February 27, 1949 |
Welch, West Virginia
|August 11, 1974, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|August 15, 1985, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Runs batted in||310|
Johnny Bilton Wockenfuss (born February 27, 1949 in Welch, West Virginia) is a former professional baseball player. He played all or part of twelve seasons in Major League Baseball from 1974 to 1985 for the Detroit Tigers (1974–83) and the Philadelphia Phillies (1984–85). A utility player, he played catcher, first base, third base, outfield and designated hitter.
Wockenfuss may be best remembered for his use of an unusual batting stance: extremely closed with his back nearly to the pitcher, with arms extended well overhead. Wockenfuss adopted the closed stance in 1977, while playing winter ball at Caguas, Puerto Rico. His other claim to fame was Chicago Cubs broadcaster Harry Carry pronouncing his name backwards as "suffnecow".
On December 3, 1973, Wockenfuss was traded by the St. Louis Cardinals to the Detroit Tigers. Wockenfuss found a home with the Detroit Tigers where he played 10 seasons and became a fan favorite.
Used mostly as a backup, the only year in which Wockenfuss played in more than 100 games was 1980. That year, "Fuss" (as he was affectionately known to Detroit fans) hit 16 home runs, collected 65 RBIs and 68 walks, with a .390 on-base percentage.
After two seasons with the Phillies, Wockenfuss was released on August 19, 1985.
Following his playing career, Wockenfuss managed for a number of years in the minor leagues. In 1987, Wockenfuss joined the Tigers organization as manager of the Toledo farm club.
After leaving the Tigers' system, he managed two seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization in 1992 and 1993. In 1996 he managed the Albany-Colonie Diamond Dogs to the Northeast League title. He also managed Albany-Colonie in 1997.
In 1993, Wockenfuss was inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame.