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Ed Walsh

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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.

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Edward Augustine Walsh (Big Ed)

Inducted into Hall of Fame in 1946


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[edit] Biographical Information

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Ed Walsh of the Chicago White Sox was one of the top pitchers in the first decade of the American League and holds the record for the lowest lifetime ERA with a career earned run average of 1.82.

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. The next year, the Sox struggled to score in Walsh's starts, but he still went 24-18 with a 1.60 ERA.

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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). However, he lost what might have been his best game that season: an October 2nd contest against the Cleveland Naps where 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.

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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.

After his playing days, Walsh was a member of the Sox coaching staff for several years and managed the team briefly in 1924. He was also the baseball coach at University of Notre Dame in 1926.

Walsh's son Ed also later played for the Sox for several seasons but did not duplicate his father's success.

Walsh died on May 26, 1959, the same day that Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched 12 perfect innings before losing to the Milwaukee Braves.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time AL ERA Leader (1907 & 1910)
  • AL Wins Leader (1908)
  • AL Winning Percentage Leader (1908)
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  • 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

[edit] Records Held

  • 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

[edit] Further Reading

  • 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.

[edit] Related Sites

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