Over the weekend, the White Sox continued their winning ways by taking two out of three games from the Seattle Mariners. That makes 14 wins in 16 games for the surging Sox, who now sit atop the AL Central by 2.5 games.
However, in the one game the White Sox lost weekend, Mariners pitcher Tom Wilhelmsen made them – and one player in particular – look absolutely silly.
Here is White Sox shortstop Alexei Ramirez, on a 1-0 count with the score knotted at 8 in the 11th inning, attempting to decipher at Wilhelmsen pitch.
As the title of the Reddit post where I found this GIF says: it gives new meaning to the phrase “knee-buckling curve.”
The Mariners won the game 10-8, with Wilhelmsen getting the W. He pitched three pivotal innings, giving up just one hit while striking out four batters. Alexei, who has been red hot of late, went 0-5, so he clearly was not seeing the ball well no matter who was pitching.
As for Wilhelmsen, he does have a rather interesting story, as told here by Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times (hat tip to Redditor johnadreams). He was out of baseball for six years, but is now back buckling the knees of American League hitters.
Tom Wilhelmsen had dialed up his father, a couple of hours away in Tucson, Ariz., to tell him he’d pulled off the impossible. On the other end, that father, John, 59, a former high-school baseball coach when he wasn’t at his day job putting screen prints on T-shirts, could tell that tears were flowing.
In choked tones, his son told him he’d landed a job in the Mariners’ bullpen straight out of midlevel Class A, fewer than 10 months after stepping back on a field following a six-year absence from affiliated professional baseball. And then, his own tears welling up, the father who years back had finally forced himself to accept the premature death of his son’s baseball dream, felt the relief wash over him.
Relief that his son would never have to go through life wondering what could have been.
If he keeps delivering pitches like he did on Saturday, he’ll certainly have no trouble keeping a gig in Big Leagues.