Vic Willis

Victor Gazaway Willis (April 12, 1876 – August 3, 1947) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher during the 1890s and 1900s. In 14 seasons in the National League (NL), he pitched for the Boston Beaneaters, Pittsburgh Pirates, and St. Louis Cardinals. In 513 career games, Willis pitched 3,996 innings and posted a win–loss record of 249–205, with 388 complete games, 50 shutouts, and a 2.63 earned run average (ERA). Nicknamed the "Delaware Peach", he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.

Vic Willis
VicWillis
Pitcher
Born: April 12, 1876
Cecil County, Maryland
Died: August 3, 1947 (aged 71)
Elkton, Maryland
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 20, 1898, for the Boston Beaneaters
Last MLB appearance
September 5, 1910, for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Win–loss record249–205
Earned run average2.63
Strikeouts1651
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
Induction1995
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early life

Willis was born on April 12, 1876 in Cecil County, Maryland. He moved to Newark, Delaware as a young boy, where he attended school. He attended high school at Newark Academy, and played both on the high school baseball team and in semi-pro baseball leagues throughout Delaware.[1] Prior to joining the major leagues, Willis played football and baseball for University of Delaware, then known as Delaware College, despite never attending the college. This was due to their low enrollment at the time, which allowed them to add local talent to fill out their roster.[2]

Willis began his professional baseball career in 1895 with the Harrisburg Senators of the Pennsylvania State League. After the team ceased operations in June, he moved to the Lynchburg Hill Climbers of the Virginia State League. The following year, he was promoted to the Syracuse Stars of the Eastern League. He finished the season with a 10–6 win-loss record, but had spent most of the season battling illness, which caused him to end his season in July.[1] Willis returned to the Stars for the 1897 season and, after establishing a curveball in the offseason, finished the season with 21 wins, with Syracuse winning the league championship in the process. After the season ended, Willis was purchased by the Boston Beaneaters for Fred Lake and $1,000.[1] The Beaneaters acquired Willis to fill the void left by Jack Stivetts, who was near retirement due to an arm injury.[3]

Career

Willis began his major league career with the Beaneaters on April 20, 1898 in a relief appearance against the Baltimore Orioles, allowing eight runs, three walks, and a wild pitch in an 18–2 loss while also hitting two batters. In his next appearance, he beat the Washington Senators, 11–4, in his first career start. He remained in the starting rotation throughout the season, but at times struggled with his control. In one game against the Philadelphia Phillies, opposing pitcher Red Donahue threw a no-hitter, while Willis allowed eight walks in a 5–0 loss.[4] He finished the season with 25 wins, 13 losses, a 2.84 ERA, 148 walks, and 160 strikeouts. He finished second in walks and third in strikeouts in the National League.[5]

Vic Willis Catcher's Mask
Willis wearing a catcher's mask, circa 1900.

Despite being a Hall of Fame pitcher, Willis holds the post-1900 record for most losses in a single season (29, in 1905).[6] For the three seasons from 1903 to 1905, Willis compiled a dismal record with the Boston Beaneaters of 42 wins against 72 losses. However, his ERA during those three years averaged 3.02 and in two of those years his ERA was under 3.00. Despite Willis' performance on the mound during those three seasons, the Boston offense could only muster a combined .238 batting average over those seasons. When he changed teams to the Pittsburgh Pirates for 1906, whose offense had a combined batting average of .256 over the four years Willis was with the team, Willis compiled a record of 88–46. His ERA for those four years was 2.08.

Willis was on one World Series championship team, the 1909 Pirates. He lost one game during the Series, pitching against Ty Cobb's Detroit Tigers.[5]

His final major league season was 1910, with the St. Louis Cardinals. Next season Willis pitched for a semipro team in his hometown Newark, Delaware.[7]

Later life

After retirement, Willis purchased and operated the Washington House, a hotel in his hometown of Newark, Delaware. Willis died in 1947 and is interred in St. John Cemetery in Newark, Delaware.[5]

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted Vic Willis in 1995, as the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame had done in 1977. He was the last pitcher to throw a no-hitter in the 19th century.

See also

Notes

  1. ^ a b c Levitt, Daniel R. "Vic Willis". The Baseball Biography Project. The Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  2. ^ Fleitz, 177
  3. ^ Fleitz, 178
  4. ^ Fleitz, 179
  5. ^ a b c "Vic Willis Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference, LLC. Retrieved August 10, 2010.
  6. ^ Burke, Larry (1995). The Baseball Chronicles - A Decade-by-Decade History of the All-American Pastime. New York, NY: Smithmark Publishing. p. 18. ISBN 0831706805.
  7. ^ Lanctot, Neil (1994). Fair Dealing and Clean Playing: the Hilldale Club and the development of black professional baseball, 1910–1932. Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland. p. 10. ISBN 0-89950-988-6.

