Pittsburgh Pirates All-Time Top 100: 45. Bill Swift

Bill Swift was a 6’1” right-handed pitcher from Elmira, NY. Born June 19, 1908, he made his first professional appearance with the “AA” level American Association Kansas City Blues in 1928, winning his only start. Later that season, he played in the “C” level Western Association, splitting his time between the Springfield Midgets and the Muskogee Chiefs, going 10-7 with a 3.16 ERA.

Swift played most of 1929 with the Augusta Tygers in the “B” level Southern Atlantic League, racking up a 13-13 record with a 2.95 ERA. In 1930, he went 17-7, 3.78 with the “B” level Springfield Senators in the Indiana-Illinois-Iowa League.

1931 would see Swift pitch his last season in the minors for a long time, going 16-7 with his original American Association team, the Kansas City Blues.

Swift opened the 1932 campaign with the Pirates as a reliever and occasional starter, joining the rotation for good on July 14th, pitching a complete game four hitter while striking out four in a 6-1 win over the Boston Braves. He went 14-10 with a 3.61 ERA over 214.1 innings of work completing 11 of his 23 starts. He also earned four saves and led the NL with 1.1 walk issued per nine innings pitched and an NL second best 1.078 WHIP. The Pirates posted a 86-68 record, finishing four games behind the pennant winning Chicago Cubs.

In 1933, Swift posted a record identical to that of his rookie season, again going 14-10 while lowering his ERA to 3.13. He appeared in 37 games, completing 13 of his 29 starts, including two shutouts. He started out the season on a tear, allowing six hits while striking out 10 in earning his first two victories over 17 innings pitched. On September 20th, he won a 3-0 decision over the Brooklyn Dodgers, scattering four hits and striking out two. He ended the season ranked third in the NL with a 1.145 WHIP. The Pirates again barely missed the pennant, finishing the season five games behind the New York Giants with a 91-61 record.

1934 would see Swift go 11-13 with a 3.98 ERA and an NL leading eight hit batters. He completed 13 of 25 starts out of 37 total appearances. On July 27th, he pitched a seven hitter, striking out seven while blanking the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0. The Pirates went 74-76 and missed the World Series by 19.5 games behind the Cardinals.

In 1935, Swift went 15-8 with NL second bests of 1.129 WHIP and 2.70 ERA . He made 22 rotation starts, completing 16 and appearing in a total of 39 games. He threw a complete game four hit shutout on August 9th, earning a 1-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds while striking out five. The Pirates improved their record to 86-67, but finished in fourth place, 13.5 games behind the Cubs.

1936 would see Swift appear in a career high 45 games, starting a career high 31. He went 16-16 with a 4.01 ERA. He earned his final victory of the season with a gritty 11 inning performance on September 19th, allowing nine hits and striking out four in a 7-6 win over the Braves. The Pirates again ended up in fourth place, going 84-70, eight games behind the Giants.

In 1937, Swift started 17 games, finishing nine and appearing 19 times in relief. He posted a 9-10 record with a 3.95 ERA. On May 10th, he scattered eight hits and struck out six, allowing only an unearned run in a 4-1 win over the Braves. Pittsburgh finished with an 86-68 record, 10 games behind the first place Giants.

Swift appeared 36 times for the Pirates in 1938, starting only nine games and completing two. He also earned four saves, posting a 7-5 record with a 3.24 ERA. His best game of the season may have been on May 15th, when he struck out five in four innings of relief, allowing only one hit and earning his first victory of the season, 4-3 over Chicago. At 86-64, Pittsburgh was again just short of the pennant, finishing two games behind the Cubs .

1939 would be Swift’s last season with Pittsburgh. He went 5-7 with a 3.89 ERA, starting eight games out of 36 total appearances. On May 19th, he pitched 7.1 innings of two hit relief, earning a no decision in a 5-2 loss to Boston. The Pirates went 68-85 and finished in sixth place, 28.5 games behind the Cincinnati Reds. After the season, the Bucs sent Swift to the Boston Bees with cash for pitcher Danny MacFayden.

Swift played in parts of three more major league seasons, one year each with the Bees (1-1, 2.89 in four games), the Dodgers (3-0, 3.27 in nine games), and the Chicago White Sox (0-2, 4.21 in 18 games).

All-Time Statline: Eight seasons, 91-79, 3.57 ERA, 305 games, 164 starts, 78 CG, seven shutouts, 18 saves, 1555.0 innings pitched, 1596 hits allowed, walked 310, struck out 592, 1.226 WHIP, 20.4 wins above replacement.

Stay tuned for tomorrow's entry, a former Cy Young Award winner for the Bucs.

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of the managing editor (Charlie) or SB Nation. FanPosts are written by Bucs Dugout readers.

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