Hall of Fame Travel Companion

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Al Smith

Outfielder Al Smith was traded three times during his 12-year major league career. In the first two of those trades, to Chicago and to Baltimore, Smith had the distinction of being traded with a future Hall of Famer. He also distinguished himself as a good hitter whose legs and bat produced plenty of runs. Continue reading

Welcome to the Homer Ward

 

Glancing Back, and Remembering Pete Ward

While it’s no overstatement to say that pitching dominated the 1960s, it’s just as safe to say that, in the 1960s, pitching dominated the Chicago White Sox, especially in that team’s contending seasons.

Pete Ward was the American League Rookie of the Year in 1963 with a .295 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBIs.

Pete Ward was the runner-up for American League Rookie of the Year in 1963 with a .295 batting average, 22 home runs and 84 RBIs.

With solid starting arms such as Gary Peters, Joe Horlen and Juan Pizarro, and relievers such as Hoyt Wilhelm and Eddie Fisher, the White Sox featured the league’s deepest staff. And they needed it, with also one of the weakest hitting lineups in the American League.

The one “power” spot in the White Sox lineup came from a left-handed batter named Pete Ward.

Ward was signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 1958 and appeared in eight games with the Orioles at the end of 1962. That winter he was a throw-in in the blockbuster trade that brought Ron Hansen, Dave Nicholson and Wilhelm to the White Sox for Luis Aparicio and Al Smith.

Ward replaced Smith at third for the White Sox and made an immediate impact, beating the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day with a seventh-inning home run, the start of an 18-game hitting streak. For the season Ward hit .295, fifth in the American League, with 22 home runs, 84 RBIs, and 80 runs. He finished second in the league in total bases (289), hits (177), and doubles (34), and was named American League Rookie of the Year.

Ward followed up in 1964 by hitting .282 with 23 home runs and 94 RBIs. An off-season auto accident led to back and neck problems that would plague him, and cut his offensive productivity, for the rest of his career. He slipped to 10 home runs in 1965 and only three in 1966.

Ward made something of a comeback in 1967 with 18 home runs and 62 RBIs, but the weak Chicago lineup meant fewer good pitches to hit. His 18 home runs led the team, with only two other White Sox hitting as many as 10 home runs that season. His walks increased to 61 in 1967, and then to 76 in 1968, when Ward hit .216 with 15 home runs and 50 RBIs.

Lingering injuries forced Ward into a part-time role in 1969, and he spent one year as a reserve player for the New York Yankees in 1970 before retiring.

Ward finished his nine-year career with a .254 batting average and 98 home runs.

Hall-ing in a Bunch of Runs

 

Career Year: Jimmie Hall – 1963

After seven years in the minor leagues, a 25-year-old outfielder named Jimmie Hall was pleasantly surprised to find himself accompanying the Minnesota Twins north following 1963 spring training.

When outfielder Jimmie Hall went to spring training in 1963, he wasn’t expected to make the Minnesota Twins’ Opening Day roster. Seven months later, he finished third in the balloting for 1963 American League Rookie of the Year.

When outfielder Jimmie Hall went to spring training in 1963, he wasn’t expected to make the Minnesota Twins’ Opening Day roster. Seven months later, he finished third in the balloting for 1963 American League Rookie of the Year.

Despite his happiness at sticking with the big league club, Hall’s expectations for significant playing time during the 1963 season had to be modest. The Twins’ outfield line-up was set with Lenny Green in center field flanked by two All-Stars, Harmon Killebrew and Bob Allison.

At the end of May, Hall was hitting only .188 after seeing limited action. Then an injury to Green opened up the job in center field. Hall batted .322 in June with five home runs and 16 runs batted in. He hit seven more home runs in July, and then had a huge August: a .333 batting average, 13 home runs, 27 RBIs. A healthy Green didn’t have a chance of displacing Hall the way he was hitting.

Jimmie Hall batted .260 with 33 home runs and 80 RBIs in 1963 – not bad for a player who spent the first two months of the season on the bench.

Jimmie Hall batted .260 with 33 home runs and 80 RBIs in 1963 – not bad for a player who spent the first two months of the season on the bench.

Hall closed out the season strong, hitting six more home runs in September. He finished the 1963 season with a .260 batting average, 33 home runs and 80 RBIs. He placed third in the Rookie of the Year voting behind Gary Peters and Pete Ward.

Hall opened the 1964 season as the team’s starting center fielder, but he couldn’t match the hitting productivity of his rookie campaign. Hall hit 25 home runs in 1964 and 20 homers in both 1965 and 1966. He was traded to the California Angels in 1967, and played for a total of six major league teams before retiring after the 1970 season.

 

Top_10_Twins_CoverJPG

 

 

Free Report

Click Here for Instant Download

Blockbuster Deal Sends Wilhelm to White Sox

 

Swap Shop – Chicago and Baltimore Trade Future Hall of Famers

It was a trade that saw the exchange of two future Hall of Famers.

In 5 seasons with the Orioles, Wilhelm was a combined 43-39 with a 2.42 ERA.

In 5 seasons with the Orioles, Wilhelm was a combined 43-39 with a 2.42 ERA.

On January 14, 1963, the Baltimore Orioles acquired All-Star shortstop Luis Aparcio and outfielder Al Smith from the Chicago White Sox for four players, including reliever Hoyt Wilhelm,

The White Sox also received shortstop and 1960 Rookie of the Year Ron Hansen, outfielder Dave Nicholson and infielder Pete Ward as part of the deal. Ward would have an outstanding years for the White Sox, hitting 22 home runs and driving in 84 runs to win the Rookie of the Year award for the 1963 season.

Aparicio played for five seasons with the Orioles, batting .251 and stealing 166 bases. He won two more Gold Gloves with the Orioles, and claimed nine Gold Gloves during his 18-year career. In 1967, he was traded back to the White Sox in the deal that brought Don Buford to the Orioles.

Aparicio played for 5 seasons with the Orioles, batting .251 and stealing 166 bases.

Aparicio played for 5 seasons with the Orioles, batting .251 and stealing 166 bases.

In five seasons with the Orioles, Wilhelm was a combined 43-39 with a 2.42 ERA. He appeared in 185 games – 43 as a starter – saving 40 games while pitching five shutouts, the only shutouts of his career. He also pitched his only no-hitter with the Orioles, and led the American League with a 2.19 ERA in 1959, when he recorded a career-high 15 victories. Wilhelm would spend six seasons with the White Sox, appearing in 361 games and saving 98 with a combined 1.92 ERA.

Both Aparicio and Wilhelm were destined for future Hall of Fame induction. Speed and defense made Aparicio the American League’ premier shortstop from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s. An 11-time All-Star, he collected 2,677 hits (more than any shortstop until he was passed by Derek Jeter). Aparicio played more games at shortstop than any other player in major league history (2,581). He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984.

Throughout the 1960s, no relief pitcher was as consistently effective as Wilhelm. His 1,070 career appearances were the major league record at the time Wilhelm called it quits. He remains the all-time major league leader in career wins in relief (124) and career innings pitched in relief (1,871).

An eight-time All-Star, Wilhelm was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1985.