References

  • Fleitz, David L. (2004). Ghosts in the Gallery at Cooperstown: Sixteen Forgotten Members of the Hall of Fame. McFarland & Company. ISBN 0-7864-1749-8.

External links

Achievements
Preceded by
Deacon Phillippe
No-hitter pitcher
August 7, 1899
Succeeded by
Noodles Hahn
1898 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1898 Boston Beaneaters season was the 28th season of the franchise. The Beaneaters won their second straight National League pennant and their eighth overall. It was also their fifth, and last, of the decade. This team has been cited (along with the 1880s St. Louis Browns and the 1890s Baltimore Orioles) as one of the greatest of the 19th century. This was the end of a tremendous run of success for the team, which won four straight National Association titles (1872–1875) and eight National League pennants (1877-78, 1883, 1891-93, 1897-98).

The starting line-up featured three Hall of Famers: third baseman Jimmy Collins and outfielders Billy Hamilton and Hugh Duffy. Collins led the league with 15 home runs, and Hamilton hit .369 with 54 stolen bases. The pitching staff was led by Hall of Famers Kid Nichols and Vic Willis. Nichols led the NL with 31 wins and had an ERA of 2.13.

1900 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1900 Boston Beaneaters season was the 30th season of the franchise.

1901 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1901 Boston Beaneaters season was the 31st season of the franchise.

1902 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1902 Boston Beaneaters season was the 32nd season of the franchise.

1903 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1903 Boston Beaneaters season was the 33rd season of the franchise. The team finished sixth in the National League with a record of 58–80, 32 games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1904 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1904 Boston Beaneaters season was the 34th season of the franchise.

1905 Boston Beaneaters season

The 1905 Boston Beaneaters season was the 35th season of the franchise. The Beaneaters finished seventh in the National League with a record of 51 wins and 103 losses.

1906 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1906 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 25th season of the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise; the 20th in the National League. The Pirates finished third in the league standings with a record of 93–60.

1907 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1907 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 26th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. It involved the Pirates finishing second in the National League.

The offense was led by Tommy Leach and Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke. Wagner led the NL in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and stolen bases. The Pirates scored the most runs of any team.

1908 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1908 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 27th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise. The team finished tied for second place in the National League with the New York Giants, one game behind the Chicago Cubs. The Pirates spent 46 days in first place, and were on top on October 3. However, they lost their last game to the Cubs, which set up a replay of the infamous "Merkle" game between the Cubs and the Giants. The Cubs took it to win the pennant. Pittsburgh finished tied for second place with the Giants, just one game back. It was one of the closest races in baseball history.

Shortstop Honus Wagner had one of the most dominating hitting performances of all-time. The "Flying Dutchman" led the majors in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs batted in, and stolen bases. He missed the triple crown by two home runs. For his efforts, Wagner was paid $5,000, possibly the most on the team.

1909 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates season was the 28th season for the Pittsburgh Pirates franchise, during which they won the National League pennant with a record of 110–42 and their first World Series over the Detroit Tigers. Led by shortstop Honus Wagner and outfielder-manager Fred Clarke, the Pirates scored the most runs in the majors. Wagner led the league in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and runs batted in. Pirates owner Barney Dreyfuss opened the Pirates' new ballpark, named Forbes Field, on June 30, 1909.The Pirates' 110 wins remain a team record, a record they set in the last game of the season by beating the Cincinnati Reds 7–4 in muddy conditions on October 5. It is in fact the best regular season win percentage by any World Series winning team.

1910 St. Louis Cardinals season

The 1910 St. Louis Cardinals season was the team's 29th season in St. Louis, Missouri and the 19th season in the National League. The Cardinals went 63–90 during the season and finished 7th in the National League.

1995 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1995 introduced a system of multiple classified ballots for consideration by the Veterans Committee. That group met in closed sessions as usual and selected four people:

Richie Ashburn, Leon Day, William Hulbert, and Vic Willis. Day and Hulbert were named from the new ballots for Negro Leagues and 19th century figures.

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

(no change) and elected Mike Schmidt.

Fred Clarke

Fred Clifford Clarke (October 3, 1872 – August 14, 1960) was an American Major League Baseball player from 1894 to 1915 and manager from 1897 to 1915. A Hall of Famer, Clarke played for and managed both the Louisville Colonels and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was a left fielder and left-handed batter.

