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Addie Joss

Born: April 12, 1880(1880-04-12)
Woodland, Wisconsin[1]
Died: April 14, 1911 (aged 31)
Toledo, Ohio
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
April 25, 1902 for the Cleveland Bronchos
Last MLB appearance
July 11, 1910 for the Cleveland Naps
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     160-97
Earned run average     1.89
Strikeouts     920
Career highlights and awards
  • Second-best career ERA (1.89) in Major League history
  • Best career WHIP (.968) in Major League history
  • American League ERA champion: 1904, 1908
  • American League wins champion: 1907
  • 4 20-win seasons
  • 5 sub-2.00 ERA seasons
  • Pitched a Perfect Game on October 2, 1908 against the Chicago White Sox
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
Induction     1978
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

Adrian Joss (April 12, 1880 – April 14, 1911) was a Major League Baseball pitcher in the early 20th century.


Early life

He was born in the unincorporated community of Woodland in Dodge County, Wisconsin,[2] where his father was a cheese maker.[3] Several of his nicknames in baseball reflected this. As a youth, Joss was a star athlete at Wayland Academy in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin. As a town ball player, Joss pitched in, and won, the Wisconsin town championship game against Rube Waddell who was playing as a 'ringer' while 'moonlighting' away from his job in the Major Leagues—fishing.

Pitching style

Joss' pitching repertoire included a fastball, a "slow ball," or changeup, and a single hard curve. George Moriarty explained that he had only one curveball because "he believed that with a few well mastered deliveries he could acquire great control and success with less strain on his arm." [4] In an era filled with spitball pitchers, Joss achieved his success without ever experimenting with altering the baseball. Joss threw with a "corkscrew" windup motion. Roger Peckinpaugh described his windup:

He would turn his back toward the batter as he wound up, hiding the ball all the while, and then whip around and fire it in.[5]

Professional career

Joss joined the Cleveland Bronchos in 1902 and was an immediate success, earning a 17-13 record and 2.77 ERA in his first year. He continued to improve over the following decade, posting four 20 win seasons and six sub-2.00 ERAs by 1910. His best season came in 1908 when he was 24-11 with a 1.16 ERA and 9 shutouts. In planning for life after baseball, Joss took up sports writing and worked for a local paper for several years.[3]

Addie Joss Baseball.jpg

Joss pitched a perfect game on October 2, 1908 opposite Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher Ed Walsh, accomplishing the feat with just 74 pitches. He pitched a second no-hitter in 1910. Both no-hitters were against the Chicago White Sox; to date, Joss is the only pitcher in Major League history to no-hit the same team twice. His 1.89 career ERA is ranked second all-time.

Joss was additionally a popular columnist for the Toledo News-Bee during the off seasons and served as their Sunday sports editor. His writings proved so popular that sales of the paper increased and a special phone line was installed in his office to field the large volume of calls he received from fans. (Addie Joss - King of Pitchers by Scott Longert SABR 1998)


Joss' playing career was cut short when he was diagnosed with tubercular meningitis. He died on April 14, 1911[3] at the age of 31. The first 'all-star' game was played as a benefit for Joss' family,[3] over the opposition of American League management. League president Ban Johnson threatened punishment for any who participated, but relented.[citation needed]


Joss was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.[3] Joss is the only player in the Hall of Fame whose career lasted less than ten years (others in the Hall who did not play ten seasons were inducted either as managers or pioneers). In 1981, Lawrence Ritter and Donald Honig included him in their book The 100 Greatest Baseball Players of All Time. They explained what they called "the Smoky Joe Wood Syndrome," where a player of truly exceptional talent but a career curtailed by injury or illness should still, in spite of not having had career statistics that would quantitatively rank him with the all-time greats, be included on their list of the 100 greatest players. They believed that Joss' career ERA was proof enough of his greatness to be included.

See also

Preceded by
Earl Moore
American League ERA Champion
Succeeded by
Rube Waddell
Preceded by
Ed Walsh
American League ERA Champion
Succeeded by
Harry Krause
Preceded by
Al Orth
American League Wins Champion
(with Doc White)
Succeeded by
Ed Walsh
Preceded by
Cy Young
Perfect game pitcher
October 2, 1908
Succeeded by
Charlie Robertson
Preceded by
Bob Rhoads
Addie Joss
No-hitter pitcher
October 2, 1908
April 20, 1910
Succeeded by
Addie Joss
Chief Bender


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Birth Record Details". Wisconsin Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Coffey, Michael (2004). 27 Men Out: Baseball's Perfect Games. Atria Books. pp. 18–35. ISBN 0743446062. 
  4. ^ "The Greatest Pitcher I Ever Faced." Baseball Magazine, 1911
  5. ^ Honig, Donald. The Man in the Dugout, 1977.

External links

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