by Mike Magers
Former Major League Baseball pitcher Wade Blasingame is from New Mexico, although he was only born here in the southern town of Deming in 1943. Shortly thereafter, his family moved to California in connection with his father’s job as a fruit broker.
He was encouraged by his father, a huge baseball fan, to pursue the sport. The family eventually settled in the Fresno, California area where Wade was actively involved in American Legion baseball. There he would play alongside and opposite several future big league players. He was also 26-0 in his prep career. Wade was drafted in 1961 by the Milwaukee Braves (before the club relocated to Atlanta) straight out of Fresno’s Roosevelt High School at the age of 17.
Wade was first assigned to the clubs Class C affiliate in Boise, Idaho in the Pioneer League before being reassigned to the Florida Instructional League. He did well with both clubs and was invited to spring training the following year, though he did not make the club.
Wade was a left handed pitcher and also a left handed batter. His batting ability was modest as it is for some pitchers, but his fastball clocked in the 90s. On the strength of his strong minor league performance, he would reach the Majors at the age of 19, making his Braves debut on September 17, 1963. His strong arm allowed him to remain in the big leagues almost continuously until 1972.
In his career, Wade would accumulate 863 innings pitched, appearing in 222 games, 128 as a starter. His career wins totaled 46 games agains 51 losses. His highest number of wins was 16, which he notched in 1965 with the Braves. Teams that he played for included the Braves, both in Milwaukee and Atlanta, the Astros (both in the National League) and one final season with the Yankees, his only season in the American League. His final appearance was September 29, 1972 with the latter club.
Young players often dream of making a big league club. Wade Blasingame was able to live the dream of many baseball players for well over 10 years. He eventually retired from baseball and went onto other jobs, including the oil and gas industry and construction, but he never lost his love for the game. Wade also has been a member of the Board of Directors of American Legion Baseball.
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