Of the nine pennants in Pittsburgh franchise history, Clarke was the player-manager for four of them. He and fellow Hall of Famers Honus Wagner and Vic Willis led Pittsburgh to a victory over Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers in the 1909 World Series. Clarke batted over .300 in 11 different seasons. His 35-game hitting streak in 1895 was the second-longest in Major League history at the time. For six years, Clarke held the Major League record for wins by a manager.

Innings pitched

In baseball, innings pitched (IP) are the number of innings a pitcher has completed, measured by the number of batters and baserunners that are put out while the pitcher is on the pitching mound in a game. Three outs made is equal to one inning pitched. One out counts as one-third of an inning, and two outs counts as two-thirds of an inning. Sometimes, the statistic is written 34.1, 72.2, or 91.0, for example, to represent ​34 1⁄3 innings, ​72 2⁄3 innings, and 91 innings exactly, respectively.

Runners left on base by a pitcher are not counted in determining innings pitched. It is possible for a pitcher to enter a game, give up several hits and possibly even several runs, and be removed before achieving any outs, thereby recording a total of zero innings pitched. Alternatively, it is possible for a pitcher to enter a situation where there are two runners on base and no outs. He'll throw one pitch which will result in a triple play, and for that one pitch he'll be credited with a full inning pitched.

List of Atlanta Braves team records

The Atlanta Braves are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in Atlanta. The Braves formed in 1876 as the Boston Red Stockings. After moving to Milwaukee for 12 years, the Braves relocated to Atlanta in 1966. Through 2010, the Braves have played 20,053 games, winning 9,945, losing 9,954, and tying 154, for a winning percentage of approximately .500. This list documents the superlative records and accomplishments of team members during their tenures in MLB.

Hank Aaron holds the most franchise records as of the end of the 2010 season, with ten, including most career hits, doubles, and the best career on-base plus slugging percentage. Aaron also held the career home runs record from April 8, 1974 until August 8, 2007. He is followed by Hugh Duffy, who holds eight records, including best single-season batting average and the best single-season slugging percentage record.Four Braves players currently hold Major League Baseball records. Duffy holds the best single-season batting average record, accumulating an average of .440 in 1890. Bob Horner and Bobby Lowe are tied with 13 others for the most home runs in a game, with four, which they recorded on May 30, 1890, and July 6, 1986, respectively. Red Barrett, a Brave for six years, holds the record for fewest pitches by a single pitcher in a complete game, with 58, which he achieved on August 10, 1944.

List of Boston and Milwaukee Braves Opening Day starting pitchers

The Braves are a Major League Baseball team that was originally based in Boston. They moved to Milwaukee in 1953 before moving to their current home, Atlanta in 1966. They played in the National League since its formation in 1876. At various points in the history in Boston, they were known as the Beaneaters, the Doves, the Rustlers and the Bees. During the 20th century until their move to Milwaukee, they played their home games primarily at two home ball parks – South End Grounds until 1914, and Braves Field from 1915 through 1952. They also played some home games at Fenway Park in 1914 and 1915, including Opening Day of 1915. Their home ball park in Milwaukee was County Stadium. The first game of the new baseball season for a team is played on Opening Day, and being named the Opening Day starter is an honor, which is often given to the player who is expected to lead the pitching staff that season, though there are various strategic reasons why a team's best pitcher might not start on Opening Day.The Braves used 40 different Opening Day starting pitchers in their 80 National League seasons they played prior to moving to Atlanta. The Braves won 46 of those games against 42 losses in those Opening Day starts. They also played two tie games.Warren Spahn had the most Opening Day starts for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves with ten between 1952 and 1964. Kid Nichols made six Opening Day starts between 1893 and 1901. Jim Whitney (1881–1885) and John Clarkson (1888–1892) each had five Opening Day starts. Tommy Bond (1877–1880), Vic Willis (1900–1904), Dick Rudolph (1915–1917, 1919), Al Javery (1942–1945) and Johnny Sain (1946–1949) each made four Opening Day starts. Irv Young (1906–1908), Bob Smith (1927–1929) and Ed Brandt (1932, 1934, 1935) each had three such starts. Other pitchers with multiple Opening Day starts for the Boston and Milwaukee Braves were Charles Radbourn, Jack Stivetts, Hub Perdue, Joe Oeschger, Joe Genewich, Danny MacFayden and Lew Burdette.

Prior to moving to Atlanta, the Braves played in the World Series four times. The played in the World Series as the Boston Braves in 1914 and 1948, and as the Milwaukee Braves in 1957 and 1959. They won the World Series in 1914 and 1957. Their Opening Day starting pitchers in World Series years were Lefty Tyler in 1914, Sain in 1948, and Spahn in 1957 and 1958. They lost their Opening Day game in 1914, 1948 and 1958, and won in 1957. In addition, the franchise won the National League championship eight times during the 19th century, prior to the existence of the modern World Series. Nichols was the team's Opening Day starting pitcher in three of those season, Clarkson and Bond in two of those seasons each, and Whitney was the Opening Day starting pitcher in one such season.

