Hoyt Wilhelm

James Hoyt Wilhelm (July 26, 1922 – August 23, 2002), nicknamed "Old Sarge", was an American Major League Baseball pitcher with the New York Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland Indians, Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, California Angels, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers between 1952 and 1972. Wilhelm was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985, and is one of 78 pitchers enshrined in the Hall.

Wilhelm grew up in North Carolina, fought in World War II, and then spent several years in the minor leagues before starting his major league career at the age of 29. He was best known for his knuckleball, which enabled him to have great longevity. He appeared occasionally as a starting pitcher, but pitched mainly as a reliever. Wilhelm won 124 games in relief, which is still the major league record. He was the first pitcher to reach 200 saves, and the first to appear in 1,000 games.

Wilhelm was nearly 30 years old when he entered the major leagues, and pitched until he was nearly 50. He retired with one of the lowest career earned run averages, 2.52, in baseball history. After retiring as a player in 1972 Wilhelm held longtime coaching jobs with the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. He lived in Sarasota, Florida for many years, and died there in 2002.

Hoyt Wilhelm
Hoyt-wilhelm
Wilhelm in 1953
Pitcher
Born: July 26, 1922
Huntersville, North Carolina
Died: August 23, 2002 (aged 80)
Sarasota, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 18, 1952, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
July 10, 1972, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record143–122
Earned run average2.52
Strikeouts1,610
Saves228
Teams
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction1985
Vote83.8% (eighth ballot)

Early life

Wilhelm was born in 1922, long thought to have been 1923.[a] He was one of eleven children born to poor tenant farmers John and Ethel (née Stanley) Wilhelm in Huntersville, North Carolina.[1][2] He played baseball at Cornelius High School in Cornelius, North Carolina.[3] Knowing he could not throw fast, he began experimenting with a knuckleball after reading about pitcher Dutch Leonard.[4] He practiced honing it with a tennis ball,[5] hoping it was his best shot at Big League success.[6]

James Hoyt Wilhelm Commemorative Statue
James Hoyt Wilhelm Commemorative Statue outside Huntersville Athletic Park in Huntersville, NC

Wilhelm made his professional debut with the Mooresville Moors of the Class-D North Carolina State League in 1942. He served in the United States Army in the European Theater during World War II. Wilhelm participated in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was wounded, earning the Purple Heart for his actions.[4][7] He played his entire career with a piece of shrapnel lodged in his back as a result of this injury.[6] He rose to the rank of staff sergeant. Wilhem was nicknamed "Old Sarge" because of his service in the military.[5]

He returned to the Moors in 1946, following his military service. Over the 1946 and 1947 seasons, Wilhelm earned 41 wins with Mooresville.[2] He later recalled being dropped from a Class D minor league team and having the manager tell him to forget about the knuckleball, but he persisted with it.[8] The Boston Braves purchased Wilhelm from Mooresville in 1947.[3] On November 20, 1947, Wilhelm was drafted by the New York Giants from the Braves in the 1947 minor league draft.[3]

Wilhelm's first assignment in the Giants organization was in Class B with the 1948 Knoxville Smokies, for whom he registered 13 wins and 9 losses. He spent a few games that season with the Class A Jacksonville Tars of the South Atlantic League. Wilhelm returned to Jacksonville in 1949, earning a 17–12 win-loss record and a 2.66 earned run average (ERA). With the Class AAA Minneapolis Millers in 1950, Wilhelm was the starting pitcher in 25 of his 35 games pitched, registering a 15–11 record with a 4.95 ERA. His ERA came down to 3.94 in 1951 with Minneapolis, but his record finished at 11–14. Wilhelm had been used in a similar role that season, mostly starting games but also making eleven relief appearances.[3]

Major league career

Early years

Though Wilhelm was primarily a starting pitcher in the minor leagues, he had been called up to a Giants team whose strong starting pitchers had led them to a National League (NL) pennant the year before. Giants manager Leo Durocher did not think that Wilhelm's knuckleball approach would be effective for more than a few innings at a time. He assigned Wilhelm to the team's bullpen.[9]

Wilhelm made his MLB debut with the Giants on April 18, 1952 at age 29, giving up a hit and two walks while only recording one out.[10] On April 23, 1952, in his third game with the New York Giants,[10] Wilhelm batted for the first time in the majors. Facing rookie Dick Hoover of the Boston Braves, Wilhelm hit a home run over the short right-field fence at the Polo Grounds. Although he went to bat a total of 432 times in his career, he never hit another home run.[11]

Pitching exclusively in relief, Wilhelm led the NL with a 2.43 ERA in his rookie year. He won 15 games and lost three. Wilhelm finished in the top ten in Most Valuable Player Award voting that season, becoming the first relief pitcher to finish that high.[12] He finished second in the Rookie of the Year Award voting. Wilhelm made 69 relief appearances in 1953, his win-loss record decreased to 7–8 and he issued 77 walks against 71 strikeouts.[3] Wilhelm was named to the NL All-Star team that year, but he did not play in the game because team manager Charlie Dressen did not think that any of the catchers could handle his knuckleball.[13] The Giants renewed Wilhelm's contract in February 1954.[14]

