Monday, April 13, 2009

#42 Earl Wilson

#42 Earl Wilson
Earl Wilson is pitching right in front of the visitors' dugout. If I were his unidentified teammate down below (number twentysomething?), I would be a little more alert. Just sayin'.

Fun facts about Earl Wilson:

-A son of Louisiana, he signed with the Red Sox in 1953, at age eighteen.

-Missed 1957-1958 due to military service.

-Became the first black pitcher in Beantown when he debuted in 1959.

-On June 26, 1962, he no-hit the Angels and hit a home run in a 2-0 BoSox victory.

-Posted double-digit wins in eight straight seasons (1962-1969). After defying management's wishes by speaking out about a Boston bar's refusal to serve him, he was traded to Detroit in June 1966. Earl responded by posting a 35-17 record through the rest of 1966 and 1967. 1967 brought a career-high 22 wins against 11 losses.

-Posted a career-low 2.85 ERA in 1968 for the World Champion Tigers. Was knocked out in the fifth inning in his only World Series start, allowing three Cardinal runs.

-Could hold his own with the bat, notching a .195 career average with 35 home runs (including 33 as a pitcher, fifth all-time among moundsmen) and 111 RBI. Twice went deep seven times in a year.

-Retired in 1970 with a career 121-109 record and a 3.69 ERA in eleven seasons.

-Post-baseball, Wilson founded an auto parts company in Detroit and served as president of the Baseball Assistance Team, which provides financial assistance to former baseball players and personnel.

-Died of a heart attack at age 70 in 2005. (I hope I get to write up a living player again soon, especially in light of a tragic week in baseball.)
#42 Earl Wilson (back)


  1. Kevin, you covered his batting prowess. I saw him pitch and homer for the Tigers in August 1968 at Yankee Stadium. It was the last game I saw in the 'old' YS before we moved to Houston around Labor Day in '68.

  2. Bob - That is impressive! I guess he was his era's Carlos Zambrano.