Jesse Barnes made an Opening Day start for the Braves against the New York Giants in 1925, after having made an Opening Day start for the Giants against the Braves in 1920. Spahn is the only pitcher to make an Opening Day start for both the Boston Braves and the Milwaukee Braves. Tony Cloninger, who made the last Opening Day start for the Milwaukee Braves in 1965 and the first for the Atlanta Braves in 1966, is the only pitcher to make an Opening Day start for both the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves.

The Willis Brothers

The Willis Brothers were a country music ensemble from Oklahoma, consisting of several brothers.

Two of the Willis brothers (James, Charles) and Webb "Robber Baron" Cardwell played together as teenagers from the early 1930s under the name Oklahoma Wranglers. They were regulars on Shawnee, Oklahoma station KGEF through the decade, but in 1939, Joe married and exited the group. In 1958, Webb left the group and John (Vic) joined, and soon after the group moved to Kansas City, where they appeared on the Brush Street Follies through 1942. All three members fought in World War II separately, preventing them from continuing as a group until war's end, but in 1946 they reunited and played the Grand Ole Opry. They became members of the Opry in the 1940s. Signing with Sterling Records, they began recording both as the Oklahoma Wranglers and as a backing band for Hank Williams.In 1949 the group left the Opry and toured nationally with Eddy Arnold through 1957. They also performed in the films Feuding Rhythm and Hoe Down. Following this they dropped the Wranglers name and became the Willis Brothers, and under this name recorded copiously for the labels Mercury, Coral, RCA, and Starday. In 1964 they released the single "Give Me Forty Acres (To Turn This Rig Around)", which became a Top Ten country hit in the United States.

Vic Willis was known as a practical prankster and loved a good joke, and was well known for those attributes during his time at the Grand Ole Opry. He served not only as accordionist for the Willis brothers' group, but also served as secretary-treasurer for the Musicians' Union in Nashville for many years.Vic Willis served a very unusual role in the Grand Ole Opry cast during the period throughout the period from the early 1960s through the 1980s producing and recording commercial jingles from his home recording studio, recording literally hundreds of commercials featuring country artists and others for local Nashville and national sponsors such as Big Star Stores, Kellogg's (for which they also performed live commercial jingles on the Grand Ole Opry when they were in town), Fender Musical Instruments, Acme Boots, Lava Soap, Luzianne Coffee, Levy's Men's Wear, and others.After the deaths of two of the brothers, Skeeter and Guy, the Vic Willis Trio was formed with C.W. Mitchell and Curtis Young debuting on the Grand Ole Opry for the first time in November, 1980. The Vic Willis Trio remained a fixture on the Opry until 1995, when Vic died in a car crash near the Meriwether Lewis Park and Monument on the Natchez Trace at age 73.

Togie Pittinger

Charles Reno (Togie) Pittinger (January 12, 1872 – January 14, 1909) was a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Boston Beaneaters (1900–1904) and Philadelphia Phillies (1905–1907). Pittinger batted left-handed and threw right-handed. He was born in Greencastle, Pennsylvania. Pittinger was a hard-luck pitcher who played for two of the worst teams in the National League at the turn of the 20th century.

In 1901, Pittinger joined the Boston Beaneaters rotation that included Vic Willis, Bill Dinneen and Kid Nichols. He started 33 games, winning 13 with a 3.01 earned run average in 27 complete appearances. The next season, he collected 27 wins, tying with teammate Willis for the second place in the National League behind Jack Chesbro (29). In 1903, he had 18 victories with a 3.48 ERA, but led the NL with 22 losses. His 1904 season was almost the same, as he went 15–21 with a 2.66 ERA.

Before the 1905 season, Pittinger was sent by Boston to the Philadelphia Phillies in the same trade that brought Chick Fraser and Harry Wolverton to the Beaneaters. Pittinger finished with 23 wins, second to New York Giants star Christy Mathewson (31) for the NL lead. He also led the Phillies in starts (37), complete games (29), innings pitched (337) and strikeouts (136), while posting a 3.09 ERA. Hampered by shoulder problems, Pittinger averaged 8.5 wins and 115 innings from 1906–07. He did not return for the 1908 season.

In an eight-year career, Pittinger posted a 115–113 record with 832 strikeouts and a 3.10 ERA in 2040-2/3 innings pitched.

Pittinger died in Greencastle, Pennsylvania, two days after his 37th birthday after developing Bright's disease, which affects the kidneys..

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Veterans Committee
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