In 1954, Wilhelm was a key piece of the pitching staff that led the 1954 Giants to a world championship.[15] He pitched 111 innings, finishing with a 12–4 record and a 2.10 ERA.[13] During one of Wilhelm's appearances that season, catcher Ray Katt committed four passed balls in one inning to set the major league record; the record has subsequently been tied twice.[16] When Stan Musial set a record by hitting five home runs in a doubleheader that year, Wilhelm was pitching in the second game and gave up two of the home runs.[17] The 1954 World Series represented Wilhelm's only career postseason play.[3] He pitched ​2 13 innings over two games, earning a save in the third game.[18] The team won the World Series in a four-game sweep.[15]

Wilhelm's ERA increased to 3.93 over 59 games and 103 innings pitched in 1955, but he managed a 4–1 record. He finished the 1956 season with a 4–9 record and a 3.83 ERA in ​89 13 innings.[3] Sportswriter Bob Driscoll later attributed Wilhelm's difficulties in the mid-1950s to the decline in the career of Giants catcher Wes Westrum, writing that baseball was "a game of inches, and for Hoyt, Wes had been that inch in the right direction."[19]

Middle career

On February 26, 1957, Wilhelm was traded by the Giants to the St. Louis Cardinals for Whitey Lockman.[3] At the time of the trade, St. Louis manager Fred Hutchinson described Wilhelm as the type of pitcher who "makes us a definite pennant threat ... He'll help us where we need help the most."[20] In 40 games with the Cardinals that season, he earned 11 saves but finished with a 1–4 record and his highest ERA to that point in his career (4.25). The Cardinals placed him on waivers in September and he was claimed by the Cleveland Indians, who used him in two games that year.[3]

In 1958, Cleveland manager Bobby Bragan used Wilhelm occasionally as a starter. Although he had a 2.49 ERA, none of the Indians' catchers could handle Wilhelm's knuckleball. General manager Frank Lane, alarmed at the large number of passed balls, allowed the Baltimore Orioles to select Wilhelm off waivers on August 23, 1958.[3] In Baltimore, Wilhelm lived near the home of third baseman Brooks Robinson and their families became close friends.[4] On September 20 of that year, Wilhelm no-hit the eventual World Champion New York Yankees 1-0 at Memorial Stadium, in only his ninth career start.[4][21] He allowed two baserunners on walks and struck out eight.[22] The no-hitter had been threatened at one point in the ninth inning when Hank Bauer bunted along the baseline, but Robinson allowed the ball to roll and it veered foul.[23] The no-hitter was the first in the franchise's Baltimore history; the Orioles had moved from St. Louis after the 1953 season.

Hoyt Wilhelm 1959
Wilhelm in 1959

Orioles catchers had difficulty catching the Wilhelm knuckleball again in 1959 and they set an MLB record with 49 passed balls.[4] During one April game, catcher Gus Triandos had four passed balls while catching for Wilhelm and he described the game as "the roughest day I ever put in during my life."[24] Author Bill James has written that Wilhelm and Triandos "established the principle that a knuckleball pitcher and a big, slow catcher make an awful combination."[25] Triandos once said, "Heaven is a place where no one throws a knuckleball."[25]

Despite the passed balls, Wilhelm won the American League ERA title with a 2.19 ERA.[3] During the 1960 season, Orioles manager Paul Richards devised a larger mitt so his catchers could handle the knuckleball.[26][27] Richards was well equipped with starting pitchers during that year. By the middle of the season, he said that eight of his pitchers could serve as starters.[28] Wilhelm started 11 of the 41 games in which he appeared. He earned an 11–8 record, a 3.31 ERA and seven saves. He only started one game the following year, but he was an All-Star, registered 18 saves and had a 2.30 ERA.[3]

In 1962, Wilhelm had his fourth All-Star season, finishing with a 7–10 record, a 1.94 ERA and 15 saves. On January 14, 1963, Wilhelm was traded by the Orioles with Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson and Pete Ward to the Chicago White Sox for Luis Aparicio and Al Smith.[3] Early in that season, White Sox manager Al López said that Wilhelm had improved his pitching staff by 40 percent. He said that Wilhelm was "worth more than a 20-game winner, and he works with so little effort that he probably can last as long as Satchel Paige."[29] He registered 21 saves and a 2.64 ERA.[3]

In 1964, Wilhelm finished with career highs in both saves (27) and games pitched (73). His ERA decreased to 1.99 that season; it remained less than 2.00 through the 1968 season. In 1965, Wilhelm contributed to another passed balls record when Chicago catcher J. C. Martin allowed 33 of them in one season. That total set a modern single-season baseball record for the category.[30] Wilhelm's career-low ERA (1.31) came in 1967, when he earned an 8–3 record for the White Sox with 12 saves.[3]

