June 7, 1900
May 1, 1986 (aged 85)
|Batted: Left||Threw: Left|
|June 16, 1923 for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 17, 1934 for the St. Louis Browns|
|Career highlights and awards|
Edwin Lee Wells (June 7, 1900 - May 1, 1986), nicknamed "Satchelfoot" , was a Major League Baseball pitcher who played 11 seasons in the major leagues with the Detroit Tigers (1923-1927), New York Yankees (1929-1932), and St. Louis Browns (1933-1934). Wells was a left-handed pitcher, with a hard fastball and a slow curve. Wells played in 291 major league games with a 68-69 record and won a World Series Championship with the Yankees in 1932.
Born in Ashland, Ohio, Wells attended Bethany College in West Virginia. During his sophomore year, Wells was signed by the Detroit Tigers in a deal that allowed Wells to continue to attend school and play professional baseball during his summer breaks.
Wells played the 1922 season in the minor leagues at Ludington, Michigan where he had a 1.93 ERA. In 1923, Wells reported to the Tigers after the school year ended, making his major league debut on June 16, 1923. Wells' manager in Detroit was his boyhood idol, Ty Cobb. Though one of the greatest hitters of all time, Cobb was, by his own account, not a particularly good coach of pitchers. Cobb biographer, Richard Bak, recounts a discussion between Cobb and Wells. Wells was having a tough time and asked Cobb "what in the name of sense do you think my trouble is." Cobb replied "Ed, that's not something I know nothing about -- pitching." (Richard Bak, Peach (2005), pp. 131-132) Despite the lack of coaching help from Cobb, Wells led the American League in shutouts in 1926 with 4 and had a 33-inning scoreless streak.
In 1928, Wells returned to the minor leagues and won 25 games for Birmingham, Alabama. The New York Yankees bought his contract for $30,000, and Wells was assigned the locker between Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. Wells had his best seasons in 1929 and 1930, going 13-9 and 12-3 as a Yankee. In 1929, Wells had the 2nd most wins among Yankees' pitchers, trailing only George Pipgras. His 1930 winning percentage of .800 (12-3) was 2nd best in the American League. In 1931, his winning percentage or .643 was 8th best in the league. In his four years with the Yankees, Wells was supported by one of the best batting lineups in history, including Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Bill Dickey, Bob Meusel, Leo Durocher, and Earle Combs.
In April 1933, the St. Louis Browns purchased Wells from the Yankees. He played two seasons in St. Louis with a combined two-year record of 7-21. He played his final major league game on September 17, 1934.
Wells continued to play organized baseball in the minor leagues through the 1937 season. After his baseball career ended, Wells owned an oil distributorship in Montgomery, Alabama. Wells died in Montgomery, Alabama in 1986 at age 85.