(January 6, 1920-April 4, 1999)
Born in Hartford, Alabama
Pitcher for the Washington Senators (1938,1941-44,1946-48), Cleveland Indians (1949-57,1963) and Chicago White Sox (1958-62)
300-244 win-loss record
3.54 earned run average
Nine-time All-Star (1947,1955-60)
Cy Young Award winner (1959)
Pitching coach for the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins
Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1972)
Why he might be annoying
Early ain’t a nickname, it’s his actual first name. (His nickname was Gus.)
He dropped out of high school to join a Senators farm team.
Whenever a batter got a hit off him, he would try to drill the batter with a pitch the next time he came to the plate.
In one game against the Yankees, he decided not to wait when Mickey Mantle got a single. Instead, he had his first baseman stand behind Mantle in foul territory, then tried to nail Mantle with his pickoff throws.
His comments include, ‘A pitcher has to look at the hitter as his mortal enemy,’ ‘A pitcher will never be a big winner until he hates hitters’ and ‘I’ve got a right to knock down anyone holding a bat.’
He really meant the ‘anyone’ part: he once threw a brushback pitch at his 15-year-old son during batting practice.
He frequently predicted that he would be the last 300 game winner. Instead, by the time he died, six other pitchers had surpassed his total, starting with Gaylord Perry in 1982.
Why he might not be annoying
His first wife, Mabel, died in an auto accident (1942).
He was married to his second wife, Lorraine, for 50 years.
He missed the 1945 season and part of the 1946 season serving with the US Army in the Philippines.
He was struck in the face by a line drive, lost seven teeth, and needed sixteen stitches to close the wound (1956).
Unlike most pitchers, he was decent hitter, and one of five Major League pitchers to hit a grand slam as a pinch-hitter.
He was the first pitcher to lead the league in strikeouts in consecutive years with different teams (184 with the Indians in 1957; 189 with the White Sox in 1958).
Ted Williams called him ‘the toughest pitcher I ever faced.’
Credit: C. Fishel
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Year In Review:
For 2017, as of last week, Out of 1 Votes: 100% Annoying
In 2016, Out of 5 Votes: 60.0% Annoying
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