Daily Almanac for Monday, August 23, 2021: the 235th Day of the Year

On this date in 2002, Hoyt Wilhelm became the first relief pitcher ever elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Here is Wilhelm of the New York Giants in 1953. By Bowman Gum – http www.vintagecardtraders.org, Public Domain, https commons.wikimedia.org

FROM WIKIPEDIA COMMONS

James Hoyt Wilhelm (July 26, 1922 – August 23, 2002), nicknamed “Old Sarge“, was an American Major League Baseball pitcher with the New York GiantsSt. Louis CardinalsCleveland IndiansBaltimore OriolesChicago White SoxCalifornia AngelsAtlanta BravesChicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Dodgers between 1952 and 1972. Wilhelm was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.

Wilhelm grew up in North Carolina, fought in World War II, and then spent several years in the minor leagues before starting his major league career at the age of 29. He was best known for his knuckleball, which enabled him to have great longevity. He appeared occasionally as a starting pitcher, but pitched mainly as a reliever. Wilhelm won 124 games in relief, which is still the major league record. He was the first pitcher to reach 200 saves, and the first to appear in 1,000 games.

Wilhelm was nearly 30 years old when he entered the major leagues, and pitched until he was nearly 50. He retired with one of the lowest career earned run averages, 2.52, in baseball history. After retiring as a player in 1972, Wilhelm held longtime coaching jobs with the New York Yankees and Atlanta Braves. He lived in Sarasota, Florida, for many years, and died there in 2002.

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