In the 1968 season, Wilhelm was getting close to breaking the all-time games pitched record belonging to Cy Young (906 games). Chicago manager Eddie Stanky began to think about using Wilhelm as a starting pitcher for game number 907. However, the White Sox fired Stanky before the record came up. Wilhelm later broke the record as a relief pitcher. He also set MLB records for consecutive errorless games by a pitcher, career victories in relief, games finished and innings pitched in relief.[31] Despite Wilhelm's success, the White Sox, who had won at least 83 games per season in the 1960s, performed poorly. They finished 1968 with a 67–95 record.[32]

Wilhelm was noted during this period for his mentoring of relief pitcher Wilbur Wood, who came to the 1967 White Sox in a trade. Wood sometimes threw a knuckleball upon his arrival in Chicago, but Wilhelm encouraged him to throw it full-time. By 1968, Wood won 13 games, saved 16 games and earned a 1.87 ERA. He credited Wilhelm with helping him to master the knuckleball, as the White Sox coaches did not know much about how to throw it. Between 1968 and 1970, Wood pitched in more games (241) than any other pitcher and more innings (​400 13) than any other relief pitcher.[33]

After the 1968 season, MLB expanded and an expansion draft was conducted in which the new teams could select certain players from the established teams. The White Sox left Wilhelm unprotected, possibly because they did not believe that teams would have interest in a much older pitcher.[1] On October 15, 1968, Wilhelm was chosen in the expansion draft by the Kansas City Royals as the 49th pick. That offseason, he was traded by the Royals to the California Angels for Ed Kirkpatrick and Dennis Paepke.[3]

Later career

Wilhelm pitched 44 games for the 1969 California Angels and had a 2.47 ERA, ten saves, and a 5–7 record. On September 8, 1969, Wilhelm and Bob Priddy were traded to the Atlanta Braves for Clint Compton and Mickey Rivers. He finished the 1969 season by pitching in eight games for the Braves, earning four saves and recording a 0.73 ERA over ​12 13 innings pitched. Wilhelm then spent most of the 1970 season with the Braves, pitching in 50 games for the team and earning ten saves.[3]

On September 21, 1970, Wilhelm was selected off waivers by the Chicago Cubs, for whom he appeared in three games.[3] He was traded back to the Braves for Hal Breeden after the season.[3] As the Cubs had acquired Wilhelm late in the season to bolster their playoff contention, the trade back to the Braves was a source of controversy. Commissioner Bowie Kuhn investigated the transaction,[34] and in December ruled that he did not find evidence of impropriety associated with the transactions that sent Wilhelm to the Cubs and quickly back to the Braves.[35]

Wilhelm was released by the Braves on June 29, 1971, having pitched in three games for that year's Braves. He signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 10, 1971, and appeared in nine games for the Dodgers, giving up two earned runs in ​17 23 innings.[3] He also pitched in eight games that season for the team's Class AAA minor league affiliate, the Spokane Indians. Wilhelm started six of those games and registered a 3.89 ERA.[36]

Wilhelm pitched in 16 games for the Dodgers in 1972, registering a 4.62 ERA over 25 innings. The Dodgers released him on July 21, 1972. He never appeared in another game.[3]

At the time of his retirement, Wilhelm had pitched in a then major league record 1,070 games.[4] He is recognized as the first pitcher to have saved 200 games in his career, and the first pitcher to appear in 1,000 games. Wilhelm is one of the oldest players to have pitched in the major leagues; his final appearance was 16 days short of his 50th birthday.

Wilhelm retired with the lowest career earned run average of any major league hurler after 1927 (Walter Johnson) who had pitched more than 2,000 innings.

Later life

1983 Nashville Hoyt Wilhelm
Wilhelm served as pitching coach of the Nashville Sounds from 1982 to 1984.[37]

After his retirement as a player, Wilhelm managed two minor league teams in the Atlanta Braves system for single seasons. He led the 1973 Greenwood Braves of the Western Carolinas League to a 61–66 record, then had a 33–33 record with the 1975 Kingsport Braves of the Appalachian League.[36] He also worked as a minor league pitching coach for the New York Yankees for 22 years.[4] As a coach, Wilhelm said that he did not teach pitchers the knuckleball, believing that people had to be born with a knack for throwing it.[8] He sometimes worked individually with major league players who wanted to improve their knuckleballs, including Joe Niekro.[38] The Yankees gave Wilhelm permission to work with Mickey Lolich in 1979 even though Lolich pitched for the San Diego Padres.[39]

