Waite Hoyt

Waite Charles Hoyt (September 9, 1899 – August 25, 1984) was an American right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball, one of the dominant pitchers of the 1920s, and the most successful pitcher for the New York Yankees during that decade. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1969.

Waite Hoyt
Born: September 9, 1899
Brooklyn, New York
Died: August 25, 1984 (aged 84)
Cincinnati, Ohio
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 24, 1918, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
May 15, 1938, for the Brooklyn Dodgers
MLB statistics
Win–loss record237–182
Earned run average3.59
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
Election MethodVeteran's Committee

Early life

Hoyt was born in Brooklyn, New York to Addison and Louise Benedum Hoyt and attended Erasmus Hall High School.[1]



Despite being a Dodgers fan, he was signed to a professional contract by New York Giants manager John McGraw when he was but 15. Because of his extreme youth, he was immediately nicknamed "The Schoolboy Wonder".[2]

After a brief stint with the Giants, McGraw sent Hoyt to the minors for refinement and experience. Hoyt soon returned to the majors, this time with the Boston Red Sox. His performance there attracted the attention of the Yankees, who acquired him in 1920. In his first season as a Yankee, he won 19 games and pitched three complete games in the World Series without allowing an earned run — over his career, he would win six American League pennants with the Yankees and one with the Philadelphia Athletics. In his finest years with the Yankees, 1927 and 1928, Hoyt would post records of 22 wins and 7 losses with a 2.64 ERA and 23 wins and 7 losses with a 3.36 ERA. During his 21-year career, he won 10 or more games 12 times, 11 of them consecutively. Hoyt pitched for eight years after leaving the Yankees in 1930, but did not consistently display similar levels of pitching dominance.

Hoyt finished his career with a win-loss record of 237–182 and an ERA of 3.59. By the time he retired in 1938, he had pitched the most victories in World Series history (his World Series record with the Yankees and A's was 6–4).

Additional/concurrent careers

In addition to the "Schoolboy" moniker appearing on his Hall of Fame plaque, Hoyt was also known as "The Merry Mortician", for when he was not playing baseball, he spent days working as a funeral director and nights appearing in vaudeville. As a vaudevillian, he appeared with many of the most well-known performers of the day, including Jack Benny, Jimmy Durante, George Burns, and others. He kept in shape during the off-season by playing semi-professional basketball. He added to his repertoire by becoming an accomplished painter and writer.


After retiring as a player, Hoyt went into broadcasting. He was heard on WMCA in New York City but left that station to begin "a nightly quarter-hour program" of sports news and commentary on WNEW in New York, beginning October 17, 1938.[3]

During a stint as the host of Grandstand and Bandstand on WMCA, he tried to audition for the Yankees, but sponsor Wheaties vetoed him out of hand. The common view at the time was that former players did not have enough of a vocabulary to be successful broadcasters. However, Hoyt was well known for dressing down umpire George Moriarty when he missed a call by saying, "You're out of your element. You should be a traffic cop so you could stand in the middle of the street with a badge on your chest and insult people with impunity!"

Dodgers voice Red Barber, however, thought more of Hoyt's abilities and hired him as color commentator and host of the pre- and post-game shows in 1940. After two years, he became the play-by-play voice of the Cincinnati Reds, a post he held for 24 years. He became as much a celebrity with the Reds as he was while a player. He was well known for calling games exclusively in past tense, which was and still is unusual for sportscasting. Where most baseball announcers would say, "Here's the pitch!" Hoyt would say, "There was the pitch!" He told author Curt Smith that he felt using past tense was accurate because "as I speak to you, what happened a moment ago is gone."

On August 16, 1948, Hoyt paid tribute to Babe Ruth, speaking on the air without notes for two hours upon learning of his death after a game. He was well known as the pre-eminent authority on Babe Ruth; Hoyt for nearly 10 years was Ruth's teammate and in his small inner circle of friends. Robert Creamer, author of the definitive Ruth biography Babe, indicated in that book's introduction that the novella-length memoir written by Hoyt shortly after Ruth's death was "by far the most revealing and rewarding work on Ruth."

Hoyt shared radio play-by-play duties for the 1953 All-Star Game on the Mutual Network and the second 1960 All-Star Game on NBC.[4] He called the 1961 World Series for NBC Radio, during a time when it was common for the primary broadcasters for participating teams to be used in network broadcasts of the Fall Classic. 1961 was the only World Series during his tenure, leading Hoyt to call himself "a bad news broadcaster."

Hoyt became known for entertaining radio audiences during rain delays, sharing anecdotes and telling vivid stories from his days as a player; a selection of these stories is collected on two record albums: The Best of Waite Hoyt in the Rain, and Waite Hoyt Talks Babe Ruth. Hoyt was one of the first professional athletes to develop a successful career in broadcasting and his name frequently appears on "all-time best" broadcaster lists.

