Thursday, May 26, 2005
May 26th, 1959
Ed Walsh Dies
Ed Walsh was a spitballer who spent all but one year of his Hall of Fame career with the White Sox. He also had probably the best ten days of pitching in a pennant race in history in 1908. Although his White Sox would finish a game and a half out of first place (incredibly, that put them in third place, a game behind second), it was not on account of Walsh. He went 40-15, pitching 464 innings, while recording 42 complete games, including 11 shutouts. For good measure, he also appeared in relief in seventeen games, recording six saves, meaning his led the league in both wins and saves.
His last ten days of the 1908 pennant race however, deserve special attention. Walsh started six games, and threw complete games in five of them. On September 29th he started both ends of a doubleheader aganist Boston and won both games. For good measure, Sox manager Fielder Jones also twice called upon Walsh to relieve. In total, he pitched fifty-one and two-thirds innings, giving up just three runs (that's an ERA of 0.52), twenty-eight hits (less than five per nine innings pitched) and striking out fifty-two (essentially, one an inning). Incredibly, he actually lost a game, a 1-0 pitcher's duel with Addie Joss, when Joss had to pitch a perfect game to beat him, on an unearned run no less.
Walsh was never as good again as he was in 1908, which isn't much of an insult given how outstanding he was that year, but he would continue to be an effective until age thirty-one when all the innings finally caught with him. After his 1912 season, Walsh would never throw a hundred innings in a season again and he was out of the Majors after the 1917 season. He spent some time in the minor leagues and then as an AL umpire in 1922, but decided a career in the safes-and-outs wasn't for him and he served as a White Sox coach for many years until his death.