RIP to Tom Hausman, who pitched for 7 years in the major leagues between 1975 and 1982. He died on January 16 at the age of 65, with his family by his side. He played for the Milwaukee Brewers (1975-76), New York Mets (1978-1982) and Atlanta Braves (1982).
Tom Hausman was born in Mobridge, S.D. on March 31, 1963, but he only lived there for about eight months before the family moved to California. The righthander played LIttle League and Senior League in California and earned all-state honors for baseball and basketball in Nevada, according to a 1975 profile on the pitcher. He pitched two years of American Legion ball in La Verne, Calif., Post 330.
Hausman was drafted by the Brewers in the 10th Round of the 1971 June Amateur Draft and started his pro ball in Newark. He pitched well in his first two seasons of A-ball in 1971 and 1972 and was promoted to the AA Shreveport Captains in 1973. He won 12 games there and 12 more for AAA Sacramento in 1974 and made his way to the major leagues n 1975.
It was a nice, orderly progression to the minors – a year each in low-A, A-ball, AA and finally AAA, but the reality was that Hausman had to overcome numerous stumbling blocks. He snapped his right arm in 1971 while throwing batting practice. He healed from that only to break his foot while running in 1972, and he broke it again in 1973. Hausman kept his bones intact while in Sacramento, but he suffered the twin calamities of a 3-week spell of Valley Fever and a home stadium that had outfield fences of 230 to 250 feet from home plate.
“I gave up 49 [home runs in 1974],” Hausman admitted to the Progress Bulletin in 1975, “but only seven of them were on the road in 180 innings.”
Hausman almost missed his opportunity for the majors in 1975, as his Spring Training debut was delayed thanks to injuring himself while running the bases in winter ball. He won a roster spot in the last week and had a solid rookie season for the Brewers, with a 3-6 record and 4.10 ERA. He appeared in 29 games, with 9 starts, and fanned 46 batters. He even managed to avoid the disabled list.
“I get injured every year, so I can’t get scared. I just seem to have injuries and injuries and injuries. Maybe I can get ’em all done while I’m young,” he cracked.
Hausman spent most of 1976 and all of 1977 in AAA Spokane. He was granted free agency at the end of the season and signed with with the Mets as the team’s first ever free agent. He was selected in the 1977 re-entry draft, which was a short-lived attempt to reign-in widespread free agency after the system was established in 1976.
He spent most of the next 5 seasons with the team, first as a starter and then, in 1980, as a reliever. He appeared in 55 games for the Mets in ’80, with all but 4 appearances coming out of the bullpen. He threw a career-high 122 innings and had a 6-5 record and 3.98 ERA. He tried to make a good impression with manager Joe Torre by showing up early to Spring Training, even though he wasn’t one of the 15 players who was officially “invited” to report early. He had to pay his own expenses until camp officially opened, so his move cost about $500 out of his own pocket. But he made the team out of Spring Training and avoided spending time in AAA for the first time with the Mets.
Hausman was sensational in 1981 — 2.18 ERA in 20 games with 13 K’s and a 1.061 WHIP — but he suffered a weird ankle injury when he tripped over a drainage cover while running in the outfield in Shea Stadium. The slow-healing ankle limited his availability in the strike-shortened season.
Hausman started the 1982 season feeling pretty pumped about being a Met. “With the new management here, I’d like to stick around. I think we’ll be contenders here soon, and that makes you want to stay put,” he said in June.
Unfortunately, he had a couple of stints on the disabled list and didn’t pitch much when he was healthy, appearing in just 20 games. He was traded to the Braves in September for pitcher Carlos Diaz as the Braves were vying for postseason contention.
“This is the greatest thing since butter. It’s the greatest thing since birth,” Hausman told the Daily News about the trade. His Braves career ended with 3-2/3 innings over 3 games and a 4.91 ERA. The Braves finishd first in the NL West, but Hausman was ineligible to be on the postseason roster and was designated for assignment by the team in December.
Though he pitched in the minors until 1985 for several AAA ballclubs, Hausman’s MLB career ended there. He had a 15-23 record and 3.80 ERA over 7 seasons, with 160 appearances. He struck out 180 batters in 441 innings and had 2 complete games and 3 saves.
In his post-baseball career, Hausman was a pitching coach for a Nevada Little League team that went to the semi finals of the Little League World Series tournament. His son Casey was a 3-sport athlete in high school and briefly played for Kansas State University in 2005.