Bill Pulsipher pitched 19 seasons of professional baseball, spent six seasons in Major League Baseball with the New York Mets, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago White Sox, and St. Louis Cardinals. as well as four seasons with the Long Island Ducks from 2004-2007. Pulsipher is the father of Leyton Pulsipher, member of Center Moriches varsity baseball 2022 Long Island Champions, who is committed to Central Connecticut State this fall. Pulsipher currently is a pitching instructor at 365 Athletics in Bellport.
TIDE: In June 1991, you were 17 years old and just graduated Fairfax High School in Virginia, then were drafted in the second round 66th overall by the New York Mets. What were your initial emotions on being drafted?
Pulsipher: Well, I was ecstatic, obviously, to be drafted by the Mets the team I had grown up watching play. Even though I wasn’t from New York, I was a Mets fan because obviously the Mets were very good during the mid-‘80s when I was growing up, so I was ecstatic to be drafted by the team that I had followed growing up. I actually wore a Mets hat throughout high school, so it was a dream come true. My favorite team of all time.
Tide: Your third season of professional baseball was quite a summer! As a starting pitcher on the Binghamton Mets, the New York Mets Double A affiliate, you, Edgardo Alfonzo, and Jason Isringhausen were the superstars of the team, leading your club to the Eastern League Championship. You threw a no-hitter in Game 2 of the championship series and that season logged 201 innings, striking out 171 batters. Talk about the thrill of that season and about playing ball with Alfonzo, Isringhausen, and other teammates in which you reunited a few years later in Queens.
Pulsipher: That was a special team. The majority of that group we lost in the finals the previous year in the Florida State League, and we kind of felt like we had some unfinished business, and obviously moving up to Double A, that’s kind of the most competitive league that’s full of prospects, so we kind of felt like we had to go take of our business, and that was a heck of a season and great group of guys there. Rey Ordonez ended up coming and being on that team during the season as well. He came up. Alberto Castillo played in the Major Leagues with the Mets as well, and that group of guys kind of came up together, so to speak, and it was a special, special summer. One of the best summers of my life and a lot of fun.
Tide: In June 1995, you were 21 and took the mound at Shea vs. the Houston Astros making your Major League debut. I know it didn’t go the way you would have liked, but can you describe your emotions when you first ran out of the dugout and took your warmups about to toe the rubber in Flushing?
Pulsipher: Well, I would say that the first inning didn’t go how I would like. I always felt like I gave up five runs in the first inning; those were a couple of balls hit into the gaps. I ended up going seven innings that day and did get the loss and only gave up two more runs in the final six innings that I threw, and even though I lost I kind of felt like I came out with the win, because to be able to go from giving up five runs in the first inning to be able to go through and walk off the mound after getting that final out as opposed to the manager come out and take the ball from you. But that’s another thing I tell people. That’s the second thing I did that will never happen again, is I threw 131 pitches my first start in the Major Leagues and that will never happen again. I was very nervous in the first inning, being a Mets fan growing up and now living the dream, you’re standing there on Shea Stadium field, the same field that Dwight Gooden, my hero growing up, and Tom Seaver and all the great names of the past, and it was a great moment and it didn’t go exactly how I wanted, but like I said, to be able to walk off the mound after getting 21 outs as opposed to having to walk out of there after the first inning giving up five runs. But it was a dream come true.
Tide: What brought you to Long Island?
Pulsipher: Obviously, playing for the Mets originally. And my wife, who I met in Florida, her family is originally from Lindenhurst, West Babylon area, and when I got done playing I was coaching for a while and coaching wasn’t making enough money and [I] had young kids at the time, so my brother-in-law was in the construction business and I had got offered a chance to go work there with him and got into the road construction and my wife wanted to go back up to Long Island, and that was where my opportunity to work was, so we ended up back out here.
Tide: You were a starting pitcher on the 2004 Long Island Ducks championship team. Talk about how exciting that must have been bringing the first championship to Long Island.
Pulsipher: It was a lot of fun. We had a really good group of guys—veteran guys, a lot of guys that had been playing a long time, and guys that had big league service time, and guys that were hungry to still get back, and I did end up signing with Seattle during that year and went out and played Triple A and finished the season there. I was actually well, but my back went out on me and I had back surgery and I missed the last couple weeks of the season and the opportunity to get called up in Seattle, but I was healthy enough to come back for the playoffs with the Ducks and there were a few guys that signed elsewhere during the year. We all came back towards playoff time and finished the goal there. I always tell people, it doesn’t matter where you’re at to be able to win a championship, especially those athletes that go their whole lives, whether it be Little League or high school or all the way up to pro ball and the Major Leagues, that never get a chance to play in the championship, let alone win a championship.
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