Card: 1965 Topps #364 (autographed)
Galen Bernard Cisco (born March 7, 1936 in St. Marys, OH) is a former baseball player and coach. He was a pitcher in Major League Baseball for seven years (and nearly 200 games) for three different teams between 1961 and 1969. He was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1958 out of Ohio State University.
A two-sport star, Galen earned All-America and All-Big Ten honors and was a captain on the 1957 Ohio State Buckeyes football team, which won the national championship with a 9–1 record, playing both fullback and linebacker. As a pitcher for the Buckeyes, he compiled a career record of 12–2
Cisco’s first game was a Fenway Park start on June 11,1961 and he allowed five hits and five runs in just 2 1/3 innings against the Twins. Six days later he won a start against the Senators, but by mid-July he was out of the rotation. He struggled with the second-division team (2-4, 6.71), but Red Sox management was excited about the future of their rotation with Schwall, Tracy Stallard, Bill Monbouquette, and Cisco. His former manager, Johnny Pesky, predicted Galen was “another Schwall,” who won the Rookie of the Year in 1961.
Alas, his 1962 season with the Red Sox mirrored his struggles of the previous year. On July 27, Higgins even left Cisco on the mound to allow 16 hits and 13 runs against the Senators, finally taking him out of the game in the sixth inning. Two relief appearances later, the Red Sox placed him on waivers, and he was claimed by the New York Mets.
The right-handed pitcher went from a mediocre team to one of the worst in the history of baseball. “We had guys who couldn’t hit the ball and didn’t catch it,” Galen recalled. He now played for Casey Stengel, a learning experience for the young pitcher. After splitting two decisions in September 1962, Cisco was 7-15, 4.34, in 51 games in 1963.
While in New York, “Ohio State” (Stengel’s name for Cisco) started and relieved. While the team did not perform well, Cisco was likely the best pitcher on the 1964 Mets’ staff. Pitching in the new Shea Stadium, the right-handed hurler finished with a 3.62 ERA,
Of note, Cisco came in to the 14th inning of the second game of a doubleheader against the San Francisco and proceeded to shut down the Giants. His mound opponent late in the game was Gaylord Perry, who was struggling to stay in the major leagues, but who would ultimately win 314 games and a plaque in Cooperstown. Perry was called into the game in the 13th inning, and Perry later acknowledged throwing his first spitball in this game. Cisco and Perry traded scoreless innings until Jimmy Davenport tripled in the winning run for the Giants in the 23rd inning.
Just 35 years old, Cisco became the pitching coach for Bob Lemon in Kansas City in 1971. During his tenure with the Royals, he worked with such top-notch starters as Dennis Leonard, Steve Busby, and Paul Splittorff. All three credited Cisco for their successes. “I had been dropping too much on my slider and Galen got on me about throwing more over the top,”
Busby told The Sporting News in 1973, after the publication named him the American League Rookie Pitcher of the Year and a year before he won 20 games with the Royals. “I guess I was doing the same thing with my fastball. I know I felt better and threw better when I went back to the old way.”
Mound ace Leonard told The Sporting News in 1976, “When I struggled last season, Galen worked with me. He told me I was dropping down too much and everything I was throwing was flattening out. He worked with me for hours and hours.”
When Splittorff contemplated quitting in the minors, Cisco talked him out of it.
Galen was a big league coach for 28 years. He was a member of the Kansas City Royals staff from 1971 to 1979 and then was a Montreal Expos coach from 1980 to 1984. He spent the next three seasons (1985 to 1987) with the San Diego Padres before spending 1988-1989 as pitching coach of the Syracuse Stars. He spent some time on the 1988 Toronto Blue Jays staff, returning as pitching coach from 1990 to 1995, then spent one year with the Las Vegas Stars in 1996.
He ended his career as a member of the Philadelphia Phillies staff from 1997 to 2000. With both Montreal and San Diego, the manager was Dick Williams. Cisco was elected to the Ohio State Athletic Hall of Fame as a football and baseball player in 1995. His grandson, Mike, was drafted in 2008, and another grandson, Drew, was drafted two years later. His sons, Jeff and Galen Cisco, Jr., also played in the minors.
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