Monday, November 08, 2010

#430 Gary Peters

#430 Gary Peters
This photo is taken at an interesting angle. With Gary Peters not looking directly at the camera, and the lens zoomed in far enough that you can't tell whether he's in a goofy pitching pose, it almost looks like it could be candid.

Fun facts about Gary Peters:

-Gary was born in Grove City, PA and briefly attended Grove City College before signing with the White Sox in 1956.

-Though he made his major league debut in 1959, Chicago brought him along slowly. He spent four seasons at AAA and totaled only 12 major league games pitched from 1959 through 1962.

-Finally arriving to the big leagues for good in 1963, 26-year-old Gary declared his intentions with a league-leading 2.33 ERA. His 19-8 record (including an 11-game win streak) was the best on a 94-win White Sox club, and he completed 13 games and allowed only nine home runs in 243 innings. He captured American League Rookie of the Year honors and finished eighth in MVP balloting.

-His first All-Star nod came in 1964, when he went 20-8 to lead the A.L. in wins. His 2.50 ERA was nothing to sneeze at, and he paced the Pale Hose with 205 strikeouts. He also had a seventh-place finish in MVP voting as his team improved to 98 wins.

-In 1966, he collected a second A.L. ERA crown with a miniscule 1.98 mark. His 0.98 WHIP was also the best on the junior circuit, but a combination of injuries (he was limited to 27 starts) and poor run support left his record at a so-so 12-10.

-1967 was the last great season for Gary, as he struck out a career-high 215 batters and compiled a 16-11 record with a 2.28 ERA. His 6.5 hits per 9 innings was the lowest rate in the league, and he was an All-Star for the second time. He retired all nine batters that he faced in the Midsummer Classic, including strikeouts of Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Orlando Cepeda, and Dick Allen.

-In the last five seasons of his career, Peters failed to post an ERA lower than 3.76. He was still solid, though, with the best effort coming for the Red Sox in 1970 (16-11, 4.06 ERA, 10 CG).

-He had a reputation as a skilled hitter, totaling a .222 average with 19 homers and 102 RBI. In 1963 he batted .259 (21-for-81) and slugged .444 with 3 homers and 12 RBI. On May 26, 1968, manager Eddie Stanky actually batted him sixth for his start against the Yankees! Unfortunately Gary went 0-for-2 at the plate and was knocked out of the game in the fourth inning.

-More offensive feats from Peters: he hit home runs in nine consecutive seasons - every year that he was a full-time starter. He was often called upon to pinch hit, and socked four pinch homers in his career - including a walkoff two-run shot in the bottom of the 13th against Kansas City's Wes Stock on July 19, 1964!

-He retired after pitching out of the bullpen for Boston in 1972. In parts of 14 seasons (10 full), he was 124-103 with a 3.25 ERA.
#430 Gary Peters (back)


  1. I remember even as a kid being impressed by the White Sox pitching talent at that time - Peters, Joel Horlen, Tommy John (acquired from Cleveland), Hoyt Wilhelm, Eddie Fisher, Bruce Howard (rookie), etc. etc.

  2. I remember how good those White Sox staffs were-they couldn't hit a lick but had great pitchign. Interesting how Peters'career sort of fell off after 1967, even pre-1968, the Year of the Pitcher. It might have been because of how pitchers were used in those days--pitching lots of innings may have worn out their arms. And, of course, he spent several years in the minors; today he would almost certainly have been in the majors sooner. Also, his best years were in a period when pitching was really dominant--the leagues had enlarged the strike zone in response to the spate of home runs following expansion.

  3. Doug - They were a pretty deep team. The thing that surprised me in researching Peters' stats is that in his best seasons, Horlen was even better.

    Marc - Good points all. He also spent the end of his career in Fenway, which was unkind to many pitchers.