Add-a-Tiger: Bill Scherrer

Add-a-Tiger posts profile Tigers who didn’t make the ’84 Opening-Day roster, but who came on mid-season and played a part in the story.

RP Bill Scherrer #17 6-4 170

B: 1-20-1958 Tonawanda, NY

W-L: 1-0 ERA: 1.89 WHIP: 1.16 SV’s: 0

Bill Scherrer comes off as the kid in high school who wasn’t in any extra-curriculars and there’s a rumor he spends every afternoon in a “workshop” in his backyard welding a bike out of spare parts.  There’s a mystery about him.  A darkness, almost.  He was Tim Burton’s kind of pitcher, tall and bony, mechanical in his movements, a pale machine of funky breaking balls[1].

Scherrer, the lanky southpaw, had been the Reds’ (and hence, Sparky Anderson’s) first pick in the phase 2 draft in ’77.  But Spark was well on his way in Detroit by the time Scherrer made it to the bigs.  In 1983, young Scherrer answered Opportunity’s knock when Reds star Tom Hume went to the disabled list[2].  Scherrer played a key role in the pen and emerged from the year with 10 saves on a 2.74 ERA with a 1.15 WHIP.[3]

He got off to a slow start through 36 appearances in ’84 and the Reds made an interesting move.  They traded the up-and-coming 26-year-old for an unproven 23-year-old, Carl Willis.

“Whaddya Mean ‘almost’ a sneer?” Scherrer faces San Diego in Game 2 of the 1984 World Series | Photo: Alchetron.com

In 1984, the trade was gold for the Tigers.  Along with Sid Monge, Carl Willis was just about the only personnel move that didn’t come up aces in the blessed year.  Scherrer, on the other hand, turned things around with the move to a first-place team.

The spindly southpaw put up a clutch 1.89 ERA with a 1.16 WHIP in 18 appearances.  He pitched an inning and two-thirds of scoreless ball against the Jays in a 10-4 win on Sept. 8, during the season’s single-biggest series.  He also blanked Toronto the next afternoon for an inning—nothing for Mount Rushmore, but a good role-filling performance in a huge game.

Scherrer also saw World Series action, which we cannot say for Dave Rozema, Sid Monge, or Juan Berenguer.

In ’85 and ’86, Scherrer’s numbers dropped, and the Tigers released him at the end of ’86.  He would spend 2 more years in “the show.”  He was colorful and fun to watch, part of the Tigers’ 1984 pageantry.


[1] Lowe, John. NL’s Quickest Starters: Brock, Redus, McMurtry. The Sporting News Jul. 25, 1983.

[2] Lawson, Earl. Nixon Can’t Brake a Rerun for Reds. The Sporting News. Jun. 20, 1983.

[3] Bill Scherrer. Baseball-Reference.com. https://www.baseball-reference.com/players/s/scherbi01.shtml

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