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03/02/09 4:09 AM EST

Former Yankee Sturdivant dies

Former New York Yankees pitcher Tom Sturdivant has died at the age of 78.

Sturdivant, a right-hander nicknamed "Snake" for his fearsome curveball, pitched for seven teams in a nine-year Major League career, including two career years for the Yankees in 1956 and 1957. He pitched for American League pennant-winning teams in 1955, 1956 and 1957. Sturdivant passed away Saturday in Oklahoma City.

Sturdivant was born in Gordon, Kansas, in 1930 and made it to the Majors on April 14, 1955. The following year, he split time between the Yankees bullpen and the starting rotation and went 16-8 with a 3.30 ERA, going the distance in Game 4 of the World Series in a 6-2 victory over the Brooklyn Dodgers that would serve at the precursor to Don Larsen's famous perfect game in Game 5 the next day.

In 1957, Sturdivant made a career-high 28 starts and went 16-6 with a 2.54 ERA. He made another World Series start in Game 4 of that World Series, taking a no-decision in a game -- and series -- the Yankees would lose in seven games to the Milwaukee Braves.

Sturdivant injured his arm the following year and never started more than 12 games in a season after that, splitting time between the Kansas City Athletics, Boston Red Sox, Pittsburgh Pirates, Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers and New York Mets. He retired in 1964 with a lifetime record of 59-51 and a 3.74 ERA.

Doug Miller is reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.