Friday, July 22, 2016

Bill Edgerton gets his Pilots License: The Truth!

Bill Edgerton was a pitcher that had a couple of games in the majors in stints for the A's and Pilots.

His Baseball-Reference page has a number of unknown transactions listed for him, and I took to the archives to see if we could find some answers.

Edgerton's trip to the Pilots is listed as such:

And his minor league career in 1968 starts in AAA Seattle, an Angels affiliate. He goes for a time to San Diego in Philadelphia's system, then to the Pilots in 1969. If you just look at the listing of teams, then Baseball-Reference's history makes sense.

But that's not what happened.

Edgerton was on the A's Birmingham team when he was drafted in the minor league draft, listed here in the Arizona Republic of Nov. 29, 1967:

"SEATTLE Bill Edgerton, Birmingham, left-handed pitcher."

Seems simple. BUT. Edgerton was property of the Seattle team itself, NOT the Angels parent club. This is explained in this article from the July 3, 1968 Gadsden Times:

“The members of this exclusive Pilot Players Club are infielder Marv Staehle and southpaw pitcher Bill Edgerton, who have been farmed out to the Seattle Angels of the Pacific Coast League.”

“This is like lending yourself a couple of bucks because the Angels are owned by Pacific Northwest Sports, Inc., the same outfit that owns the Pilots. But the other players and Mgr. Joe Adcock are owned by the California Angels.”

Staehle had been purchased by the Pilots outright earlier.

So Edgerton was Pilot property as soon as he was drafted in 1967. He was never a part of the Angels or Phillies systems! This reminds me of the Chuck Collier blog we did  earlier.

Another Edgerton transaction listed has him going on waivers from the A's to the Indians and back again. The first transaction was a straight up sale, not a waive, according to the Feb. 17, 1965 Star-News:

“The Cleveland Indians purchased southpaw pitcher Bill Edgerton from the Kansas City Athletics.”
Couldn't find how he got back to the A's, and he never played for the Indians.

Edgerton from




  1. I wonder if this was another case of a team "loaning" a player to another team, especially since he went A's-Indians-A's and then later Pilots-Phillies-Pilots. Or, like Joe Rudi before him, he was traded with the understanding that he would be traded back (an "end run around the system" as Rudi's SABR bio page called it).

    1. Don't think so, with the Pilots buying players at the time in preparation for 1969. Jim O'Toole was under contract in 1968, as was Mike Hegan. But there were a lot of players dealt around that way...with 'strings attached." Thank you for reading!

  2. In fact, Cleveland did claim Edgerton off waivers in 1965. The Athletics put him on waivers for the purpose of giving him his unconditional release and the Tribe got him for $1. This per the 2/16/1965 Akron Beacon Journal. The A's paid $8000 to get him back. But why he would be subject to first-year player rules after playing two years in pro ball is beyond me.