, 2023.

2 Phone interview with Dick Such, July 6, 2022.

3 William Gildea, “Such Brings a Perfect Record To Senators—Incredible 0-16,” Washington Post, Sept. 3, 1967, D4.

4 “York, Reading Split Stadium Twin Bill,” York Dispatch, Aug. 11, 1967, 14.

5 Gildea, “Such Brings Perfect Record…”.

6 George Minot, “Dick Such to Pitch Today As Senators Meet Yankees,” Washington Post, March 5, 1970, E1.

7 Barry Sparks, “York’s hard-luck loser,” York Sunday News, Sept. 19, 2004, 37.

8 Sparks.

9 Kevin Czerwinski, “Such’s Life,” Ball Nine, Feb 12, 2021; https://ballnine.com/2021/02/, accessed February 14, 2021.

10 Sparks.

11 Czerwinski.

12 Doug Mead, “The 50 Best MLB Pitching Coaches of All Time,” Bleacher Report, February 1, 2012; https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1047146-the-50-best-mlb-pitching-coaches/, accessed September 7, 2023.