William Earl Essick, nicknamed “Vinegar Bill,” was a professional baseball pitcher in the Major Leagues. A native of Illinois, he attended Knox College and Lombard College.
According to author Jim Sandoval’s 2011 book Can He Play? A Look at Baseball’s Scouts and Their Profession, Essick was credited with discovering or signing a number of Yankee future stars, including Joe DiMaggio, Lefty Gomez, Joe Gordon and Ralph Houk.
As a pitcher, Essick had a remarkable 1905 season in the Pacific Coast League for the Portland Beavers, throwing an astronomical 466.1 innings and ending up with a record of 23-30. He was 19-6 the following season before being called up to the major leagues by Cincinnati and making his Major League Baseball debut on September 12, 1906. Essick pitched for the Cincinnati Reds during the seasons of 1906 and 1907. He then became a longtime minor-league manager and team executive before joining the New York Yankees in 1935 as a scout.