Note: This page links to Hall of Fame pitcher 'Big' Ed Walsh. For his son, the pitcher who played from 1928 to 1932, click here.
Edward Augustine Walsh
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 193 lb.
- School St. John's College
- Debut May 7, 1904
- Final Game September 11, 1917
- Born May 14, 1881 in Plains, PA USA
- Died May 26, 1959 in Pompano Beach, FL USA
Walsh threw what was probably the most devastating spitball in baseball history, which he learned from teammate Elmer Stricklett. Big Ed's spitter had fantastic movement, but he was still able to throw it with outstanding control. He estimated that he would throw the spitter as much as 90% of the time.
Walsh joined the Sox in 1904, and in 1906, he led the AL with 10 shutouts. His heroics that year continued into October, as he won 2 games, struck out 17, and only allowed 1 earned run in 15 innings in his team's World Series victory over the Chicago Cubs. The next year, [1907 White Sox|1907]], the Sox struggled to score in Walsh's starts, but he still went 24-18 with a 1.60 ERA.
Walsh had his greatest season in 1908, going 40-15 with a 1.42 ERA. Along with Jack Chesbro's 41 wins in 1904, his 40 wins are the only 40-win seasons since 1900, and he is therefore the last player to have a 40-win season. He also led the AL in starts (49), complete games (42), shutouts (11), strikeouts (269), and innings (464, the last pitcher to throw over 400 innings in a season). The 269 strikeouts were a White Sox team record until topped by Chris Sale in 2015. In fact, until Sale came along, Walsh had the top four strikeout seasons in team history. However, he lost what might have been his best game that season: in an October 2nd contest against the Cleveland Naps, he struck out 15 but lost to Addie Joss, who threw a perfect game.
In 1910, Walsh became the only pitcher ever to lose 20 games but still lead the league in earned run average as he went 18-20 with a 1.27 mark. He bounced back, winning 27 games in 1911 and 1912, but struggled with arm injuries afterwards, playing in only 33 games over the next five years before retiring in 1917.
Walsh was also known for his defense, setting several fielding record during his career. He also helped to design Comiskey Park, possibly one reason that it played as a pitcher's park.
Walsh's son Ed also later played for the Sox for several seasons but did not duplicate his father's success.
- 2-time AL ERA Leader (1907 & 1910)
- AL Wins Leader (1908)
- AL Winning Percentage Leader (1908)
- 5-time AL Games Pitched Leader (1907, 1908 & 1910-1912)
- 5-time AL Saves Leader (1907, 1908 & 1910-1912)
- 4-time AL Innings Pitched Leader (1907, 1908, 1911 & 1912)
- 2-time AL Strikeouts Leader (1908 & 1911)
- 2-time AL Complete Games Leader (1907 & 1908)
- 3-time AL Shutouts Leader (1906, 1908 & 1909)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 7 (1906-1912)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 4 (1907, 1908, 1911 & 1912)
- 25 Wins Seasons: 3 (1908, 1911 & 1912)
- 30 Wins Seasons: 1 (1908)
- 35 Wins Seasons: 1 (1908)
- 40 Wins Seasons: 1 (1908)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 7 (1906-1912)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 5 (1907, 1908 & 1910-1912)
- 400 Innings Pitched Seasons: 2 (1907 & 1908)
- 200 Strikeouts Seasons: 5 (1907, 1908 & 1910-1912)
- Won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 1906
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1946
- Lowest ERA, career, 1.82
- Lowest ERA, right-hander, career, 1.82
- Most wins with ERA under 2.00, career, 195
- Assists, pitcher, season, 227, 1907
- Stuart Schimler: "Edward Augustine Walsh", in David Jones, ed.: Deadball Stars of the American League, SABR, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2006, pp. 493-496.
- Jack Smiles: Big Ed Walsh: The Life and Times of a Spitballing Hall of Famer, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2008.