Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Hall of Famer Auto - Hoyt Wilhelm

I am a little bummed out about the performance of Blogger.  I have been traveling for work this week and had two posts written, saved and scheduled to post and neither one posted.  To make matters worse, everything I wrote was missing with the exception of the title of the post.  If anyone has any ideas or suggestions on what I might have done wrong, please drop me a comment or note.

Anyway, I will get onto the card.  In addition to my team, player and set collections, I like to dabble in collecting autographed cards of Hall of Famers.  I recently picked up this auto of Hoyt Wilhelm which brings my total up to 56 different HOF player autos.  This Wilhelm is a double bonus as it also fits nicely into my Giants collection as well.  I love the old black and white Giants photo of Hoyt from early in his career and the on card auto.  The auto is pretty sloppy but I can't be too disappointed, this is a card from 2002 and Hoyt passed away in August of 2002 at the age of 80, not too bad for an 80 year old.  There is one other Giants Wilhelm auto that I keep my eyes opened for at a good price.

Hoyt had a pretty amazing career.  He started out with the Giants in 1952 and played on their 1954 World Series Championship team.  He ended up playing for 8 other teams during his career before retiring from the Dodgers in 1972.  Just like current day pitcher Jamie Moyer, Hoyt pitched until he was 49 years old and his last appearance was just 16 days short of his 50th birthday.  Hoyt was the first pitcher who was predominantly a relief pitcher ever elected into the Hall of Fame in 1985. Hoyt's primary pitch of choice was the knuckleball.

I found it interesting that he pitched a no-hitter as a starter for the Orioles less than a month after being released by the Indians after the Indian catchers couldn't handle his knuckleball resulting in too many wild pitches and past balls. Hoyt also set records during his career retiring with the most games pitched in a career.  Although the save wasn't an official stat during his career, historians have credited him with over 200 saves.

I did some searches for a book about Hoyt Wilhelm's life and wasn't able to find one. I think his role in the evolution of the relief pitcher role along with all the teams he played for, his longevity and record setting performances would have made for a wonderful read.

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