Wilhelm was on the ballot for the Baseball Hall of Fame for eight years before he was elected.[40] After Wilhelm failed to garner enough votes for induction in 1983, sportswriter Jim Murray criticized the voters, saying that while Wilhelm never had the look of a baseball player, he was "the best player in history at what he does."[30] He fell short by 13 votes in 1984.[41] Wilhelm was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985. At his induction ceremony, he said that he had achieved all three of his initial major league goals: appearing in a World Series, being named to an All-Star team, and throwing a no-hitter.[8]

He and his wife Peggy lived in Sarasota, Florida. They raised three children together: Patti, Pam, and Jim. Wilhelm died of heart failure in a Sarasota nursing home in 2002.[5]

Legacy

Wilhelm was known as a "relief ace", and his teams used him in a new way that became a trend. Rather than bringing in a relief pitcher only when the starting pitcher had begun to struggle, teams increasingly called upon their relief pitchers toward the end of any close game.[42] Wilhelm was the first relief pitcher elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.[4]

He is also remembered as one of the most successful and "probably the most famous 'old' player in history."[1] Although, due largely to his military service, Wilhelm did not debut in the major leagues until he was already 29 years old, he nonetheless managed to appear in 21 major league seasons. He earned the nickname "Old Folks" while he still had more than a decade left in his playing career.[1] He was the oldest player in Major League Baseball for each of his final seven seasons.[6]

Former teammate Moose Skowron commented on Wilhelm's key pitch, saying, "Hoyt was a good guy, and he threw the best knuckleball I ever saw. You never knew what Hoyt's pitch would do. I don't think he did either."[8] Baseball executive Roland Hemond agreed, saying, "Wilhelm's knuckleball did more than anyone else's ... There was so much action on it."[8]

Before Wilhelm, the knuckleball was primarily mixed in to older pitchers' repertoires at the end of their careers to offset their slowing fastballs and to reduce stress on their arms, thereby extending their careers. Wilhelm broke with tradition when he began throwing the pitch as a teenager and threw it nearly every pitch.[1] The New York Times linked his knuckleball with that of modern pitcher R.A. Dickey, as Wilhelm taught pitcher Charlie Hough the knuckleball in 1971, and Hough taught it to Dickey while coaching with the Texas Rangers.[43]

