Bill Pulsipher

Bill Pulsipher

Infobox MLB retired
name=Bill Pulsipher

birthdate=birth date and age|1973|10|9
Fort Benning, Georgia
debutdate=June 17
debutteam=New York Mets
finaldate=May 7
finalteam=St. Louis Cardinals
stat1label=Win-Loss record
stat2label=Earned run average
* New York Mets (by|1995, by|1998)
* Milwaukee Brewers (by|1998-by|1999)
* New York Mets (by|2000)
* Boston Red Sox (by|2001)
* Chicago White Sox (by|2001)
* St. Louis Cardinals (by|2005)

William Thomas Pulsipher (born October 9, 1973) is a former pitcher in Major League Baseball. Pulsipher, a left-handed pitcher, pitched for the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals over six seasons from by|1995 to by|2005. Once considered a top prospect, his career was derailed by injuries, major depression and anxiety.cite news
title=Arm in good health, feet on the ground
publisher=St. Petersburg Times
] cite news
title=For Pulsipher, Down Doesn't Mean Out
author=Bill Pulsipher as told to Alan Schwarz
publisher=Baseball America

Early life and career

Pulsipher was a military brat who was born in Fort Benning, Georgia. His family frequently relocated, including to Germany, before settling in Clifton, Virginia.cite news
title=Take a Good, Quick Look at These 2 Tides
publisher=The Virginian-Pilot
] His parents divorced and he lived with his father and stepmother. While a senior at Fairfax High School, Pulsipher was named the All-Metropolitan D.C. Player of the Year as a pitcher and center fielder. He also excelled at basketball, but baseball was his main focus and, at age 17, he was offered a full scholarship to Old Dominion University. The day before he was to leave, he decided to forego college and sign with the New York Mets which had chosen him in the second round of the by|1991 Major League Baseball Draft.

Pulsipher was immediately impressive in the Mets' A-level minor league system, posting a 2.84 earned run average in by|1992 and ERAs of 2.08 with the Capital City Bombers and 2.24 with the St. Lucie Mets, both in by|1993. In by|1994, with Major League Baseball mired in a season-ending strike, Pulsipher was selected to be a AA-level Eastern League all-star. He led the Binghamton Mets to the playoffs where he threw a no-hitter on September 12 and was named the New York Mets Minor League Player of the Year. [ Bill Pulsipher] at Retrieved on March 26, 2007.] At age 20, Pulsipher was considered one of the top propsects in baseball.

Major leagues and early injuries

In 1995, Pulsipher began the season with the Triple-A Norfolk Tides and continued pitching well against minor league hitting with an ERA of 3.14. He was called up to the majors and made his major league debut on June 17, 1995. His first game was atrocious, but he finished the season with a 5-7 record and 3.98 ERA before a sore elbow ended his season three weeks early.

Towards the end of spring training in by|1996, Pulsipher was still experiencing elbow pain when an MRI showed torn ligaments and subsequent Tommy John surgery wiped out his entire season. In by|1997, Pulsipher started the season with Norfolk, but pitched terribly with 38 walks in only 27⅔ innings. He was sent down to the A-level St. Lucie Mets, but continued walking nearly a batter per inning. Pulsipher later recounted that he was diagnosed with depression around that time. He was prescribed Prozac and his pitching improved including a 1.42 ERA out of the bullpen at AA Binghamton.

After beginning by|1998 in Norfolk and pitching reasonably well, Pulsipher was called back up to the majors for the first time in 2½ seasons. Although his control problems did not resurface, he pitched poorly for New York, mostly in relief. At the July 31 trading deadline, Pulsipher was traded to the Milwaukee Brewers for Mike Kinkade.

Pulsipher started for the Brewers for the rest of 1998, but needed back surgery after the season.cite news
title=Brewers Report
publisher=Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
] He started by|1999 in the majors, but was soon on the disabled list when back problems recurred. After spending the second half in the majors and finishing with a 5.98 ERA, the Brewers traded him back to the Mets for infielder Luis López.