He retired from full-time broadcasting work in 1965, though he later made appearances on both radio and television, including the color commentary for the Reds telecasts in 1972. On June 10, 2007, the Reds honored Hoyt, Marty Brennaman, and Joe Nuxhall with replica microphones that are hung below the radio broadcast booth at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

Later life

Waite Hoyt plaque HOF
Hoyt's plaque at the Baseball Hall of Fame

Hoyt's wife of 50 years, Ellen Burbank Hoyt, predeceased him on November 23, 1982. (Ellen Hoyt was actually his second wife -- his marriage to his first wife, Dorothy, in 1922, had ended in divorce ten years later.)[5]

An eternal optimist, Hoyt married his third wife, Betty Derie on March 5, 1983. Derie, a longtime fan, was an associate of Warren Giles, first President of the Reds and subsequently of the National League. Betty lived in Cincinnati until her death on December 25, 2015,[6] and was interviewed extensively in the video biography Waite's World. The bio was released on VHS in 1997 and includes interviews with his son Chris, the late Hall of Fame broadcaster Joe Nuxhall, reporter and television personality Nick Clooney, and retired Reds pitcher Jim O'Toole.

A longtime member of Alcoholics Anonymous, during the 1978 Old-Timers' Day game, Hoyt said wistfully that he would have won 300 games if he had stopped drinking during his playing days. After joining AA, he remained sober for more than 40 years.

The aging Hoyt died of heart failure while preparing for what he realized would be his final visit to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. Hoyt is interred in Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati.[7]

See also


  1. ^ "The Rumble: AN OFF-THE-BALL LOOK AT YOUR FAVORITE SPORTS CELEBRITIES", New York Post, December 31, 2006. Accessed December 13, 2007. "The five Erasmus Hall of Fame legends include Raiders owner Al Davis, Bears quarterback Sid Luckman, Yankee pitching great Waite Hoyt, Billy Cunningham and Knicks founder Ned Irish."
  2. ^ "Schoolboy Wonder To Rejoin Giants". Star-Gazette. Elmira, New York. December 16, 1916. p. 8 – via Newspapers.com.
  3. ^ "Late Personal Notes" (PDF). Broadcasting. October 15, 1938. p. 73. Retrieved 31 January 2016.
  4. ^ Smith, Curt (2005). Voices of Summer. New York City: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-1446-8.
  5. ^ https://www.newspapers.com/newspage/101583578
  6. ^ http://wvxu.org/post/betty-hoyt-widow-waite-hoyt-has-died
  7. ^ Cook, William A. (2004). Waite Hoyt: A Biography of the Yankees' Schoolboy Wonder. McFarland. p. 209. Retrieved 17 July 2014.

External links

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Jack Quinn
Brooklyn Dodgers Opening Day
Starting pitcher

Succeeded by
Watty Clark
1921 New York Giants season

The 1921 New York Giants season was the franchise's 39th season, which culminated in the Giants defeating the New York Yankees in the World Series.

1928 New York Yankees season

The New York Yankees' 1928 season was their 26th season. The team finished with a record of 101–53, winning their sixth pennant, finishing 2.5 games ahead of the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Miller Huggins. The Yankees played at Yankee Stadium. In the World Series, they swept the St. Louis Cardinals. Pitcher Urban Shocker died in September due to complications from pneumonia.

1929 New York Yankees season

The 1929 New York Yankees season was the team's 27th season in New York and its 29th overall. The team finished with a record of 88–66, finishing in second place, 18 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. This ended a streak of three straight World Series appearances for the club. New York was managed by Miller Huggins until his death on September 25. They played at Yankee Stadium.

1930 New York Yankees season

The 1930 New York Yankees season was their 28th season. The team finished with a record of 86–68, finishing 16 games behind the Philadelphia Athletics. New York was managed by Bob Shawkey. The Yankees played their home games at Yankee Stadium.

1932 Brooklyn Dodgers season

The 1932 Brooklyn Dodgers season was the first season the franchise was officially known as the Dodgers, with the name making its first appearance on some of the team's jerseys. The Dodgers nickname had in use since the 1890s and was used interchangeably with other nicknames in media reports, particularly "Robins" in reference to longtime manager Wilbert Robinson. With Robinson's retirement after the 1931 season and the arrival of Max Carey, the nickname "Robins" was no longer used. The team wound up finishing the season in third place.

1935 Pittsburgh Pirates season

The 1935 Pittsburgh Pirates season was a season in American baseball which involved the Pirates finishing fourth in the National League.

