|Outfielder / First baseman|
November 2, 1946 |
|September 12, 1970, for the Los Angeles Dodgers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1987, for the Texas Rangers|
|Runs batted in||503|
|Career highlights and awards|
Thomas Marian Paciorek (// pǝ-CHOR-ek; born November 2, 1946) is a former outfielder and first baseman who spent 18 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1970–1975), Atlanta Braves (1976–1978), Seattle Mariners (1978–1981), Chicago White Sox (1982–1985), New York Mets (1985) and Texas Rangers (1986–1987). He appeared twice in the postseason, with the National League (NL) Champion Dodgers in 1974 and the American League (AL) West-winning White Sox in 1983.
Following his retirement as an active player, he worked as a color commentator for various MLB clubs, most notably the White Sox where he was teamed with Ken Harrelson on telecasts throughout the 1990s. Paciorek is famously known by the nickname Wimpy which was given to him by Tom Lasorda after a dinner with minor league teammates in which he was the only one to order a hamburger instead of steak.
After graduating from St. Ladislaus High School in Hamtramck, Michigan, Paciorek played baseball and football for the University of Houston from 1965 to 1968. A defensive back, he was picked by the Miami Dolphins in the ninth round of the 1968 NFL Draft. As a part of the Houston Cougars baseball club, he was named to the All-Tournament team after the Cougars became the national runner-up in the 1967 College World Series. Paciorek's number was retired by the Cougars as one of only three in the history of the team.
Major league career
He was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1968, one of 14 players drafted by the Dodgers that year to reach the majors. A top prospect, he was The Sporting News' Minor League Player of the Year in 1972. He spent the 1973 through 1975 seasons as a fourth outfielder and pinch hitter. After hitting under .200 in 1975, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves as part of a trade for Dusty Baker. He hit .290 in a platoon role for Atlanta in 1976 but he struggled to duplicate those numbers the following year.
The Braves released him after spring training in 1978, but signed him again just a week later. However, six weeks and only nine at bats later, the Braves gave him his release a second time. Paciorek then signed with the Seattle Mariners, where he finished the season hitting .299.
Following two solid years as a platoon player, Paciorek put together a career season with the Mariners in the 1981 season. Playing full-time for the only time in his career, Paciorek batted .326, second in the American League, and was fourth in the AL in slugging percentage. He earned his only appearance to an All-Star team in 1981 and was 10th in the AL MVP race.
In the offseason, the Mariners traded Paciorek to the Chicago White Sox for three players, none of whom would make an impact with Seattle. Paciorek hit over .300 his first two years with the Sox, and was part of Chicago's division championship team in 1983.
With the White Sox in 1984, he set an unusual MLB record. Paciorek replaced Ron Kittle in left field in the fourth inning of a May 8 game with the Milwaukee Brewers – a game which then proceeded to last 25 innings, becoming the longest game in Major League history (as measured in time on the field). By the time the game ended the following day, Paciorek had amassed five hits in nine at bats, a record for most hits in a game by a player that did not start the game which still stands. Several players have had four hits in a game as a substitute, most recently Quinton McCracken of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2002.
Tom was one of three brothers to play in the Majors. His younger brother Jim played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 1987, while older brother John played one game for the Houston Colt .45's (in which he went 3–3 and walked twice) in 1963.
Paciorek has served as a broadcaster for several years since retiring as a player, with his most notable stint as the color commentator on White Sox television broadcasts alongside Ken Harrelson, who affectionately called him by his baseball nickname, "Wimpy", on-air. Paciorek broadcast for the White Sox from 1988 to 1999, then called selected games for the Detroit Tigers in 2000 and the Seattle Mariners in 2001 before calling the Atlanta Braves on FSN South from 2002 to 2005. In 2006, he was the color commentator for the Washington Nationals, but his contract was not renewed for 2007. He is fondly remembered amongst Nationals fans for his distinct pronunciation of "Alfonso Soriano," a Nationals outfielder that season: "Eelfahnso Soriaahno".
In 1992, Tom Paciorek was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame.
In the spring of 2002, Paciorek told the Detroit Free Press in a report that priest Gerald Shirilla had molested him and three of his four brothers while working as a teacher at St. Ladislaus Catholic High School in Hamtramck in the 1960s. "I was molested by him for a period of four years," Paciorek is reported to have said. "I would refer to them as attacks. I would say there was at least a hundred of them." The former All-Star said he didn't tell anyone because no one would have believed him saying "When you're a kid, and you're not able to articulate, who's going to believe you?" and "The church back then was so powerful, there's nothing that a kid could do."
- Hartman, Matt; Smith, Matt (2008). The Great Book of Los Angeles Sports Lists. Great Book of Sports Lists. Running Press. ISBN 9780762435203. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- Kepner, Tyler (May 4, 2014). "Seaver's Double Duty for the White Sox". The New York Times. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- Kamholz, Andy (February 19, 2008). "Most hits in a game as a sub". Baseball-Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- Svrluga, Barry (November 6, 2006). "Nats Sign 21 Minor Leaguers; Paciorek Won't Return to TV". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- "Paciorek grabs some bench". Chicago Tribune. November 8, 2006. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- "Tom Paciorek". National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on October 21, 2013. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- "Paciorek says his siblings were abused as well". ESPN. Associated Press. March 22, 2002. Retrieved May 20, 2015.
- Paciorek Named to College Baseball Hall of Fame Class. Houston Cougars Baseball, 31 Mar 2016. Retrieved 2016-03-31.