Photograph © Steven L.J. Russo
By 1959 their next budding star came to the team as future All-Star and 21 game winner Jim Bouton (1-4, 5.73) came to Falcon Park on his way to a 10 year MLB career followed by being the author of several distinguished books on the awful politics surrounding baseball. Richard Dumas took over the all time ERA record going 12-4, 2.22 from Bill Gates, and Robert Bauer was the cleanup man hitting 22 HRs while batting .315. The Auburn Yankees finished 9 games under .500 at 58-67. The Auburn Yankees would turn it around again the following season thanks in part to future New York Yankees’ Rollie Sheldon who would peak early... having his best season in his very first pro season. It was also the best season any pitcher had ever had in Falcon Park history as Sheldon went 15-1 with a 2.88 ERA tying the all time Wins lead and easily owning the best winning pct. With the Auburn Yankees going 65-63, Sheldon was the reason for this team’s ability to stay over .500. Ronnie Retton would hit 18 2Bs, 6 HRs and bat .288 but his 11 3Bs would earn him the current title for most ever on the team, had teammate Frederick Izzolo (16 2B, 11 3B, 9 HR, .261) not come along to tie him. With 1 good pitcher in the rotation, the Auburn Yankees had enough to make it to the playoffs… and did not have enough to make it past the 1st round. By 1961 the Auburn Yankees had sunk back to last place going 52-73 (.416) despite featuring some fantastic talent. In the slugging department we find Daniel Eoff (25 2B, 21 HR, .274), Walter Cammarata (22 HR, .245) and William Madden (15 2B, 15 HR, .269). They would provide some of the best power hitting the team had seen in years. The pitching however was led by a 19 year old kid who was just being brought up from the Hazlan in the Rookie Leagues where he went 5-1. This 19 year old would turn some heads on his way to being the biggest star ever in Falcon Park since Joe Pepitone.