The roster featured five future Hall of Famers: player-manager Pie Traynor, pitcher Waite Hoyt, shortstop Arky Vaughan, center fielder Lloyd Waner, and right fielder Paul Waner.

1937 Brooklyn Dodgers season

Former Dodgers pitcher Burleigh Grimes was brought in to manage the 1937 Brooklyn Dodgers, but the team continued to struggle, finishing in sixth place.

1942 Major League Baseball All-Star Game

The 1942 Major League Baseball All-Star Game was the tenth playing of the midsummer classic between the all-stars of the American League (AL) and National League (NL), the two leagues comprising Major League Baseball. The game was held on July 6, 1942, at Polo Grounds in New York City the home of the New York Giants of the National League. The game resulted in the American League defeating the National League 3–1. While the game had been scheduled for a twilight start at 6:30 p.m. EWT, rain delayed the first pitch for an hour, leading to the first All-Star contest played entirely under the lights; the two-hour, seven-minute game ended just ahead of a 9:30 p.m. blackout curfew in New York.Two nights later, the American League All-Stars traveled to Cleveland Municipal Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, to play a special benefit game against a team of players from the U.S. Army and Navy. The contest, which the American Leaguers won 5–0, attracted a crowd of 62,094 and netted $70,000 for the Army Emergency Relief Fund and the Navy Relief Society. Mutual Radio broadcast the second game, with Bob Elson, Waite Hoyt, and Jack Graney announcing.

1948 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1948 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished seventh in the National League with a record of 64–89, 27 games behind the Boston Braves. This season was the first wherein the Reds were broadcast on television all over Cincinnati via WLWT, with a television simulcast of the radio commentary from WCPO with Waite Hoyt on the booth.

1949 Cincinnati Reds season

The 1949 Cincinnati Reds season was a season in American baseball. The team finished seventh in the National League with a record of 62–92, 35 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers.

1953 Cincinnati Redlegs season

The 1953 Cincinnati Redlegs season was a season in American baseball. The team finished sixth in the National League with a record of 68–86, 37 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. The team changed its name from "Reds" to "Redlegs" prior to this season in response to rampant American anti-communist sentiment during this time period.

1955 Cincinnati Redlegs season

The 1955 Cincinnati Redlegs season was a season in American baseball. It consisted of the Redlegs finishing in fifth place in the National League, with a record of 75–79, 23½ games behind the NL and World Series Champion Brooklyn Dodgers. The Redlegs were managed by Birdie Tebbetts and played their home games at Crosley Field.

1969 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1969 followed the system reintroduced in 1968.

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

elected two, Roy Campanella and Stan Musial.

The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider executives, managers, umpires, and earlier major league players.

It selected two players, Stan Coveleski and Waite Hoyt.

Claude Sullivan

Claude Howard Sullivan (December 29, 1924 – December 6, 1967) was an American sports broadcaster. Born in Winchester, Kentucky, he did the play-by-play broadcasts of the University of Kentucky football and basketball games for nearly 20 years. He was associated with Lexington radio station WVLK, and was appointed director of programming by the station in addition to his sports broadcasting duties.

In 1964, he was hired to work alongside of Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Waite Hoyt as broadcaster of the Cincinnati Reds' Major League Baseball games. When Hoyt retired in 1965, Sullivan took over the primary play-by-play responsibilities. But after two years, Sullivan was diagnosed with throat cancer, and he died on December 6, 1967, at the age of 42.

Earle Combs

Earle Bryan Combs (May 14, 1899 – July 21, 1976) was an American professional baseball player who played his entire career for the New York Yankees (1924–35). Combs batted leadoff and played center field on the Yankees' fabled 1927 team (often referred to as Murderers' Row). He is one of six players on that team who have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame; the other five are Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Tony Lazzeri, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth.

Combs led the league in triples three times and was among the top ten in the category in several other seasons. He suffered a fractured skull and other injuries from a crash into an outfield wall in 1934, then retired after another injury the next season. Nicknamed "the Kentucky Colonel", Combs was known as a gentleman on and off the field. He remained in baseball as a coach for many years after his retirement as a player.

Lee Allen (baseball)

Leland Gaither "Lee" Allen (January 12, 1915 – May 20, 1969) was an American sportswriter and historian on the subject of baseball. He was known for an accessible writing style that made history more interesting, typically focusing on the people in the stories as much as the events.

A native of Cincinnati, Ohio, Allen was the son of U.S. Representative Alfred Gaither Allen. After attending Kenyon College as a psychology major, spending a semester at the Columbia University School of Journalism, and working for the Cincinnati Reds as a publicity director and traveling secretary, he began his writing career with the Cincinnati Enquirer, and wrote the Cincinnati entry in the Putnam Publishing series on the Major League Baseball teams.