Frequent moves and a medical scare

On February 23, 2000, Pulsipher's pregnant wife found him unconscious and barely breathing on their bathroom floor. Pulsipher was rushed to the hospital with paramedics assisting his breathing and doctors restoring his weak heartbeat.cite news
title=Baseball Notes - Pulsipher is hospitalized after collapsing
publisher=Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Associated Press
] Pulsipher attributes the attack to a dietary supplement which contained ephedra.cite news
title=Baseball; Lessons Learned From Past Use of Ephedra
coauthors=Rafael Hermoso with Charlie Nobles
publisher=The New York Times
] Three years later, Pulsipher was nearby when his Baltimore Orioles teammate Steve Bechler collapsed and died, also from ephedra. Ephedra was banned by the Food and Drug Administration in 2004.

Pulsipher pitched poorly for Norfolk and New York in by|2000 before being traded to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Lenny Harris. He spent the rest of the season in the minors, mostly with the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays signed him for by|2001, but sent him to the minors during spring training and released him soon after.cite news
title=Bullpen battle down by two
coauthors=Marc Topkin and Mike Readling
publisher=St. Petersburg Times
] He was signed by the Boston Red Sox, pitched well for the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, and was brought up to the majors in late June. After pitching very well in relief for a month, Pulsipher was awful through August with an ERA near 10 and was placed on waivers. The Chicago White Sox selected him off waivers but he rejected an assignment to the minors after posting a 7.88 ERA and became a free agent.

Brief career change and comeback attempts

The Texas Rangers signed Pulsipher before the by|2002 season, but for the second consecutive season, he was released during spring training. He was signed by the New York Yankees soon after, but was released again after posting a 14.73 ERA and injuring his groin with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. His third release in 14 months combined with being off his antidepressant medication caused Pulsipher to quit baseball. He returned to his home in Port St. Lucie, Florida and for a time, was being paid eight dollars per hour to be a groundskeeper for the St. Lucie Mets.

While tending to the minor league complex's field in Florida, Pulsipher continued to stay in shape. In December 2002, he was signed by the Baltimore Orioles. While with the AAA Ottawa Lynx in by|2003, he again experienced bouts of depression and anxiety and was prescribed Paxil which he says improved his life.

In by|2004, Pulsipher did not pursue a major league contract and instead signed with the Long Island Ducks of the independent Atlantic League. For the first time since 2000, Pulsipher was starting games and he pitched well enough to be named an Atlantic League All-Star. He led Long Island to its first league championship, winning the clinching game.cite news
title=#45, Billy Pulsipher, Fairfax, Baseball, 1991
publisher=The Connection Newspapers
] cite web
title=Pulse Returns to Flock
publisher=Long Island Ducks

Pulsipher was signed by the Seattle Mariners in August 2004, but was injured after two decent minor league starts and released in September. He recovered to pitch well for Indios de Mayagüez in the Caribbean Series.cite web
title=Pulsipher working at a comeback
] He was signed to play for a Tijuana team in a Mexican League when his former teammate Jason Isringhausen convinced the St. Louis Cardinals to invite him to 2005 spring training. Pulsipher did not allow a run for the entire spring training, but he injured his hamstring and had his toe broken by a line drive before the season started.cite web
title=Notes: Pulsipher's spot up in the air
] Regardless, he made the team out of spring training and pitched in the majors for the first time since 2001. The hamstring injury recurred in mid-April landing him on the disabled list.cite web
title=Notes: Pulsipher lands on DL
] He returned a few weeks later, but was sent to the minors after two games. He was mostly a starter in the minor leagues before being released in early September.

Pulsipher finished 2005 with the Long Island Ducks which made the playoffs for the second consecutive season. He spent the entire by|2006 season with the Ducks which again made the postseason, but Pulsipher was the losing pitcher in the season-ending game.cite web
title='Fish Take Series From Ducks
publisher=Long Island Ducks
] In by|2007, Pulsipher returned to Long Island to play for the Ducks.cite web
title=Ducks Calm 'Stormers: Rose and Harris Power Pulsipher Win
publisher=Suffolk Journal


External links

* [ Bill Pulsipher] at Retrosheet.
*baseball-reference|id=p/pulsibi01|name=Bill Pulsipher.
* [ Bill Pulsipher] at The Baseball Cube.

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