See also

Notes

  1. ^ Biographer Mark Armour notes that Wilhelm's birth year was erroneously believed to be 1923 until he died and his birth certificate was examined.[1]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f Armour, Mark. "Hoyt Wilhelm". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Remembering a Huntersville legend". The Herald Weekly. July 14, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Hoyt Wilhelm Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Wilhelm first reliever elected to Hall of Fame". ESPN Classic. ESPN. Associated Press. August 29, 2002. Retrieved November 1, 2011.
  5. ^ a b c Lueck, Thomas (August 25, 2002). "Hoyt Wilhelm, first reliever in the Hall of Fame, dies". New York Times. Retrieved November 11, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c "HOYT WILHELM". National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Allen, Thomas E. (2004). If They Hadn't Gone: How World War II Affected Major League Baseball. Springfield, Missouri: Southwest Missouri State University. pp. 150–152. ISBN 0-9748190-2-6.
  8. ^ a b c d e Rosenstein, Johnny (August 25, 2002). "Hoyt Wilhelm 1923–2002". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 16, 2015.
  9. ^ Armour, Mark L.; Levitt, Daniel R. (February 1, 2004). Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way. Potomac Books. p. 101. ISBN 978-1-57488-805-8. Retrieved January 24, 2015.
  10. ^ a b "Hoyt Wilhelm 1952 pitching gamelogs". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  11. ^ Jaffe, Chris. "60th anniversary: Hoyt Wilhelm's only homer". TheHardballTimes.com. Retrieved May 6, 2012.
  12. ^ Gillette, Gary; Palmer, Pete; Shea, Stuart (March 18, 2007). The ESPN Baseball Encyclopedia. Sterling Publishing Company. p. 1769. ISBN 978-1-4027-4771-7. Retrieved January 17, 2015.
  13. ^ a b Armour, Mark; Levitt, Daniel (2004). Paths to Glory: How Great Baseball Teams Got That Way. Potomac Books. pp. 101–102. ISBN 1574888056. Retrieved January 19, 2015.
  14. ^ "Five Giants ink 1954 contracts". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. February 8, 1954. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
  15. ^ a b Eck, Frank (September 27, 1955). "Ace reliefers (sic) kept Indians in 1955 race". Gettysburg Times. Associated Press. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  16. ^ "Red Sox catcher Ryan Lavarnway ties big league record with four passed balls". mlb.com. Retrieved September 27, 2013.
  17. ^ Schwartz, Larry. "Musial was gentleman killer". ESPN. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  18. ^ "1954 World Series". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  19. ^ Driscoll, Bob (August 30, 1959). "Hoyt Wilhelm: From skids to stardom". Spartanburg Herald-Journal. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  20. ^ "Cards enthuse over getting Hoyt Wilhelm". The Wilmington News. February 27, 1957. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  21. ^ Hoffman, Benjamin (June 20, 2012). "When Knucklers Danced With Greatness". The New York Times. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  22. ^ "Hoyt Wilhelm knuckeballs no-hitter over Yanks". Ocala Star-Banner. Associated Press. September 21, 1958. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  23. ^ Wilson, Doug (2014). Brooks: The Biography of Brooks Robinson. Macmillan Publishers. pp. 76–77. ISBN 1250033039. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  24. ^ Richman, Milton (April 24, 1959). "Wilhelm's knuckler helps set 'record'". Sarasota Journal. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  25. ^ a b James, Bill (May 11, 2010). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Simon & Schuster. p. 407. ISBN 978-1-4391-0693-8. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  26. ^ Wilks, Ed (May 28, 1960). "Courtney Uses Out-Sized Mitt To Catch Wilhelm's Knuckler". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. p. 7. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  27. ^ Neyer, Rob (2006). Rob Neyer's Big Book of Baseball Blunders. New York City: Fireside Books. ISBN 0-7432-8491-7.
  28. ^ Hensler, Paul (2012). The American League in Transition, 1965–1975: How Competition Thrived When the Yankees Didn't. McFarland & Company. p. 88. ISBN 1476600171. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  29. ^ Chamberlain, Charles (April 16, 1963). "Hurling gives Sox big boost". Gettysburg Times. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  30. ^ a b Murray, Jim (January 31, 1983). "Voters strike out". Wilmington Morning Star. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  31. ^ Eisenberg, Harry (December 15, 1968). "45-year-old Hoyt Wilhelm set six records in 1968". The Tuscaloosa News. Associated Press. Retrieved November 13, 2011.
  32. ^ "Chicago White Sox Team History & Encyclopedia". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 28, 2015.
  33. ^ Wakefield, Tim (2011). Knuckler: My Life with Baseball's Most Confounding Pitch. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. pp. 27–28. ISBN 0547517718. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  34. ^ Couch, Dick (December 3, 1970). "The Old Man of the Majors Hoyt Wilhelm Causes Debate". Lewiston Evening Journal. Associated Press. Retrieved November 12, 2011.
  35. ^ "Baseball sessions not too fruitful". The Lexington Dispatch. December 5, 1970. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  36. ^ a b "Hoyt Wilhelm Minor League Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  37. ^ "Hall of Famers". Southern League. Minor League Baseball. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  38. ^ "Knuckleball master rescues Niekro". Wilmington Morning Star. Associated Press. April 23, 1987. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  39. ^ "Lolich 'knuckling' down, eyes Padres' starting job". Ludington Daily News. Associated Press. February 28, 1979. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  40. ^ Hochman, Stan (January 10, 1985). "Hoyt's knuckler not always in demand". Bangor Daily News. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  41. ^ Smizik, Bob (January 5, 1985). "Hall of Fame's loss". The Pittsburgh Press. Retrieved January 18, 2015.
  42. ^ James, Bill (May 11, 2010). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. Simon and Schuster. p. 234. ISBN 978-1-4391-0693-8. Retrieved January 20, 2015.
  43. ^ Waldstein, David (June 21, 2012). "Wilhelm, Grandfather of Dickey's Knuckleball, Once No-Hit Yankees". The New York Times. Retrieved January 16, 2015.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Jim Bunning
No-hitter pitcher
September 20, 1958
Succeeded by
Don Cardwell
1954 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1954 New York Giants season was the franchise's 72nd season. The Giants won the National League pennant with a record of 97 wins and 57 losses and then defeated the Cleveland Indians in the World Series.

1954 World Series

The 1954 World Series matched the National League champion New York Giants against the American League champion Cleveland Indians. The Giants swept the Series in four games to win their first championship since 1933, defeating the heavily favored Indians, who had won an AL-record 111 games in the regular season (a record since broken by the 1998 New York Yankees with 114 and again by the 2001 Seattle Mariners with 116, tying the 1906 Chicago Cubs for the most wins in a season). The Series is perhaps best-remembered for "The Catch", a sensational running catch made by Giants center fielder Willie Mays in Game 1, snaring a long drive by Vic Wertz near the outfield wall with his back to the infield. It is also remembered for utility player Dusty Rhodes' clutch hitting in three of the four games, including his pinch walk-off "Chinese home run" that won Game 1, barely clearing the 258-foot (79 m) right-field fence at the Polo Grounds. Giants manager Leo Durocher, who had managed teams to three National League championships, won his first and only World Series title as a manager. The Giants, who would move west to become the San Francisco Giants, would not win a World Series again until the 2010 season.

This was the first time that the Indians had been swept in a World Series and the first time that the Giants had swept an opponent in four games (their 1922 World Series sweep included a controversial tie game). Game 2 was the last World Series and playoff game at the Polo Grounds, and Game 4 was the last World Series and playoff game at Cleveland Stadium. The Indians would be kept out of the World Series until 1995, a year after Jacobs Field opened.