He authored other books, including histories of the National League and American League, the World Series, and a volume about the Giants-Dodgers rivalry. He was also a frequent contributor to The Sporting News, including articles to their annual publications as well as a weekly column called "Cooperstown Corner". In the early 1940s Allen assisted Waite Hoyt on Cincinnati Reds radio broadcasts.

From 1959 until his death, he was the historian at the Baseball Hall of Fame, succeeding Ernest Lanigan. In that capacity, and with his substantial collection of biographical information on ballplayers (continuing Lanigan's work), he had a great deal of input to the first edition of the famous MacMillan Baseball Encyclopedia which was published in the same year he died.

Although Allen had been inspired as a youth by his Hall of Fame predecessor's Baseball Cyclopedia, he was not the "figger filbert" that Lanigan was. However, they did share a common interest in the personal stories of the ballplayers. This quote from Allen's SABR profile highlights their differences and similarities. The first sentence is polar opposite to Lanigan's philosophy, the remainder is right in line with Lanigan's work: "I care very little for statistics as such. My concern is the players. Who are these men? What are they? What problems have they faced? Where are they now?"

In addition to biographies, Allen was also a pioneer in gathering information about baseball parks, and published one of the first comprehensive lists of major league ballparks and their locations, in the 1961 edition of one of The Sporting News publications.

He died of a heart attack in Syracuse, New York while on a road trip researching a subject for a book.

Paul Chervinko

Paul Chervinko (July 23, 1910 – June 3, 1976) was a Major League Baseball catcher for parts of two seasons with the Brooklyn Dodgers (1937–1938). He was a native of Trauger, Pennsylvania.

Chervinko was an excellent defensive player who just couldn't hit well enough to stay in the big leagues. Behind the plate he made only one error in 102 chances for a fielding percentage of .990. At bat, however, he was just 11-for-75 (.147) with five runs batted in and one run scored in 42 total games.

During his time with Brooklyn he was surrounded by some quite notable people. His manager was Hall of Famer Burleigh Grimes, and some of his teammates were future Hall of Famers as well: outfielder Heinie Manush, pitcher Waite Hoyt, and shortstop Leo Durocher. Also on the team was All-Star infielder Cookie Lavagetto, who would later gain fame in the 1947 World Series.

Chervinko died in Danville, Illinois at the age of 65.

Steve Swetonic

Stephen Albert Swetonic (August 13, 1903 – April 22, 1974) was a pitcher in Major League Baseball, who played his entire career for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1929 through 1935. Swetonic batted and threw right-handed. He was born in Mount Pleasant, Pennsylvania.

Swetonic provided a solid support in Pirates' pitching staffs of the early 1930s that included Larry French, Burleigh Grimes, Waite Hoyt, and Ray Kremer. His most productive season came in 1932, when he went 11–6 with a career-high 2.82 ERA and tied for the National League lead with four shutouts. In 1933 he recorded career-numbers in wins (12), starts (21), and innings pitched (164 ⅔ ). His career ended prematurily at the age of 28 because of a chronic sore arm.

Swetonic went to spring training with the Boston Braves in 1934 but did not play in the regular season. In a March 24 game against the Philadelphia Athletics, in St. Petersburg, Florida, he yielded four runs in the first inning.

In March 1935, Swetonic was in spring training with the New York Giants team in Miami Beach, Florida. He tossed the final three innings of an intrasquad game between teams captained by Carl Hubbell and Freddie Fitzsimmons on February 28.In a five-season career, Swetonic posted a 37–36 record with 154 strikeouts and a 3.81 ERA in 595 ⅓ innings. He died in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania, at age 70.

Wally Pipp

Walter Clement Pipp (February 17, 1893 – January 11, 1965) was an American professional baseball player. A first baseman, Pipp played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Detroit Tigers, New York Yankees, and Cincinnati Reds between 1913 and 1928.

After appearing in 12 games for the Tigers in 1913 and playing in the minor leagues in 1914, he was purchased by the Yankees before the 1915 season. They made him their starting first baseman. He and Home Run Baker led an improved Yankee lineup that led the league in home runs. He led the American League in home runs in 1916 and 1917. With Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel, Joe Dugan, and Waite Hoyt, the Yankees won three consecutive American League pennants from 1921 through 1923, and won the 1923 World Series. In 1925, he lost his starting role to Lou Gehrig, after which he finished his major league career with Cincinnati.

Pipp is considered to be one of the best power hitters of the dead ball era. Pipp is now best remembered as the man who lost his starting role to Lou Gehrig at the beginning of Gehrig's streak of 2,130 consecutive games. According to a popular legend, Pipp asked to sit due to a headache.

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Inductees who played
for the Yankees
Yankees' managers
Yankees' executives
Frick Award
Veterans Committee
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
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