Dave Tobik

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Dave Tobik
Born: (1953-03-02) March 2, 1953 (age 65)
Euclid, Ohio
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
August 26, 1978, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
October 5, 1985, for the Seattle Mariners
MLB statistics
Win–loss record14–23
Earned run average3.70

David Vance Tobik (born March 2, 1953) is a former right-handed relief pitcher in Major League Baseball. After attending Ohio University, Tobik played eight season in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1978–1982), Texas Rangers (1983–1984), and Seattle Mariners (1985).

Ohio University[edit]

Tobik played college baseball at Ohio University where he was an All-Mid-American Conference pitcher from 1971 to 1974.[citation needed] During the 1974 season, Tobik compiled a record of 6-3 with 78 strikeouts and an earned run average of 0.84.[1] He was inducted into the Kermit Blosser Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame in 1989.[2][3]

Minor leagues[edit]

In January 1975, Tobik was drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the first round (second overall selection) of the 1975 supplemental amateur draft.[4] From 1975 to 1977, he played for the Tigers' farm teams in Lakeland, Florida (the Lakeland Flying Tigers) and Montgomery, Alabama (the Montgomery Rebels).[5][6] He moved up to the Triple-A Evansville Triplets in 1977 and played in Evansville for parts of the 1977 to 1980 seasons.[5]

Major League Baseball[edit]

Detroit Tigers[edit]

Tobik made his Major League debut on August 26, 1978, giving up three earned runs in a 9-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.[7] The following year, he appeared in 37 games for the 1979 Detroit Tigers.[4] He spent most of the 1980 season in Evansville, but did appear in 17 games (all but one in relief) for the 1980 Tigers.[4][5] On August 22, 1980, Tobik struck out four batters in one inning while pitching for Evansville against Denver, as La Rue Washington reached first base on a passed ball after being struck out by Tobik.[8]

In 1981, Tobik compiled a record of 2-2 with a 2.69 earned run average (Adjusted ERA+ of 141) in 60-1/3 innings pitched.[4]

In 1982, and after an injury sidelined Dave Rozema, Tobik became the Tigers' closer. In June 1982, Sparky Anderson credited Tobik's success to his development of a forkball and called Tobik the "king" of a Detroit bullpen that also included Kevin Saucier and Elías Sosa.[9] Anderson added: "I admit, I didn't see it coming. But I'm smart enough to pounce on something good when I see it. We don't have anybody throwing like Tobik. That forkball of his is unreal."[9] In May 1982, Tobik and Jack Morris combined for a two-hit shutout against the California Angels.[10] In June 1982, Wade Boggs hit his first career home run off Tobik—an 11th inning walk-off home run that Boggs later recalled as a turning point in his early career.[11][12] Tobik led the 1982 Tigers with nine saves,[13] and appeared in a career-high 51 games, but also compiled a disappointing record of 4-9.[4]

Texas Rangers[edit]

During spring training in 1983, Tobik was traded to the Texas Rangers for outfielder Johnny Grubb.[14] Prior to the trade, Sparky Anderson pointed to Tobik's nine losses during the 1982 season and noted, "Tell me what a relief pitcher is doing with nine losses. That's nine times he came in with a lead and couldn't hold it."[15] Playing for the Rangers in 1983, Tobik converted all nine of his save opportunities for the Rangers.[16] Tobik pitched two seasons for the Rangers, appearing in 51 games, all in relief. In July 1984, the Rangers sent Tobik to Oklahoma City. On being sent to Oklahoma City, Tobik told reporters, "I don't know what to think anymore. I don't think they have to have a reason all the time for doing things. I'm a major league pitcher. I don't deserve this but what can you do?"[16]

Calgary and Seattle[edit]

In January 1985, Tobik signed with the Calgary Cannons in the Pacific Coast League. He was the first player to sign with the newly formed Calgary baseball team.[17] He won a career-high 12 games for the Cannons in 1985 and also established the team record for wins in a season.[18] Tobik also compiled a 1-0 record for the Seattle Mariners in 1985.[4][19] He appeared in his final game for the Mariners on October 5, 1985.[4][20] At the end of the 1985 season, the Mariners asked for unconditional waivers on Tobik.[21]

For his career, Tobik had a 14-23 record in 196 games. He had 28 saves and 116 games finished. His career ERA was 3.70 (Adjusted ERA+ 110).[4]


Tobik married Anne Harter, whom he met while he played for the Evansville Triplets and she was a sports writer for the Evansville Press.[22] Their son, Dan Tobik, was a top baseball recruit for the University of Tennessee at Martin.[23][24] Dan currently pitches in the Los Angeles Angels organization, was drafted in 2013 out of the University of Tennessee at Martin. Tobik today lives in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri.[citation needed]


  1. ^ "Ohio University's Tobik Signs Pact with Tigers". The Toledo Blade. January 13, 1975.
  2. ^ "Ohio Athletics Hall of Fame". Ohio University.
  3. ^ "Five elected to OU Hall". Portsmouth Daily Times. June 7, 1989.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h "Dave Tobik". baseball-reference.com.
  5. ^ a b c "Dave Tobik Minor League Statistics". baseball-reference.com.
  6. ^ "Tobik Gets Near Miss At A No-Hit Bid". Lakeland Ledger. May 4, 1976.
  7. ^ "Aug 26, 1978, Brewers at Tigers Box Score and Play by Play". baseball-reference.com.
  8. ^ "Tobik Fans Four in One Inning". The Sporting News. September 13, 1980. p. 51.
  9. ^ a b Tom Gage (June 28, 1982). "Forkball Turns Tobik Into Bullpen 'King'". The Sporting News.
  10. ^ "Morris, Tobik team to throw 2-hitter at Angeles". St. Joseph News-Press. May 23, 1982.
  11. ^ "Wade Boggs: Another Solid Hitter for the Red Sox". Baseball Digest. June 1983. p. 32.
  12. ^ "Unlikely hero Boggs homers for Sox win". Record-Journal. June 23, 1982.
  13. ^ "1982 Detroit Tigers Batting, Pitching, & Fielding Statistics". baseball-reference.com.
  14. ^ "Tigers Trade Tobik for Grubb". Ocala Star-Banner. March 26, 1983.
  15. ^ "Tobik going, going, almost gone". The Windsor Star. March 22, 1983.
  16. ^ a b Jim Reeves (July 23, 1984). "Last-Place Rangers Aren't Giving Up". The Sporting News. p. 19.
  17. ^ "Cannons acquire veteran reliever". The Calgary Herald. January 18, 1985.
  18. ^ "Mariners". The Sporting News. August 3, 1987. p. 27.
  19. ^ "Last Mariner in bullpen delivers". Spokane Chronicle. September 10, 1985.
  20. ^ "Oct 5, 1985, Mariners at White Sox Play by Play and Box Score". baseball-reference.com.
  21. ^ Bill Plaschke (November 1985). "Off-Season Has Been Worst for Best". The Sporting News. p. 53.
  22. ^ "Real troopers: Being a baseball star's wife not all peaches and cream". Beaver County Times. April 5, 1981.
  23. ^ "Dan Tobik". Madison Mallards.
  24. ^ "Dan Tobik". Skyhawk Baseball.

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