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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

This article deals with Ed Walsh, baseball player. For other meanings, see Ed Walsh (disambiguation).
Ed Walsh

Born: May 14, 1881(1881-05-14)
Plains Township, Pennsylvania
Died: May 26, 1959 (aged 78)
Pompano Beach, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
May 7, 1904 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
September 11, 1917 for the Boston Braves
Career statistics
Win-Loss record     195-126
Earned run average     1.82
Strikeouts     1736

As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards
  • World Series champion: 1906
  • Best career ERA (1.82) in Major League history
  • Second-best WHIP (1.00) in Major League history
  • American League ERA champion: 1907, 1910
  • American League wins champion: 1908
  • 4-time American League innings pitched leader
  • 4 20-win seasons
  • 1 40-win season
  • 6 sub-2.00 ERA seasons
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     1946
Election Method     Veteran's Committee

Edward Augustine Walsh (May 14, 1881 – May 26, 1959) was a Major League Baseball pitcher. He holds the record for lowest career ERA, 1.82.[1]

Born in Plains Township, Pennsylvania, Walsh had a brief though remarkable major league career. He made his major league debut in 1904 with the Chicago White Sox and pitched his first full season in 1906, going 17-13 with a 1.88 ERA and 171 strikeouts.[2] From this season through 1912, Walsh averaged 24 victories, 220 strikeouts and posted an ERA below 2.00 five times. He also led the league in saves five times in this span. His finest individual season came in 1908 when he went 40-15 with 269 strikeouts, 6 saves and a 1.42 ERA.[3] In 1910, he posted the lowest ERA (1.27) for a pitcher with at least 20 starts and a losing record.

Ed Walsh Baseball Card, 1910.

In 1910, the White Sox opened White Sox Park, which was soon nicknamed Comiskey Park by the press in honor of team owner Charles Comiskey. The name would be officially changed to Comiskey Park in 1913. A story, perhaps apocryphal, states that Zachary Taylor Davis, the architect who would later design Wrigley Field across town, consulted Walsh in setting the park's field dimensions. Choosing a design that would favor himself and other White Sox pitchers, rather than hitters, Walsh not only made Comiskey Park a "pitcher's park" for its entire 80-year history, but he can be said to be the man who "built" Comiskey Park.

Interviewed for Lawrence Ritter's book The Glory of Their Times, Hall-of-Famer Sam Crawford referred to Walsh's use of a pitch that would later be outlawed: "Big Ed Walsh. Great big, strong, good-looking fellow. He threw a spitball. I think that ball disintegrated on the way to the plate, and the catcher put it back together again. I swear, when it went past the plate, it was just the spit went by".[4]

In 1912, after pitching 42 innings over 10 days during the World Series, Walsh reportedly requested a full year off to rest his arm.[5] (However, Walsh pitched for the White Sox, who were not in the World Series in 1912.) Nevertheless, he showed up for spring training the following season, contending, "The White Sox needed me—implored me to return—so I did".[5] As baseball historian William C. Kashatus observed, "It was a mistake".[5]

Walsh's playing time began dwindling in 1913.[5] It has been claimed that he came into spring training in poorer physical shape than other members of the White Sox pitching staff, and his pride led him to try to keep up with the other pitchers in terms of pitch speed before getting into adequate shape, thereby causing damage to his pitching arm. "I could feel the muscles grind and wrench during the game, and it seemed to me my arm would leap out of my socket when I shot the ball across the plate", Walsh later recalled. "My arm would keep me awake till morning with a pain I had never known before".[5] He pitched only 16 games during the 1913 season, and a meager 13 games over the next three years.[5]

By 1916 his arm was dead. He wanted a year off, but Charles Comiskey released him instead.[6] He attempted a comeback with the Boston Braves in 1917, but was let go, ending his major league career.[6] He later did some pitching in the Eastern League and gave umpiring a try, after which he was a coach for the White Sox for a few years. He retired with 195 wins, 126 losses[5] and 1736 strikeouts. His career 1.82 is the lowest major league ERA ever posted,[5] but is unofficial since ERA was not an official statistic in the American League prior to 1913.

Walsh died on May 26, 1959. That night, Harvey Haddix of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitched a perfect game for 12 innings before losing to the Milwaukee Braves in the 13th inning.

Walsh was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.[6] In 1999, he ranked Number 82 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.


See also


  1. ^ Coffey (2004), pp. 26–33.
  2. ^ Kashatus (2002), p. 84.
  3. ^ Kashatus (2002), pp. 84–85.
  4. ^ Kashatus (2002), pp. 83–84.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h Kashatus (2002), p. 85.
  6. ^ a b c "The Ballplayers - Ed Walsh". Retrieved 2009-06-04.  


  • Coffey, Michael (2004). 27 Men Out: Baseball's Perfect Games. New York: Atria Books. ISBN 0743446062.
  • Kashatus, William C. (2002). Diamonds in the Coalfields: 21 Remarkable Baseball Players, Managers, and Umpires from Northeast Pennsylvania. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. ISBN 9780786411764.

External links

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Doc White
Harry Krause
American League ERA Champion
Succeeded by
Addie Joss
Vean Gregg
Preceded by
Rube Waddell
Walter Johnson
American League Strikeout Champion
Succeeded by
Frank Smith
Walter Johnson
Preceded by
Addie Joss & Doc White
American League Wins Champion
Succeeded by
George Mullin
Preceded by
Smoky Joe Wood
No-hitter pitcher
August 27, 1911
Succeeded by
George Mullin
Preceded by
Johnny Evers
Chicago White Sox Manager
Succeeded by
Eddie Collins


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