1957 Cleveland Indians season

The 1957 Cleveland Indians season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth in the American League with a record of 76–77, 21½ games behind the New York Yankees

1957 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1957 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 76th season in St. Louis, Missouri and its 66th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 87–67 during the season and finished second in the National League, eight games behind the Milwaukee Braves.

1958 Baltimore Orioles season

The 1958 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 6th in the American League with a record of 74 wins and 79 losses, 17.5 games behind the AL and World Series champion New York Yankees. The team was managed by Paul Richards, and played their home games at Baltimore's Memorial Stadium, which hosted the All-Star Game that season.

1961 Major League Baseball All-Star Game (first game)

The first 1961 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was played in Candlestick Park in San Francisco on July 11, 1961. The National League scored two runs in the bottom of the tenth inning to win 5–4. Stu Miller was the winning pitcher and Hoyt Wilhelm was charged with the loss.

1963 Chicago White Sox season

The 1963 Chicago White Sox season was the team's 63rd season in the major leagues, and its 64th season overall. They finished with a record 94–68, good enough for second place in the American League, 10½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees.

1969 California Angels season

The 1969 California Angels season was a season in American baseball. In the first season following the split of the American League into two divisions, the Angels finished third in the newly established American League West with a record of 71 wins and 91 losses.

1970 Atlanta Braves season

The 1970 Atlanta Braves season was the fifth season in Atlanta along with the 100th season as a franchise overall. The team finished fifth in the National League West with a record of 76–86, 26 games behind the National League Champion Cincinnati Reds.

1971 Atlanta Braves season

The 1971 Atlanta Braves season was the sixth season in Atlanta along with the 101st season as a franchise overall.

1985 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1985 followed the system in place since 1978.

The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and

elected two, Lou Brock and Hoyt Wilhelm.

The BBWAA petitioned the Hall of Fame Board of Directors to reconsider the eligibility of Ken Boyer, Curt Flood and Ron Santo with the intention of restoring their names to the 1985 ballot. Each had failed to achieve 5% in their first years on the ballot (Boyer, 1975–79, Flood, 1977–79 and Santo, 1980). The Board approved and Boyer, Flood and Santo returned to the ballot.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.

It also selected two players, Enos Slaughter and Arky Vaughan.

300 save club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 300 save club is the group of pitchers who have recorded 300 or more regular-season saves in their careers. Most commonly a relief pitcher ("reliever" or "closer") earns a save by being the final pitcher of a game in which his team is winning by three or fewer runs and pitching at least one inning without losing the lead. The final pitcher of a game can earn a save by getting at least one batter out to end the game with the winning run on base, at bat, or on deck, or by pitching the last three innings without relinquishing the lead, regardless of score.

The statistic was created by Jerome Holtzman in 1959 to "measure the effectiveness of relief pitchers" and was adopted as an official statistic by MLB in 1969. The save has been retroactively measured for past pitchers where applicable. Hoyt Wilhelm retired in 1972 and recorded just 31 saves from 1969 onwards, for example, but holds 227 total career saves.Mariano Rivera holds the MLB save record with 652. Only Rivera and Trevor Hoffman have exceeded 500 or 600 saves, and Hoffman was the first to achieve either. Rivera, Hoffman, Lee Smith, Francisco Rodríguez, John Franco, and Billy Wagner are the only pitchers to have recorded 400 or more saves. Rollie Fingers was the first player to record 300 saves, reaching the mark on April 21, 1982. Craig Kimbrel is the most recent, achieving his 300th on May 5, 2018. In total, 29 players have recorded 300 or more saves in their career. Only eight relievers – Dennis Eckersley, Fingers, Goose Gossage, Hoffman, Rivera, Smith, Bruce Sutter, and Wilhelm – have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; all but Wilhelm are also members of the 300 saves club. Kimbrel and Fernando Rodney are the only members of the 300 save club who are still active players. Of them, Kimbrel is the active leader in saves with 333.

Closer (baseball)

In baseball, a closing pitcher, more frequently referred to as a closer (abbreviated CL), is a relief pitcher who specializes in getting the final outs in a close game when his team is leading. The role is often assigned to a team's best reliever. Before the 1990s, pitchers in similar roles were referred to as a fireman, short reliever, and stopper. A small number of closers have won the Cy Young Award. Mariano Rivera, Dennis Eckersley, Trevor Hoffman, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm are closers who have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Knuckleball

A knuckleball or knuckler is a baseball pitch thrown to minimize the spin of the ball in flight, causing an erratic, unpredictable motion. The air flow over a seam of the ball causes the ball to transition from laminar to turbulent flow. This transition adds a deflecting force on the side of the baseball. This makes the pitch difficult for batters to hit, but also difficult for pitchers to control and catchers to catch; umpires are challenged as well, as the ball's irregular motion through the air makes it harder to call balls and strikes. A pitcher who throws knuckleballs is known as a knuckleballer.

