July 23, 1931 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|MLB: September 2, 1959 for the Chicago White Sox|
|NPB: 1960 for the Nankai Hawks|
|Last professional appearance|
|MLB: September 5, 1959 for the Chicago White Sox|
|NPB: 1966 for the Taiyo Whales|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joe Donald Stanka (born July 23, 1931) is a former major league baseball player from Hammon, Oklahoma. He played for the Chicago White Sox in the major leagues, and the Nankai Hawks and Taiyo Whales in the Japanese professional leagues.
After attending Oklahoma State University, Stanka spent most of his career in the minor leagues, but managed to make his major league debut with the Chicago White Sox in 1959 at age 28. He ended his major league career with only 2 appearances that year.
He signed with the Nankai Hawks (current Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks) during the 1959 off-season. He was one of the first players to be signed from the Triple-A class of the minor leagues, and the team calculated that he should be able to win over 20 games in the Japanese Pacific League.
Stanka entered the starting rotation in his first year, and marked a 17–12 record in his first year, leading the league with 103 walks. He played his best season in 1964, winning 26 games to receive the league MVP award. He pitched shutouts in Games 1, 6, and 7 of the Japan Series against the Hanshin Tigers to win the Japan Series MVP award as well.
He continued to pitch for the Hawks in 1965, but left the team after his eldest son died in a tragic accident. He played for the Taiyo Whales in 1966 before retiring. He is tied with Gene Bacque for the most wins among foreign players in Japan, going 100–72 during his seven-year career in Japan.
- Dennis Snelling; A Glimpse of Fame, McFarland & Company, Jefferson N.C., 1993, pp. 35-52