May 2, 1962 |
|Batted: Both||Threw: Right|
|May 31, 1987 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 3, 1993 for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||14|
James Walewander (born May 2, 1962 in Chicago, Illinois) was a Major League Baseball infielder. He is an alumnus of Iowa State University. Drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 9th round of the 1983 MLB amateur draft, Walewander was a fan of the satirical Philadelphia punk band The Dead Milkmen, endearing himself to Tiger faithful. The punk rockers were even in the ballpark when Walewander hit his only major-league home run.
Walewander even had a "theme song" written about him called "The Jim Walewander Blues". The song was written by a local Detroit fan named "Eastside Billee" aka William Speelman who recorded it with his band The Ten Speeds. The song got radio airplay in the Lakeland, Florida area during spring training one year. Ernie Harwell even gave a Detroit newspaper review of the song in an article written by Shelby Strothers. The song, and its lyrics, were also mentioned in a Sports Illustrated article regarding Walewander.
Walewander's rise through the minors was delayed by the presence of Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker, but he was finally summoned to Detroit on May 31, 1987, going 1 for 2 against the Minnesota Twins. Walewander primarily appeared as a defensive substitute or pinch-runner in the late innings. He was a key figure as the Tigers battled the Toronto Blue Jays for the division crown. In the 12th inning of the season's penultimate game against Toronto, pinch-hitter Walewander scooted home with the game-winning run after Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell drilled a game-winning single through Toronto shortstop Manuel Lee's legs. Frank Tanana pitched a 1–0 shutout the next day, handing Detroit the division title. Walewander was not on the playoff roster, and Minnesota defeated Tigers in the ALCS.
He played one more year with the Tigers before his release. He played with the New York Yankees and then in Italy before his last game, in a California Angels uniform in 1993.
For his career, Walewander played in exactly 162 games (a full baseball season), batting .215 with a home run and 14 RBI in 242 at-bats. Walewander's 24 runs scored on only 13 hits during the 1987 season represents the all time record for the highest 'runs to hits' ratio (1.846) for a major league season for players with 10 or more hits.