List of Baltimore Orioles no-hitters

The Baltimore Orioles are a Major League Baseball franchise based in Baltimore, Maryland. They play in the American League East division, and were previously known in earlier years as the “Milwaukee Brewers” (1901) and “St. Louis Browns” (1902 to 1953) pitchers for the Orioles have thrown nine no-hitters in franchise history. A no-hitter is officially recognized by Major League Baseball only "when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings", though one or more batters "may reach base via a walk, an error, a hit by pitch, a passed ball or wild pitch on strike three, or catcher's interference". No-hitters of less than nine complete innings were previously recognized by the league as official; however, several rule alterations in 1991 changed the rule to its current form. A no-hitter is rare enough that one team in Major League Baseball has never had a pitcher accomplish the feat. No perfect games, a special subcategory of no-hitter, have been thrown in Orioles history. As defined by Major League Baseball, "in a perfect game, no batter reaches any base during the course of the game."Earl Hamilton threw the first no-hitter in Orioles history on August 30, 1912; the most recent no-hitter was a combined effort by Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson and Gregg Olson on July 13, 1991. No-hitters have been thrown by four left-handed starting pitchers and five right-handers. Seven no-hitters were thrown at home and two on the road. There have been two no-hitters in April, three in May, one in July, two in August, and one in September. The longest interval between no-hitters was 36 years from May 6, 1917 (Bob Groom) to May 6, 1953 (Bobo Holloman). The shortest interval was one day, May 5, 1917 (Ernie Koob) to May 6, 1917 (Groom). The franchise no-hit the Oakland Athletics (formerly “Philadelphia Athletics”) the most, three times, by Holloman in 1953, Jim Palmer in 1969, and a combined no-hitter by Milacki, Flanagan, Williamson, and Olson in 1991. In two no-hitters, the team allowed at least one run: by Hamilton in 1912 (which was a loss) and a combined no-hitter by Steve Barber and Stu Miller in 1967. The most baserunners allowed in a no-hitter was a combined no-no by Barber and Miller, who allowed 14 in a 2–1 loss to the Detroit Tigers in 1967. Of the nine no-hitters, two have been won by a score of 1–0 and two by a score of 6–0, more common than any other result. The largest margin of victory was an 8–0 win by Palmer in 1969. The smallest margin of victory was a 1–0 wins by Koob in 1917 and Hoyt Wilhelm in 1958.

The umpire is an integral part of any no-hitter. The umpire makes any decision “which involves judgment, such as, but not limited to, whether a batted ball is fair or foul, whether a pitch is a strike or a ball, or whether a runner is safe or out… [the umpire’s judgment on such matters] is final." Part of the duties of the umpire making calls at home plate includes defining the strike zone, which "is defined as that area over homeplate (sic) the upper limit of which is a horizontal line at the midpoint between the top of the shoulders and the top of the uniform pants, and the lower level is a line at the hollow beneath the kneecap.” These calls define every baseball game and are therefore integral to the completion of any no-hitter. Eight different umpires presided over each of the franchise’s nine no-hitters.

The manager is another integral part of a no-hitter. For every game, the manager determines the starting rotation (who pitches in each game) as well as the batting order and defensive lineup. A manager’s decisions can contribute to a no-hitter. Seven different managers have overseen the franchise’s nine no-hitters.

List of Chicago White Sox nicknames

In the last 100-plus years, the Chicago White Sox have had many players with colorful and memorable nicknames from "Shoeless Joe" Jackson to "Old Aches & Pains" Appling, Minnie the "Cuban Comet" Minoso, "Little Louie" Aparicio, "Black Jack" McDowell, and Frank "The Big Hurt" Thomas. These are some of the best.

Dick Allen: "Wampum"

Sandy Alomar: "Iron Pony"

Luis Aparicio: "Little Louie"

Luke Appling: "Fumblefoot" or "Kid Boots" or "Old Aches & Pains"

Cuke Barrows, Roland Barrows: "Cuke"

Bruno Block, James John Blochowicz: "Bruno"

Ken Boyer: "Cap" or "Captain"

Smoky Burgess, Forrest Harrill Burgess: "Smoky"

Iván Calderón: "Ivan The Terrible"

Norm Cash: "Stormin’ Norman"

Eddie Cicotte: "Knuckles"

Rocky Colavito, Rocco Colavito: "Rocky"

Eddie Collins: "Cocky"

José Contreras: "Commander"

Joe Crede: "Clutch Norris"

Bucky Dent, Russell Earl O’Day: "Bucky" or "Bucky 'Fucking' Dent"

Octavio Dotel: "Ol' Dirty"

Richard Dotson: "Dot"

Brian Downing: "Incredible Hulk"

Red Faber, Urban Clarence Faber: "Red"

Carlton Fisk: "Pudge"

