Edward Augustine “Ed” Walsh
Born: May 14, 1881 - Plains Township, PA
Died: May 26, 1959 - Pompano Beach, FL
MLB Pitching Record: 195–126
Managerial Record: 1–2
Chicago White Sox AL (1904–1916; manager: 1924)
Boston Braves NL (1917)
Over a span of six years from 1907 to 1912, “Big Ed” Walsh was as good as or better than any Major League pitcher. During that time, he averaged 25 wins and 374 innings pitched per season, with an average ERA well below 2.00. His overall lifetime earned-run average of 1.82 is still a Major League record. Walsh helped the White Sox to the pennant in 1906 with his 17–13 record and 1.88 ERA. The Sox beat their crosstown rivals, the Cubs, 4–2 in the Series with the support of Walsh’s fine pitching. His 2–0 record with a miniscule 0.60 ERA and 17 Ks was a sign of things to come.
In 1908 Walsh led the league with his 40 wins, 42 complete games, 11 shutouts, 6 saves, 464 innings pitched, 269 strikeouts, and .727 win-loss percentage. One point of reference is that Walsh’s “out pitch” was the spitter that was later banned from baseball. Although he played a total of 14 seasons in the majors, the years after 1912 were unproductive for Walsh. After that season, his arm was pretty much burned out, but he managed to stick around for five more years. Ed Walsh certainly left his mark, however. Besides holding the record for the lowest career ERA in MLB history, he led the American League in innings pitched on four occasions; ranks number two all-time in WHIP (1.00), and had a total of five 200-plus strikeout seasons.
Over and above his playing skills and stats, Walsh is credited with helping to design Comiskey Park, which opened in 1910. After his playing days, he coached the White Sox and then managed the team during the 1924 season. Walsh lost nearly everything in the Great Depression and ended up running the baseball school in the Works Progress Administration (WPA) Recreation Department. He later worked for the Meriden, Connecticut, water department and became a golf pro. Ed Walsh was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html