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Hoyt Wilhelm
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Baseball Player
    (July 26, 1922-August 23, 2002)
    Born in Huntersville, North Carolina
    Birth name was James Hoyt Wilhelm
    Pitcher for the New York Giants (1952-56), St. Louis Cardinals (1957), Cleveland Indians (1957-58), Baltimore Orioles (1958-62), Chicago White Sox (1963-68), California Angels (1969), Atlanta Braves (1969-70,1971), Chicago Cubs (1970) and Los Angeles Dodgers (1971-72)
    143 wins, 122 losses
    2.52 career ERA
    1,610 strikeouts
    228 saves
    Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1985)
    He was cited for driving at 60 miles per hour in a 25 mph zone, and was further charged with disorderly conduct for using ‘abusive language’ at the desk sergeant booking him (June, 1954).
    The next day, he collided with a police car that was pulling into a gas station with its siren and lights on.
    His knuckleball posed almost as much difficulty for his catchers as it did for opposing batters.
    During his first sixteen Major League seasons, the team he was playing for led its league in passed balls in every year but one (1953).
    Orioles manager Paul Richards designed an extra-large (42-inch circumference) mitt for catchers to use when Wilhelm pitched. (After a few seasons, an upper limit of 38 inches in circumference was imposed on catchers’ mitts.)
    Ironically, when he was a coach in the minor leagues, he did not teach the knuckleball to pitchers, arguing that one had to be born with a knack for it.
    He was married to Peggy Reeve for 51 years.
    He was wounded at the Battle of the Bulge during WWII and carried a piece of shrapnel lodged in his back throughout his playing career.
    Despite entering the Majors at the relatively advanced age of 29, his playing career lasted two decades.
    He twice had the best ERA in his league (1952,1959).
    He was the first player to pitch in 1,000 games and to save 200 games.
    He won 124 games as a reliever, which remains the Major League record (as of 2017).

Credit: C. Fishel

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