Nellie Fox, Jacob Nelson Fox,: "Nellie", "Little Nel", or "The Mighty Mite"

Freddy García: "Chief"

Ralph Garr: "Road Runner"

Kid Gleason, William Gleason: "Kid"

Goose Gossage, Richard Michael Gossage: "Goose" or "The White Gorilla"

Craig Grebeck: "The Little Hurt"

Bo Jackson, Vincent Edward Jackson: "Bo"

Joe Jackson: "Shoeless Joe"

Bobby Jenks: "Big Bad Bobby Jenks"

Lance Johnson: "One Dog"

Ted Kluszewski: "Big Klu"

Paul Konerko: "Paulie"

Carlos Lee: "El Caballo"

Ted Lyons: "Sunday Teddy"

Jack McDowell: "Black Jack"

Catfish Metkovich, George Michael Metkovich: "Catfish"

Minnie Miñoso, Saturnino Orestes Armas (Arrieta) Miñoso: "Minnie" or "The Cuban Comet"

Blue Moon Odom, Johnny Lee Odom: "Blue Moon"

Magglio Ordóñez: "El Caribe Mayor (The Caribbean Mayor)" or "Mags"

Tom Paciorek: "Wimpy"

Don Pall: "The Pope"

Herbert Perry: "The Milkman"

Bubba Phillips, John Melvin Phillips: "Bubba"

Billy Pierce: "Billy the Kid"

Scott Podsednik: "Pods"

Carlos Quentin: "TCQ"

Tim Raines: "Rock"

Alexei Ramírez: "The Cuban Missile"

Ray Schalk: "The Cracker"

Tom Seaver: "Tom Terrific"

Bill Skowron: "Moose"

Moose Solters, Julius Joseph Soltesz: "Moose" or "Lemons"

Nick Swisher: "Dirty Thirty"

Frank Thomas: "The Big Hurt"

Jim Thome: "Big Jimmy" or "Mr. Incredible"

Javier Vázquez: "The Silent Assassin"

Robin Ventura: "Batman"

Dayán Viciedo: "The Tank"

Ed Walsh: "Big Ed"

Skeeter Webb, James Laverne Webb: "Skeeter"

Hoyt Wilhelm: "Old Sarge"

Walt Williams: "No Neck"

Taffy Wright, Taft Shedron Wright:: "Taffy"

Early Wynn: "Gus"

List of Chicago White Sox team records

This is a list of team records for the Chicago White Sox professional baseball team.

List of knuckleball pitchers

Knuckleball pitchers are baseball players who rely on the knuckleball as their primary pitch, or pitch primarily based on their ability to throw a knuckleball. The inventor of the knuckleball has never been established, although several pitchers from the early 20th century have been credited. Baseball statistician and historian Rob Neyer named four individuals in an article he wrote in the 2004 book The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers as potentially deserving credit, any of whom may have originated the pitch in either the 1907 or 1908 seasons. Nap Rucker of the Brooklyn Dodgers came up to the majors in 1907, initially throwing hard stuff but later switching to the knuckleball. A 1908 article credited Lew Moren as the inventor of the pitch. Ed Cicotte earned a full-time spot with the Detroit Tigers in 1908, earning the nickname "Knuckles" for his signature pitch. A picture of Ed Summers showed him gripping what he called a "dry spitter" using a variation of the knuckleball grip using the knuckles of his index and middle fingers.Unlike almost every other pitch in baseball, the knuckleball's erratic trajectory has often required teams to use dedicated catchers, often using specialized mitts, to field the deliveries. Clint Courtney used a specially constructed catcher's mitt, about 50% larger than the conventional mitts used at the time, to catch knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm during a game in May 1960. Umpire Al Smith credited the use of the glove with preventing three or four passed balls in that one game. The lower velocity of the knuckleball is credited with giving some who use it the ability to pitch more often and to sustain pitching careers far longer than those who rely on their fastball to get outs. Tim Wakefield pitched on consecutive days, when most starting pitchers in the 21st century throw after four days of rest. Hoyt Wilhelm pitched until he was almost 50 and Phil Niekro used the pitch until he was 48. Wakefield retired at 45.

The prevalence of the knuckleballer has varied over time. The 1945 Washington Senators finished 1½ games out of first place with a starting pitching staff that almost exclusively used the pitch, with four knuckleballers in the rotation. That season, the team's three catchers — regular catcher Rick Ferrell and backups Al Evans and Mike Guerra — combined for 40 passed balls, more than double that of any other team in the league.Baseball funnyman Bob Uecker, who was Phil Niekro's personal catcher with the Braves in 1967, has been quoted as saying "The way to catch a knuckleball is to wait until it stops rolling, then go pick it up."Wilbur Wood, Joe Niekro, and R.A. Dickey have won The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award. In 2012, Dickey became the only knuckleballer to have won the Cy Young Award. Phil Niekro is the only knuckleball pitcher to win 300 games.

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