“Hoyt Wilhelm was as tough as any pitcher who ever lived. His ball never
did the same thing twice.”
Umpire Bill Kinnamon
Hoyt Wilhelm pitched in the Major Leagues for 20 years. Wilhelm did not make it to the Big Leagues until age 29 with the New York Giants.
As a rookie, in 1952, Wilhelm led the National League in ERA (2.43). In 1959, with the Baltimore Orioles, Wilhelm led the American League in ERA (2.19). Wilhelm won 124 games as a relief pitcher. That still is a record.
Hoyt Wilhelm made several All-Star teams and pitched for the World Champion 1954 New York Giants.
Wilhelm was a Sargeant in the U.S. Army during World War II and was wounded in the “Battle of the Bulge”.
Hoyt Wilhelm was inducted into Baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1985.
Many baseball people have told me that Hoyt Wilhelm had the best knuckleball they ever have seen. Wilhelm read about Dutch Leonard and that inspired him to learn how to throw a knuckleball. His knuckleball was so good because it ALWAYS MOVED. Poor knuckleballs flatten out and are very hittable, but as Ted Kluszewski told me, “his ball always did something”.
Wilhelm pitched a no-hitter in 1958 against the Yankees. However he is best known as a relief pitcher. His great knuckler enabled him to pitch in the Major Leagues until age 49. Although he retired more than 40 years ago, those of us who saw him pitch will never forget him.