Nothing Minor About This Kiddie


Glancing Back, and Remembering Jerry Walker

Precocious only begins to describe the brief career of pitcher Jerry Walker. At age 20, he was the youngest player ever to start an All-Star game. By age 26, he was retired.

Jerry Walker was 7-3 at the All-Star break in 1959, and was the American League’s starting pitcher … at age 20, the youngest ever.

Walker was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1957 and found a spot immediately in the Orioles’ bullpen, with no stops in the minor leagues. He was 1-0 as an 18-year-old rookie, with a 2.93 ERA. His only decision was a 10-inning, four-hit shutout of the Washington Senators.

He appeared in only six games in 1958, and then started out 7-3 in 1959, garnering the starting assignment in that year’s All-Star game. He finished the 1959 season at 11-10 with a 2.92 ERA.

The Orioles entered the 1960s with what was considered one of the best young starting rotations in baseball. Their “Kiddie Corps” included Walker, Milt Pappas, Chuck Estrada and Steve Barber. Unfortunately for Walker, he would be the first to be removed from the group.

After going 3-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 1960, Walker was traded with Chuck Essegian to the Kansas City Athletics for Dick Hall and Dick Williams. In his first season in Kansas City, Walker won eight games for an Athletics team that finished ninth at 61-100. He won eight more games in 1962, and then was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Chuck Essegian … the same Chuck Essegian who accompanied him on the trade from Baltimore to Kansas City.

Walker went 6-6 for the Tribe in 1963, with all but two of his 39 appearances coming in relief. He retired after six appearances in the 1964 season. He was only 25 at the time he retired.

Walker finished with an eight-year career record of 37-44 and a 4.66 ERA.


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Essegian Chucked


This Week in 1960s Baseball

(February 27, 1963) The Cleveland Indians today traded outfielder Chuck Essegian to the Kansas City Athletics for pitcher Jerry Walker.

The Indians had purchased Essegian from the A’s in 1961. He hit .289 for the Tribe in 60 games over the rest of that season. In 1962, Essegian hit .274 with 21 home runs with 50 RBIs.

Chuck Essegian hit 21 home runs with 50 RBIs for the Cleveland Indians in 1962.

In 1959, as a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Essegian became the first major league player to hit two pinch home runs in a single World Series. He was also the second major league player to participate in both the Rose Bowl (as a member of the Stanford University football team in 1952) and in the World Series. Jackie Jensen preceded him in that distinction.

In exchange for Essegian, the Indians received right-handed pitcher Jerry Walker, who had posted an 8-9 record with a 5.90 ERA for Kansas City in 1962. Walker was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1957 and had his best year in the majors in 1959, when he posted an 11-10 record for the Orioles with a 2.92 ERA. He was the American League’s starting pitcher in the 1959 All-Star game at age 20.

Walker would post a 6-6 record as a relief pitcher for Cleveland in 1963. He would be out of baseball before the end of the 1964 season.

Jerry Walker was an All-Star in 1959 at age 20. He was 11-10 for the Baltimore Orioles that season. As a member of the Cleveland Indians in 1963, his only save was in Early Wynn’s 300th career victory.

Essegian would hit .225 for Kansas City in 1963, his final season as a major leaguer. He played in Japan in 1964.

This deal was actually the second trade that Essegian and Walker were involved in. Just prior to the 1961 season, they were traded together by the Orioles to the Kansas City A’s for pitcher Dick Hall and outfielder Dick Williams, the future manager of the Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics.



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