May 27, 2005
By Jason Krump
WSU Athletic Media Relations
June 2, 2005 is a date that former major league baseball player Wesley Stock has been looking forward to for a long time.
Nearly a half century.
That Thursday, 49 years after attending Washington State University (at that time Washington State College), Stock will receive his bachelor's degree from President Emeritus Sam Smith.
Stock will receive his degree during the dinner program at the King County Cougar Club Classic at Meridian Valley Country Club in Kent, Wash. As then WSU President, Smith signed the diploma in 1986. Smith is planning to wear his presidential cap and gown and Stock will also wear a graduation cap and gown for the presentation.
"I was really surprised," Stock said of first hearing the news that he will receive his degree. "This is what my mother always wanted."
Stock, who compiled a 27-13 record during his nine-year major league career as a relief pitcher for the Baltimore Orioles and Kansas City Athletics, attended WSC from 1953-56. A pitcher for Buck Bailey's Cougar baseball team, Stock signed a professional contract with the Orioles in 1956 and left school a few hours shy of completing his degree requirements.
Years later, WSU changed the number of hours required for a bachelor's degree from 128 to 120. Stock found himself in a category of people who could qualify for their degree, provided they had at least 120 hours completed and the appropriate academic college certified the person as completing all requirements for graduation.
The College of Education approved a degree for Stock in 1986 but it was not awarded. The degree has been in storage at the Lewis Alumni Center and was located when files were being cleaned out.
Bob Smawley, a longtime employee at WSU who now works at the alumni center, recognized Stock's name as a student-athlete during the time that Smawley was on the staff of the WSC athletic department.
Smawley contacted Stock at his home in Allyn, Wash., where he retired after 36 years in professional baseball, and informed Stock that his degree will finally be presented to him.
"When I left school I thought I was three hours short," the Shelton High graduate said. "I was really surprised to hear the news from Bob. To hear it from him was just as exciting as receiving my degree."
In addition to his .675 winning percentage, Stock ended his playing career with a 3.60 ERA and 22 saves. During the 1963 and 1964 seasons, Stock tallied a 15-3 record including a 7-0 mark in 1963. After his playing career ended in 1967, Stock went on to coach for several professional ball clubs, including the Seattle Mariners, where he served as a pitching coach from 1977-81 and a television commentator from 1982-83.